Southern Alsatian Training Society

Protected Steward Training Weekend 29-30th May 2021


A survey carried out by Diane Ling on behalf of the Patrol Dog subgroup of the Liaison Council highlighted the general consensus that PD Protected Stewards should have some form of training. The Southern Alsatian Training Society (SATS) held a training weekend at ‘High Drive’ dog club on 29-30th May 2021, organised and hosted by Mick Tustain and Lauren Marlow. The open-air event was well-attended, within the Covid ‘Rule of 30’.

The program covered all aspects of a PD competition, commencing with a talk by Stan Ford on the need for conducting a Safety Risk Assessment.

The SRA must cover all aspects of an event, including the Patrol Round, and be agreed by the Judge and Trial Manager or his appointee.

The SRA for this weekend had been drafted by Peter Brooke.

The next item, the ‘I Regulations’, was covered by Stan Ford, who ran through the Regs for PD, and explained the process of making any changes, from Societies’ proposals to agreement by the Liaison Council, through to the Activities Committee and finally Board approval. New changes are initially highlighted at the back of new rule books before being assimilated into the main text.

A new Regulation concerning Equipment and Protective Clothing that had been submitted by SATS was approved by the Board in April 2021; this was described by Lauren Marlow, who showed some examples of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ PD sleeves, and mentioned the use of ‘scratch pants’ and the ‘bite jacket’. This new Regulation was intended to enhance PS safety and introduce some conformity in equipment.

Mick Tustain then spoke about ‘The Role and Responsibilities of the Protected Steward’, explaining that a PS has a responsibility for the safety of the dogs, and also his own safety.

Les Theobald spoke on ‘Empowerment of the Steward’. Les explained that PSs have the right to question any parts of tests that they feel uncomfortable with, that they are part of a team along with the Judge, and that Judges appreciate being alerted to any possible unforeseen glitches in the test. It is usual for discussions to take place once the test has been set up, and after a run-through with a dog.

Throughout the morning there were questions and discussions with Dave Clark, including thoughts on different breeds.

The afternoon session consisted of practical demonstrations of the Chase and Detention, to show how dogs should be caught safely, and the Defence of handler.

During the ‘Recall to Handler’ exercise the varied speed of different dogs showed the importance of the Judge positioning himself so that all dogs were recalled at approximately half way; the further away the Judge stood the easier it was to see the whole picture.

The second day started with a re-cap and questions, then Les Theobald spoke on the role of the Steward in the PD round. The Steward should be experienced in PD, be calm and clear in their instructions to the handlers, and give all handlers the same information. This enables the judge to be in position for the Chase, Quarter, or Test of Courage.

This was followed by discussion on the Quarter, where some new would-be PSs were able to experience being found by a variety of breeds.

The Test of Courage was shown with a single and multiple PSs, all with a variety of breeds of dog and using a variety of items.

At the end of the weekend attendees were presented with Certificates of Attendance.

Grateful thanks to:

Ross George for demonstrating and instructing on how to read and catch dogs safely, ably assisted by Alex Thomas, also to Alex Clarke, and Jack Durling for PS work, Peter Brooke, Stan Ford, Les Theobald, Dave Clark, Mick Tustain and Lauren Marlow for presentations, and to the SATS committee for their continued support for the PD Stake.