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Wednesday 12th July 2023

Judge: Lesley Clements

Many thanks go to the owner of the venue for allowing us to use it again for Scent Ops Trials. A super place with lots of options for searching.

The weather was pretty wet all day, with plenty of showers and some really torrential downpours. The trials were originally planned for exterior searching, however due to the weather this had to be adapted to half and half for both trials. This worked quite well and gave variation to the searches whilst avoiding some areas that had flooded. It also meant that all teams got round relatively dry with only one team having to have their start delayed due to a downpour of biblical proportions!

There were 9 teams in the morning and 11 in the afternoon including 2 teams that had made the epic journey from Donegal.

The search area for Trial 1 brought teams along an exterior fence line with a right angle and into a large garage area with a lot of different items in storage, log pile, kitchen sink area, freezer and garden equipment, A car was parked half in and half out for extra interest. The area was completed by a small area of wall outside at the other side of the garage.

One hide was placed behind a fence panel quite close to where it joined the garage wall. The prevailing breeze was upwind for the dogs. It was a relatively easy hide. Those teams that were successful with this hide on the first pass were the ones that made sure their dogs actually searched the fence to the very end and there were some lovely head knocks by those that did. Teams whose dogs merely travelled along the fence (or momentarily lost concentration) either didn’t find at all or found themselves going back which affected their coverage and time management of the search area as a whole.

The second hide was on a lawnmower. The item was enclosed by plastic casing with a couple of small but deepish screw holes on the top. The hide was able to be placed so that it was accessible but not visible (judicious use of a sprinkle of dry grass clippings!). Most dogs picked up the odour around the mower’s handles and worked it in but as the mower was at the side of the car some dogs showed a lot of interest there and when they didn’t indicate handlers moved them on.

Results for Trial 1 as follows:

1st Debbie Goligher and Holly with 87 points

2nd Eileen Toye and Buddy 84 points

3rd Janine Brownlees and Duster 82 points

4th Linda Storey and Inca 71 points

5th Sue Christie and Rika 70 points

6th Joanne Maybin and Cailie 53 points

The search area for Trial 2 was the interior of another smaller garage with various random items in storage, then outside to an exterior section with small wooden composting shed, a trailer, log pile, bags of potting compost and an area of wall.

By this time the downpours had caused flooding issues and part of the outside area had to be sectioned off. However, we were able to extend in another direction.

One hide was placed under the corner of a shed (this was a fairly straightforward low hide) and another placed a little higher in the seam of a cabinet drawer in the corner of the garage. This one required handlers to make sure their dogs searched this corner as they had to push in past a large patio heater and printer/copier to get to it.

All the dogs found the hide under the shed, picking up the odour around a pile of plastic garden chairs stacked beside it and working in from there. Those partnerships that found the second hide were the ones who had a search plan worked the area as a team. It was lovely to watch the dogs picking up the odour from behind a garden table and paint tubs and the handlers realising that they would have to bring their dogs around the table and send them in to the correct area without crowding them so letting them solve the scent puzzle!

Results from Trial 2 as follows:

Trial 2.

1st Debbie Goligher and Holly 86 points

2nd Antoinette Traynor and Buddy 85 points

3rd Eileen Toye and Buddy 79 points

4th Tania Carron with Forest 74 points

5th Ronnie McAleese and Flora 73 points

6th Janine Brownlees and JoJo 72.5 points

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