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Working Trials

Working trials days are designed to give you a little taste of what you can achieve with your dog. (In silver or above depending on level of control.)

Working trials are the civilian equivalent of police work, however for the competitor it is purely for competition. All breeds can take part, however, it is a physically demanding sport so the dog and owner must both be physically fit.

Working Trials date back to 1924 when the Associated Sheep, Police and Army Dog Society held the first event. In May 1927, the first Championship Working Trial to be recognised by the Kennel Club was held by the Alsatian League and Club of Great Britain at Castle Bromwich.

Dogs compete in ascending levels called ‘stakes’. From the lowest stake, Companion (CD), through Utility (UD), Working (WD), Patrol (PD) and Tracking Dog (TD) at the very top, the dog is required to obtain 70% of the marks in each section and 80% overall in order to qualify and thereby progress upwards to the next stake. Two wins in Championship TD or PD stakes qualify the dog to be awarded the title of ‘Working Trial Champion’.

The exercises are basically divided into three sections:

  • Nosework
  • Agility
  • Control
Nosework

The dog follows 'a track' – laid by a ‘tracklayer’ walking a set ‘pattern’. The track is approximately half a mile long and laid on grassland, ploughed field or heathland with each competitor working on similar terrain to others in the stake.

As the dog follows the track it has to seek out and recover articles placed along the track by the tracklayer. In UD the track is laid half an hour before the dog works and in TD the track is three hours old.

The other component of nosework is ‘search’ where the dog has to search for and retrieve articles placed in a marked area called a search squares. In CD the area is 15yd square and there are three articles to find in four minutes, in all the other stakes the area is 25yd square, with four articles to find in five minutes.

Tracking
Tracking
Tracking
Tracking
Squares
Squares
Agility

There are three jumps in agility, the 3ft clear jump, the 9ft long jump and the 6ft scale.

3ft Clear Jump
3ft Clear Jump
9ft Long Jump
9ft Long Jump
6ft Scale
6ft Scale
Control
  • Heelwork:     This is done in three paces slow, normal and fast, with right, left and about turns.
  • Retrieve:     The dog is to retrieve a dumbbell, present to handler and finish to heel.
  • Sendaway:     The handler will be asked to send the dog from a given point to a position indicated by the judge. In the higher stakes the judge will ask you to redirect the dog to another spot and stop it again once, or even twice.
  • Steadiness to gunshot:     The dog must not bark, show fear or aggression when the gun is fired.
  • Speak on command:     The dog has to speak on command and cease speaking on command.
  • Stays:     The dog has to do a 10 minute down stay with handler out of sight, in CD there is a 2 minute sit stay.
Sendaway
Sendaway
Patrol

There are five exercises.

  • Quartering the ground:     The dog is sent to find a person hidden somewhere on the patrol field, out of sight of dog and handler. Once the dog as located the person, the dog should signal its find by spontaneously barking.
  • Test of courage:     There are many variations of this exercise; the dogs may have to face buckets of water being thrown, huge leafy branches and bin bags being waved, dustbin lids being banged, shouting, car horns or even gun fire. Whatever the threat the dog must not show fear and be prepared to challenge the aggressor.
  • Search and escort:     The dog is to watch and guard the 'criminal' whilst the handler carries out a search and then, together with the handler, escort the 'criminal' as directed by the judge. During the escort, the 'criminal' will make an attempt to attack the handler, who should be defended by the dog.
  • Recall from criminal:     Dog is to chase a fleeing man but, when approximately half way between handler and 'criminal' , it will be recalled by verbal command or whistle and should cease the chase and return to the handler.
  • Pursuit and detention of criminals:     The handler is to engage the 'criminal in conversation and after an exchange of words, the dog will be sent to pursue the fleeing man and bring him to a halt. The dog has to do this by taking hold of the protected arm of the man and hang on.
Patrol
Patrol
Patrol
Patrol