Working Trials stakes were originally based on training for police work and the army. For today’s participant, Working Trials are a competitive sport open to all breeds and sizes of dogs. Dogs need to be over 18 months of age to compete, but can attend training at an earlier age and must be registered with the Kennel Club. Working Trials are physically demanding, but are great fun and can be extremely rewarding.
All the dogs start as pet dogs, but it does help to have basic control (as the training takes place outside in fields) and a retrieve.
Dogs compete in ascending levels called 'stakes'. From the lowest stake, Companion Dog (CD) through Utility Dog (UD) and Working Dog (WD) to Tracking Dog (TD) and Patrol Dog (PD) at the very top.
At Billingshurst Dog Training Club, Working Trials training is held on Sunday mornings starting at 9.00A.M. whatever the weather, except in heavy snow or flooding. The meeting place is Dedisham Manor Farm, near Rudgwick. Aggressive dogs are not welcome.
The aims of Working Trials involves Nosework (tracking and searching), Control Exercises and Agility.
Tracking and Searching
To teach the dog to follow a track of human scent for half a mile, finding articles placed on the way.
To teach the dog to search a marked area of 25 sq. yards to find human scented articles and return them to the handler.
To teach heelwork at slow, normal and fast pace. Retrieve a dumbbell. Sendaway and redirection. Steadiness to gunshot. Speak on command. Recall and finish. 10 minute down stay and 2 minutes sit stay, both exercises are out of sight of the dog.
To teach the dog a 3ft hurdle, a 9ft long jump and a 6ft scale. The jumps are lowered for smaller dogs.
For more information on Working Trials visit www.the kennelclub.org.uk/activities/working-trials.