Working Trials Championship 2014 PD

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

Patrol Dog Stake
Judge: Paul Morling
Steward: Karen Walker

Report by Paul Morling


Tracking involves following the footprints of a person and finding articles that have been left in their footprints. The tracking for the Patrol Dog Stake was on lush grass approximately 6 inches long and my tracks were laid just as I envisaged them, I could not have asked for more; my thanks to the track layers  Andy Lloyd and Lindsay Poole. As the conditions were so good I tried to set a track that was a little challenging, the first article was a plastic leg and the last a 4 inch square of denim. I really enjoyed watching all the teams and I saw some excellent handling and tracking. 

The second part of the nosework was the search square which is a 25 yard box with a pole at each corner. The dog has five minutes to try and retrieve up to 4 articles without the handler entering the area. The square steward Karen Warner walked the square while the dogs were tracking. Once the track was finished and the handler was talking to me she laid the articles. There were varying degrees of success in the square.

Control & Agility 

The control field was a very large, flat, grass field with no obvious boundaries. My test started with the heel work which began with a figure of eight around the 'clear' and 'long' jumps and then out into the field to the vicinity of the send away. The send away involves sending your dog in a straight line to a point in the field the judge has nominated. The send away was at an angle to the right, through the field to two car tyres stacked flat on top of each other. The redirect was to two more tyres leaning against each other that were straight out from the handler, where the normal outrun would be. 

Following the send away was the agility. The jumps were set out so the 'clear' and 'long' were parallel to each other. The long was positioned ahead of the clear and the 'scale' a good distance in front of the clear. No second attempts were allowed. The 'speak' took place on the tracking field while the handler was reporting to me and I was taking their details; I allowed for 10 barks then asked them to cease. The 'gun' was the last exercise on the tracking field. The handler was asked to walk their dog away from me, dog at their side; I fired the blank and then ended the exercise. The stays took place in the control field with handlers going out of sight behind a van.

Patrol Steward & First Hide: Karen Warner 
Protected Stewards: Vic & Anthony Snook (chase, recall, test of courage, escort and defence of handler) Malc Snowdon & Nigel Heinz (last hide & search) Charlie Taylor (short chase, test of courage, jogger,) Gary Martin (far hide in camouflage suit)

Chase: Dog is sent to stop Protected Steward.

Recall: Dog is sent to stop Protected Steward but at approximately half way returns to the handler on command.

Test of courage: Dog is sent to stop a Protected Steward(s) and its resolve is tested, in this case by noisy plastic bottles on ropes used as a deterrent. 

Quarter: Dog is sent to find one of the Protected Stewards and is required to bark to alert the handler once the person has been located.

Escort: Handler escorts one of the Protected Stewards from one place to another with their dog by their side 

Search: Protected Stewards or hide are searched for weapons or suspicious items. 

A draw was made by the Trials Manager to establish the running order for the Control and Patrol Dog (PD) rounds. My round was designed as a total lock out, so handlers and spouses were asked to wait out of sight with a steward until it was their turn to work. None of the handlers came onto the PD field with any prior knowledge of the test. As the PD field didn't have any natural hides a 10ft square gazebo was set up in the middle to provide a break in the line of sight for some exercises and to also provide cover for the Protected Stewards. Five smaller tents were also positioned around the field acting as hides. 

When the handlers came onto the field it was explained that they would not be told whether the exercise would involve the chase or the recall until after the dog had been sent. If they wanted to use a whistle it had to be around their neck from the start. My intention was to see every dog go flat out on each exercise. 

The test started with the recall. The handler stood at the start pole and was told to get his dog under control and ready for the test to start, when they were happy the test began. Two Protected Stewards had been placed about 15 paces either side of the handler and started walking into the field challenging each other and being challenged by the handler. They came together and ran around the side of the gazebo, as they went out of sight, the dog was sent and as the dog went out of sight it was recalled. Watching these dogs run flat out and responding to the recall so efficiently was spine tingling! 

Two further control exercises followed the first which included a short chase where one of the Protected Stewards came out of the gazebo and started abusing me, gave me a push, and ran. The handler had to send his dog to detain the man, all the competitors achieved this. On joining their dogs and gaining control they were told to hold the dog by the collar for the next exercise. The short chase Protected Steward then started walking away towards the gazebo challenging the handler as he went; on nearing the gazebo he sprinted towards it and the dog was sent. As the Protected Steward ran into the gazebo, two more stewards ran out and imitated an attack on the dog, the test of courage, with plastic bottles on ropes. All dogs were very committed and barely broke stride. 

The quarter was next. The dog was sent back to the first hide where the steward was hiding, each of the dogs located Karen with very strong speaks (no search). Unknown to the handlers, a steward was in the third and furthest hide on the quarter, on the floor in a camouflage sniper suit (again, no search). It soon became apparent that some handlers were unaware that there was someone in the hide and were surprised when their dog indicated this. The quarter continued and as the dog approached the last hide, the handler was brought across the field so he could not see his dog or the hide and had to wait for his dog to speak before being allowed to join them. Once the handler had joined their dog at the last hide they were told to do a full search of the Protected Stewards and the hide.  When the handler had finished searching the Protected Stewards and had started searching the hide, a steward appeared and made himself a nuisance. Five of the six dogs ended up detaining him. After this, the handler could choose whether to go back to the hide and continue searching it or declare that they hadn't found anything.  The final exercise was a chase. Two stewards came from either side of the gazebo and walked towards the handler keeping the same distance between them; when they were within twenty feet of the handler they turned running together, back past the right hand side of the gazebo. As they disappeared out of sight, the dog was sent. When the dog had stopped one of the men, the handler was allowed to join them and take control of the situation marking the end of the test.

I would like to thank Karen Walker my steward throughout the KCCs for doing such a great job. Her experience of stewarding for me in the past and her knowledge of PD were invaluable, cheers mate. To my Protected Stewards, what can I say? Without you this PD test could not have happened, your input was greatly appreciated, enabling my test to be exactly as I had envisaged. I thought you put on a great show, thanks so much. Also, my thanks to all the volunteers who run throughout the year, and who enable the qualifiers to compete at this event. Competitors, wow! I thought you were awesome and a credit to Working Trials. I hope you enjoyed my test as much as I enjoyed watching you; it was an honour to be asked to judge you. My judging criteria were the same as always; if you do it, you get points, if you don't, you don't get points. Thank you for taking my decisions in a sporting manner. Also, thank you for your integrity in the lockout, enabling the test to be an even playing field. 

Thank you to Brian and Barbara, the Committee, and members of Wessex for organising these terrific KCCs - running trials is never easy, let alone the KCCs! Thanks a lot and also for looking after me so well. It was also great to meet the Chairman of the Kennel Club and his group of representatives. I hope you all had an interesting and enjoyable weekend.

Cheers Paul Morling


1st Dave Olley with WTCh Little Raymond
Consistent, controlled, focused and driven are some of the qualities that I think make a KCC winning team; I think anyone who watched these two in action this weekend will agree. Dave said to me "I've never qualified under you before." What a way to start! Congratulations on your weekend that can never be bettered, only ever equalled.

2nd Alan Bexon with WTCh Fly By Night Lad
Another great performance from this very successful team, what a year you have had and reserve at the KCCs as well! 

3rd Wendy Beasley with WTCh Stardell Lunar
Lunar was certainly a star today, not much to choose between any of these teams, well done Wendy. 

4th Lee Payne with Little Rough Rhinestone
As always a team to fear, a perfect track and great to watch.

5th Diane Ling with Deben Little Tom
Another brilliant team, so close, well done Diane.

6th Joe Magness with Lizline Mandoline
What a dog, always makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, good luck in the future Joe.   



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