Working Trials Championship 2014 TD

Kennel Club Working Trial Championships
Hosted by Wessex Working Trials Club on 16 - 18 October 2014
Sponsored by The Kennel Club & Arden Grange

Tracking Dog Stake
Judge: Tony Lockyer
Steward: Maureen Regan

Report by Tony Lockyer 

The Tracking Dog Stake I set was designed to find if the dogs really understood the changes from one exercise to another rather than assuming what was coming next.


The track was 19 legs and 945 paces long and set so that the first article was downwind as the dog was tracking. I am extremely grateful to John West and Tom Darby for laying the tracks exactly as I wanted. The teams coped well with this exercise, with ten of them getting all three articles.

Search Square 

The search square was set to determine whether the dogs could switch from tracking mode to finding articles by the scent coming from the article. The square was a full 25 yards and Maureen was instructed to place all articles 1.5 paces downwind of any track scent, and to only foil the top area above the line of three articles. The foiling of the lower part of the square was done by the handlers and t heir dogs, as the square was laid across the third leg of the track. This apparently caused more problems than I had anticipated, with several of the dogs seemingly being unwilling to cover the top section of the square where most of the articles were. Two teams retrieved four articles, one team three articles and two teams two articles, thus we had five teams on qualifying marks at the end of the nosework section.


The control exercises started with heelwork and ended up at the sendaway pole which was a yellow stake quite visible to the handlers. The stake was set at 180 paces in a line directly towards the fence line, the fence was situated a further 40 paces on from the stake. The 'redirect' was to another yellow stake, also at 180 paces, to the left of the first stake. 

The fence line seemed to be the distracting factor with several dogs not wanting to stop at the pole or not wanting to redirect unless they were near the fence. I do allow handlers to work their dogs but I expect them to end up close to my markers in order to gain points. 

The 'send away' and 'directional control' was then followed by the 'clear' and 'long jumps'. Following these exercises the handlers and dogs came to a halt just outside the 9ft markers situated in front of the scale for the 'speak' exercise. The 'speak' was conducted with the dog positioned beside the handler to determine if the dogs were listening to the commands given, marks were lost for movement during this exercise. After the speak the dogs were sent over the scale. The control and agility sections were completed with the down stay.

One qualifier was lost at the end of the control and agility so the final results were as follows:

1st Dave Olley with WTCh Little Raymond
This partnership attacked the test from beginning to end, and they proved very worthy winners. 159.5 nosework , with four from the square, 32 for control and full jumps. Very well done and many congratulations on the double!!

2nd Barry Gilbert with WTCh Glenalpine Cosworth
The other square article could have reversed these positions, 154 nosework, 32.5 control and full jumps. Well done!

3rd Gary Haim with WTCh Waggerland Dilemma
The only partnership of the qualifiers to track on the second day, and Flynn did quite a lot of checking. The second dog to get all four from the square. This was Flynn's retirement Trial and I think Gary was very pleased with his performance. 151 nosework, 29 control and full jumps. 

4th Gary Atkins with WTCh Glenalpine Pete
Litter brother to the reserve Ticket winner, well done on the qualification. 142.5 nosework, 26 control and 19.5 jumps.

I am sorry that so many dogs appeared to find my test difficult but from where I was standing I could feel the nerves and tensions from the handlers and this could've have had a great deal to do with the overall performances. 

My thanks to Brian and all the team at Wessex for a fantastically well organised weekend, being on the committee of the club I know how hard they all worked. Margery in particular was busy at her computer for weeks getting the fun posters and score boards ready, making the coats for the winners, at the Trial doing all the certificates as well as helping Jackie and Irene in the kitchen. My thanks to them also for the lunches on the tracking days they were very welcome. 

To John and Tom many thanks for laying the tracks as I wanted, and to Maureen, it is always good from a judging point of view if you know your instructions are being carried out without you having to watch. This was done in an exemplary fashion whilst I concentrated on the tracking, thank you. 

The Lordlease Hotel must be one of the best venues in the country for accommodation on an occasion like this, with the open field right outside the door for dog exercising, and fantastic food for every function. Thanks to the farmers for the use of their land, the tracking areas were virtually identical for all the dogs and the weather was even for both days with only one team having a drop of rain whilst tracking. 



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