Last weekend I had a great time judging for the Santa Maria Kennel Club! This was their first trail and they did a great job. Thanks is due to all the competitors, SMKC, and my fellow judge Betty Scattini. Overall, the teams did a great job. Here are a few take aways from each class that I judged.
Novice Interior: This was a small corner of a large storage room. Teams that let their dogs move out of the search area caught the hide quickly.
Novice Containers: This search is always 2 rows of boxes. Easy to practice in a variety of locations.
Advanced Interior: check out this picture of the search area! It is not every day that you get a vehicle in your interior search! Hides were under the hitch of the trailer and in the overturned hand cart.
Advanced Containers: Make sure to practice getting your dog to the corner box and also make sure that they have work with fabric containers (backpacks).
Novice Buried: This is just like Novice containers, there is not any variability in the set up, only the location.
Novice Exterior: I set this search area on the side of a building which was pretty barren, no chair etc. The hide was under a step which was in front of a closed door. This was set up so that the dogs were down wind of the hide. Most all dogs caught odor and worked it back to source. Tall dogs had a hard time sourcing under the step.
Advanced Buried: As the wind kicked up in the afternoon, this search became difficult. Odor from the first hot box pooled in all the other boxes and many dogs false alerted. The is an easy set up to practice when you have consistent wind.
Advanced Exterior: This search area was all grass with a few trees, a water spigot, and some random items. The scent cones were big and there was a threshold hide blowing odor right at the start line. However 4 dogs ended up peeing in the search area. If the dogs could work through urine they did fine. If not, they struggled.
Hope this is helpful.