[the following was submitted by Malcolm to the ASPADS newsletter]
WORKING TRIALS IN TEXAS
There are several people who live in and around Austin, Texas, decided to commence Working Trials and run them close to The Kennel Club Rules & Regulations. I believe that John Rogerson and Bill Hardaway started them off on the correct lines and they have progressed from there. Basically they only run a Championship Trial and allow the lower sized jumps throughout all the stakes, the main reason being that there are relatively so few of them, all other regulations are compatible with our own.
We were invited out in March 1998 and I must say there hospitality was nothing but excellent, from the day of arriving to the day of departure you want for nothing, only perhaps some shade now and again! We spent a couple of days getting to know the handlers and generally working their dogs, all the handlers are very enthusiastic and thoroughly enjoy the sport. A new experience was having to be aware of Fire Ants, these red coloured ants are about the same size as we would expect to see here, however they are far more carnivorous and if a new born deer cannot rise soon enough these ants will kill it very quickly. I saw articles very quickly covered by these ants and would be an easy way to discourage a dog from articles, places for carrying out the stays have to be carefully chosen. The only way to identify where they are is indicated by a bare patch of ground about the size of a cow pat and I am led to believe that they burrow to four or five feet underground.
All the dogs in training were of various standards but there were many promising dogs, they have mainly concentrated on the CD Stake and therefore many did not have experience of tracking. The training days were very enjoyable with every one keen and trying to their best, the nosework was done in the early morning for as the day progresses the heat becomes very oppressive. Agility on the whole was quite good and if more work is required it would be on the nosework, however all the handlers are very enthusiastic to learn.
The day of the trial arrived and first of all we did the UD tracks in the early morning, even then the ground is somewhat withered looking and extremely dry, unfortunately no one got round the track, this was mainly due to lack of confidence on the handlers part. The rest of the day was spent doing the UD control and the CD Stake and unfortunately there were no qualifiers in any stake. The stays and agility took their normal toll, however it was the nosework which was the greatest downfall.
My special thanks go to Cory and Christine Tourino with whom we stayed and Mark & Kim Donnell who organised the event with the help of Cory and Christine. There were quite a few social events which all the handlers attended and it was a very pleasant and enjoyable experience.
1st Mark Donnell & Mako (Malinois)
The dog would have qualified had they managed to complete the track, Mark lacks the experience of pretending the dog found the article! I am sure that when they get the nosework together they will qualify comfortably. This dog has a very likable character and is a pleasure to watch.
2nd Kim Donnell and Piper (Malinois)
Same problems as above but with a ‘fun’ square, Piper disturbed a hiding cat while doing the square. The end result was a cat on the roof of a house and no articles out of the square, not even a retrieved cat! Again a dog that enjoys working.
1st Nicole Sauvageau & Shakti (Crossbreed)
One of only two dogs to qualify the nosework section, with a little more work and a normal performance in the agility section will qualify with ease.
2nd Christine Tourino & Axel (German Shepherd)
First trial competition for this young dog and handler, they did extremely well and was only lack of experience which prevented a qualification.
3rd Colleen Duffy & Tycho (German Shepherd)
This dog and handler have been involved in trials only a very short time, however they both have got what it takes. A natural willing dog who finds the work both easy and enjoyable.
4th Suin Tu & Indy (Border Collie)
Again lack of experience and confidence the main factors, however Suin is an excellent handler and I am confident she will get there in the near future.
The whole of the group are also heavily involved in search & rescue as well as agility and it is most commendable that they have done so well with such a lack of "hands on experience". It was a pleasure and a wonderful experience to spend the time with them. No matter how good the weather, Scarborough will never look quite so good again!
Malcolm & Brenda Byrom