Long-time Weimaraner owners Kate Kemp and Rick Burgess discovered scentwork a few years ago. Scentwork is when a dog uses its sense of smell to identify and locate a scent, which it has been trained to detect.

We’ve always had a keen interest in nosework, mainly participating in various tracking activities, so when we discovered scentwork we were keen to give it a go.

We started off with one day workshops with Talking Dogs (http://www.talkingdogsscentwork.co.uk). Talking Dogs holds one-off workshops and has recently introduced Detector Dog Online Awards. With Paddy starting to retire from agility, we concentrated more on nosework activities and were lucky to have the opportunity to train with one of the founders of Scentwork UK (scentworkuk.com) and we haven’t looked back.

Scentwork UK promotes scentwork, both as a training activity and as a dog sport throughout the country, by providing regular training and trials nationally with its network of recognised trainers and judges. Training activity As a training activity, scentwork is fun, very rewarding and at the same time mentally challenging for your dog. It harnesses the dog’s natural ability to use its fantastic sense of smell to search, find and identify where a scented article is hidden. It’s a great confidence builder and due to its low physical impact it is suitable for dogs of all ages and abilities. Its great for dogs that are rehabilitating or those that are more mature and just don’t want to retire.

Apart from your chosen odour, you do not need any special equipment, making scentwork very simple and low cost. Most of the training can be done in the luxury of your own home and garden.

Trials

Trials are based on the detection-style nosework practiced daily by customs and excise dogs, explosives/firearms and modern detection dogs. The search areas are designed to replicate those that would be encountered by a working scent detection dog, but without the danger of using drugs or explosives! There are four elements; two internal searches of table and chairs, boxes and luggage, and two external searches consisting of an exterior vehicle search and general exterior item/area search. Currently, there are eight levels of progression. Dogs and handlers are tested against a consistent national standard and can progress by passing the individual levels at a Scentwork UK trial. Starting with one odour at level 1, additional odours are added at levels 3 and 6. Also, the search areas and tests increase technically and in difficulty as you progress through the levels. For example, at level 1 a dog and handler team needs to find one scented article in three out of the four search areas to qualify. Searches are timed and marks awarded for the dog finding the article and the handler on their handling.

For those teams that find all the articles in all of the search areas a ‘Clean Sweep’ is awarded. 1st to 4th places are awarded to those who have achieved the highest marks in the fastest time. Points can be gained at trials and these go towards ‘Scentwork UK’ Excellent titles, which reward consistency and excellence at all levels. Points are awarded to 1st to 4th places, clean sweeps and qualification at the individual levels. So whether you choose to do it for fun or go on and enter trials and gain Scentwork qualifications and awards, both you and your dog will enjoy the new challenge. Who knows what your dog’s nose knows!

Kate Kemp and Rick Burgess

Rick and Kate are Scentwork UK trainers based at Longbridge Deverill, just outside Warminster in Wiltshire. You can contact them via email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

WCGB Team

 

Thank you to everybody who offered support and encouragement for the WCGB team. It was a fabulous experience and we are so pleased the WCGB decided to run a team and support the inaugural event.

I arrived with Adrian and Bolt on the Wednesday to bright blue skies. The Tuscan location was amazing - the farmhouse complex was perched on a hilltop with panoramic views and the staff were incredibly helpful and friendly.

Tuscany 2

Arriving early we were able to do some training with the Swedish team, while Kimm, Chris, and Andrea arrived on Thursday.

 

We were all made very welcome by the Italians, including Simone Superbi, the Italian Club President and Sophia Joly the vice president The atmosphere of the weekend was great - friendly and supportive and we loved the welcoming ceremony with the flags and national; anthems = a great start to the event.

The first day was a pointing test in the morning  (up steep slopes ) with the dogs allowed to run for 15 mins or so Unlike our own tests, dogs don't get a second run so a lot rested on the single run, with  some handlers  getting cover crop and others  fields of rough grass and thistle

Andrea

 

The interesting bit at the end was the barrage where the qualified dogs ran in pairs on a cover crop so the judges could determine the ranking. The qualifications in the field gained points for the individual and team.

Group 1 Judges Piva, Moddonese, Sjostrom

1 VG Snaiper Missy - Ted Karlsson

2 VG Semper Adamas Shark Superb- Giulio Rigamonti

Group 2 JUnior Championship Cup judges Bachini Crudeli, Lombardi, Wilkinson

1 VG Fala Love's Albus Severus at Powershot - Cristina Sckiati

Group 3 judges Frangini Barano Kuge

1 VG Powershot C Altair - Martina  Magnani

2 VG Snaiper's Thelma - Kadi Harjakl -

3 VG Jekill - Pino Giancott

 CON Skyttens Nektar Silver - Fredrik Jonasson.

 

Qualifiers

The afternoon was a morphological verification ( conformation test ) Interestingly, for those who show, the judge sat at the ringside and scored each dog on head, general morphology and angles and occasionally asked the dog to move around the ring. Each of the three aspects is worth 4 points, so a maximum of 12, which is then divided by 10.

 Last test of the day was the water test com[rising a simple e seen retrieve of pheasant from deep water for which Bolt, Tara, and Mylo gained full marks ( 2 points)

At the water

 

Day2 was a bit like a shot over day with two guns following each dog. Dogs had to find point and flush birds. If the gun failed to shoot the bird, the judge threw cold game for the retrieve

Group 1 Judges Piva, Modonese Sjostrom

1 exc. Skyttens Nektar Silver - Fredrik Jonsson

2 exc. Jekill - Pino Giancotti

3 VG Snaiper's  Thelma -Kadi Harjak

. Group 2  Judges Bachini Crudeli Wilkinson

1 exc. Semper Adamas Shark Superb - Giullo Rigamonti

Group3 Judges Frangini, Lombardi Kugel

l 1 exc Poweshot C'Aftair  - Martina Magnani - overall winner.

2 Felisin Diosa Deidre - Tamara Van den Dam.

By the end, the Italians won the team event and the individual dog, with the Swedes in second. A fascinating two days,. Dogs trialling in the UK are expected to hunt well but be under control, steady on flush, have soft mouth, and return the bird gently to hand, The Italians favour a hard hunting dog that covers a lot of ground and can work independently of the handler  ( something UK judges tend  to refer to as self-employed) and they don't seem to mind the dogs running in after the flush ordamaf=ging the bird. We were frustrated by the fact that the handlers and observers did not follow the action in the gallery but remained by the cars until called forward, so we didn't see many of the dogs work. Hence most of my photos were taken with a very long lens from a 300-500m distance

Dog hunting

It was a truly sociable weekend and for me, the best bit was meeting other Weimaraner handlers from across Europe

Many thanks to the Italian Weimaraner Club for running this great event and for the support from the other teams without which this event would never have got off the ground. Following discussions between the Italian, Dutch Swedish and GB  representatives, it was agreed that the net event will take place in the Netherlands in 2020.

We would also like to thank our sponsors CSJ, Field and Trial and Harbour Veterinary Group

Sally Morgan