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SKC Working Trials Dog of the Year

20 August 2006

Grangemouth Rugby Club, Grangemouth

Judge: BOB RUSSELL

Tracklayers: John Gray and Iain Forrest

Steward: Ann Bedford (Search and C & A)

This is an annual event hosted for trialists by the Scottish Kennel Club. It is limited to appropriately qualified dogs based in Scotland and SKC members elsewhere. As I understand it, qualification is based on a points system, with points being awarded for qualifications / wins etc. over the previous year.  All who are eligible are requested to forward their qualifications prior to the Trial. The relevant highest scoring entrants are then invited to compete in the event.

It was a pleasure to judge this trial; as no qualifications were being awarded, there was no pressure on the handlers, who appeared to be quite relaxed and enjoying themselves. Simply put, it was the prestige of winning that mattered, and the team with the highest number of points comes out on top. The competition is based on TD standard.

With this in mind I made all tracks different; they were the same length and number of legs etc. but started and finished in different places and mirror imaged.  Also the squares were rotated randomly.  In doing this the competitors could all be present at the tracking area and watch each other working.  The competitors did a draw for tracking order.

Tracking was on fairly substantial grass, and the standard of tracking was excellent in most cases, but the square proved a bit troublesome to some, with the grass seeming to be very tasty. After a nice lunch at the rugby club, the C&A was done on the rugby pitch.  This was a bit limiting for the sendaway, so I opted for a sendaway which was a bit more difficult, as it required a high degree of control, and some teams found the re-directs a bit difficult.

I would like to thank my tracklayers Iain and John for getting up so early to lay the tracks down perfectly, and to Ann for laying my squares, and stewarding the control round. Their assistance was appreciated, and it was a pleasure to have their company throughout the day, which started out a bit damp but improved to a nice warm afternoon. My thanks also to the competitors for the way they accepted my decisions, and I would say that from my perspective, their attitude and enjoyment of competing is something that we all should be copying. I would also like to mention that John took on the task of organising this event on behalf of the SKC, which went off without a hitch.

Appreciation must be given to the Scottish Kennel Club for hosting this event and also to the sponsorship by Pedigree Petfoods, “It’s a dog thing”, for the crystal presentations to all concerned and bags of food to the competitors.

The winner was Ed Brown with his Lab, Dee-Dee, ( I hope this is the correct spelling Ed ) with the best nosework and overall performance. Runner-up was Lindsey Errington with another Lab, named Sjian, who was a point behind on the nosework, and with a better control, but then lost out on the agility. Only a point separated first and second overall. Third place also went to Lindsey with her other Lab, Black Aggie, who gave a good overall performance, but did not quite shine today as I have seen her before. Fourth was Rudi Fruzynski with his WSD Jasper, who gave an excellent tracking performance but let himself down a bit on the square.

A really enjoyable day all round.

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