Thanks to Diane Ling for providing us with this in-depth testimonial and insight into a working dog’s life…
Working Trials Champion Deben Little Tom, CDex, UDex, WDex, TDex, PDex, aged 8 and Little Deben Joe, CDex, UDex, WDex, TDex, aged 4 have been exclusively fed on Salters.
They both compete in ‘Working Trials’- the civilian equivalent of Police Dog trials.
The sport requires a high level of fitness from the dog and handler and tests the team over several different types of exercises, increasing in difficulty as you progress up the stakes. You must qualify at each level.
Starting with the lowest, the stakes are CD [Companion Dog]; UD [Utility Dog]; WD [Working Dog]; TD [Tracking Dog] and PD [Patrol Dog]. Each stake is at an Open and at a Championship level.
My dogs are competing at the TD Championship level [both]; Joe is competing in PD open with Tom in the PD championship level.
Exercises are broken into sections:
- An aged track [3 hours old in TD] of some half a mile long and up to 25 legs. There are three small articles to be found on the track and neither dog or handler knows where the track goes; you have 20 minutes to complete the track and recover the articles.
- Search square – the dog has five minutes to find four small articles within a 25m square [hander not allowed to enter the square].
- Steadiness to gunshot.
- Heelwork at all paces.
- Speak on command.
- Sendaway; of around 150-200 metres in length with a re-direct of about the same distance – you will be instructed by the judge on where to send your dog [extra commands are penalised].
- 10 minute out of sight down stay.
- In the lower stakes – recall and retrieve replace the speak.
- 3 foot clear jump.
- 9 foot long jump.
- 6 foot scale – the dogs jumps over, waits on the other side and called back over.
The Patrol section can be very varied and you may not always know what the test is! Protected stewards wearing padded sleeves work through the exercises for you:
- Chase and detain the protected steward.
- Chase and recall from a running protected steward
- Quartering the ground to locate the protected steward and warn the handler that he has found him by sitting and barking [no biting allowed].
- Search and escort the protected steward.
- Test of courage.
There are a great many variations to these exercises; this tests both the dog and handler.
Salters ensure that they are kept at the peak of fitness required for all exercises and to cope with the high number of trials that we compete in during the year.
My younger dog Joe has qualified several times in Championship TD with one ‘ticket’ win. He is shaping up to be a good trial dog.
Tom has qualified TDex 40 times, with 5 ‘tickets’ [qualifying him for the KC Working Trial Championships held annually]. He has also qualified PDex 30 times with 5 ‘tickets’. Tom has qualified for the KCC’s seven years on the trot. Just this past weekend he qualified for the 2018 Kennel Club WT Championships.
Both dogs are competing in the 2017 KCC’s.
I have full confidence that Salters will continue to keep them fit and healthy to continue their busy Working Trial careers!
PHOTO CREDITS: Featured image by Olgivie; Scale photos by Sue James