International Working Trials 2006


Every year International Working trials are held in Spain, this year for the 6th time. The dog that wins the trials is International Working Champion.

The championship contains 7 trails. Three water trials and four land trials. The trials are:

- retrieving in the water

- rescue

- diving

 - the ramp

- the ladders

- retrieving on land

- tracing


Travel report of us participating the International Working Trials of 2006.

It is the 10th of August 2006. Very early in the morning. We are ready to fly to Spain to participate in the International Working Trials for the second time. Dennis (Gelt his oldest son) accompanies us also. For him it is his first time.

Last year we've gotten a lot of experience on the trials and we now know exactly what they expect from us and our dogs. We are both very tensed, because in the past months we've put a lot of time and energy training our dogs and this has to pay itself back. Our goal is to end with the best ten !

It is about 7hrs in the morning. We are at Schiphol airport and ready to check in our luggage and the dogs. We wait until the dogs are picked up to go directly to the airplane and keep them within our sight as long as possible. Everything goes smooth. It is not the first time the dogs do this and they are behaving very well. 

After a 2,5hrs flight we land at Malaga Airport. Now we have to wait for the dogs, they will arrive between all the luggage, that's normal for Spain. The moment we turn on our mobile phone's, we get a message that Antonio Garcia Perez, the Chairman of the Spanish Club, tried to call us. There is a Swedish reporter on the airport, who will make an article about the working trials for a Swedish magazine. She doesn't have a car and we are asked to take her to Ubrique. As soon as we have found her, we are going to our (rental)car and leave for Ubrique. We have a 2,5hrs drive to go, through the mountains of Cadiz, on a hot day! Fortunately we know the way and we drive in a straight line to our destination.

We arrive in Ubrique in the afternoon, where we get a very warm welcome from our host Antonio. After a few hands and kisses we immediately leave with Antionio to a goat farm in the near area to train our dogs in herding. We didn't know it, but as it seems there would be a herding-trail  on Sunday, the day after the working-trials. Our dogs have never done this before, so we are going to see if they have any feeling for this. It doesn't work out well. Our dogs have never seen a goat before in their whole live. They both really don't know what to do with them and that is why we choose not to compete in this trial.

View from our apartment in Ubrique

The next day, the 11th of August, we leave together with Antonio and a couple of his English guests to Arcos de la Frontera to inspect the trial field and to practice a bit with our dogs. After a few practices we stop and go swimming in the lake near Arcos and enjoy ourselves, because we don't want to exhaust our dogs the day before the trials. At night we treat ourselves on a nice dinner and then up to bed, because tomorrow we got an important day ahead of us. Dennis also has an important chart. He will be will be the person to be rescued in the water.

Saturday the 12th of August. We don't have to leave early, because the trials start at 11:00h. We are one of the first competes to arrive at the field. Our dogs are written in as nr. 2 (Chico with Lotte) en nr. 6 (Shira with Gelt). Eventually it seems that over 40 dogs will compete. A record !! Also a record regarding the number of foreign competers: 5 from Great Brittany and 2 from Holland.

Waiting for the trials to start.....

The first trial, retrieving in the water, goes very well. Both Shira and Chico get the stick from the water. They both put down an excellent time, but we have wait to the evening for the ranking.

Chico in action at the retrieving

At the second trial, rescue, Dennis also gets into action. He has to act as a drowning person with this trial on request of the organization. Shira and Chico do it again !! They both get Dennis on surfing board out of water without hesitation. We are definitely not the fastest ones, but again we put down an excellent time.

Dennis gets instructions from "el Presidente" Antonio

Shira in action at the rescue-trail

We are very nervous for the third trial. During the training we put a lot of energy in this trial, so our expectations are very high. Chico has to go first. It awfully goes wrong when Chico finds some kind of tube under water. Chico tries to get the tube above the water and has no eye for the apport that lies under water too. After a minute the whistle blows and he has to stop trying. No points. After this, Shira gets a try and this works out very well. Shira gets, as one of the few dogs, the apport from the bottom in just one attempt. Jackpot !! She gets all the points for this trial. After this Chico gets another chance, but sadly enough this also doesn't work out as we hoped for. When the apport is thrown into the water, Chico is already under water with his head and that is why he doesn't know where to look. We are both a little bit disappointed, but we don't have much time to think about it. First lunch and then we go on with the land trials.

Shira dives without hesitation

 After lunch we go on with the trials. First the ramp. An easy part for the both of us, because we both have done agility with our dogs. Chico goes over very easily and scores on this trial again. Then it's Shira her turn. This is one of the favorite trials of Shira. She is totally focused on the ramp and the whistle blows she flies over it and puts down a magnificent time.

the ramp

The ladders are the second land trial. A difficult and rather dangerous trial. In Spanish it is called "Pista de Catastrofe" !! The ladders contains several objects, where the dog has to run over or through, at an estimated height of 2 meters. This trial has to be trained very carefully and has to be learned step by step, because a dog can be hurt at this trial very easily.

The dogs have to climb up on a aluminum ladder, after that a board of about 25 cm wide and 3 meters long.

Our English friend Ben with Neus on the board

After that over a horizontal lying ladder and through a small tube. Right after the tube a kind of bedspring.

The perro takes all kinds of weird obstacles without fear or acrophobia.

Photo Kennel Valneboeiro (Spain)

After the bedspring again a small board and than down a ladder again.


In total it looks like this:

We haven't trained this trial much, because our dogs walked over the ladders last year without any problems. Chico starts excellent, but on the horizontal lying ladder he gets a little insecure and because of that he looses some valuable time. But because he does the rest of the trial very accurate, he gets a fine result. This trail is also one of Shira's favorites. Just like on the ramp our "lady" flies over the ladders like a rocket and puts down a very fast time. Unfortunately she jumps over the last two bars of the last ladder and therefore she gets 2 penalty-seconds.

This is the moment that we get Goosebumps. It looks like that Shira and Chico do very well between these excellent trained, and used to the high temperature, dogs  We expect that a position between the first ten for both our dogs achievable should be if the other trials work out fine.

It's getting late in the afternoon and especially for the dogs the waiting between the trials takes very long. Thankfully our dogs know this from last year and they keep very quit in between. We sometimes let them take a dive into the water to let them cool of and to stay alert.

The 6ht trial: retrieving on land. This is one of Chico's favorites !! He knows to prove our expectations at this trail. It goes very well again. Shira is next and she also does a very good job. She starts awfully fast and comes back like a flying spear to retrieve the apport. It almost went wrong at the finish, because she drops the stick, she has to retrieve, on the finish line.  Just a few inches earlier and she didn't have any points. A lot of dogs are getting tired and don't have the discipline anymore to end this trail properly. 

  The last trial: the tracing. Last year we didn't know exactly what we and our dogs had to do at this trial, but this year it is different. They now exactly know what we expect from them. What is the intention ?? An object (bal/apport) is hidden under a box out of the sight of the dog. In the field there are about six boxes and the plan is that the dog needs to point out under which box the object is hidden (for example by barking). A trail that should prove if the scent of the dog is properly developed.

Photo Kennel Valneboeiro (Spain)

Chico again has to go in first from the two of us. Lotte hopes to score a price on this trial, because in the training Chico always did wonderful. He even does better than during the training. He astonishes a lot of people with his performance. Even the jury is impressed when he categorically works out the boxes one by one. At the third box he hits the jackpot.

Shira sometimes at home is very easily distracted at this trial, but because the rest of the day everything worked out very well we hope she stays alert. Shira works a lot less accurate, but when Gelt gives her the command to search again, she also round off this trial very good. Now we have to wait how the rest of the competitors work out this trial.

The tension rises when the jury draws back to work out the points. After a while (and some vodka con narranga (which means orange juice)) the jury returns and everybody moves to the stage.

There are three awards available per trial. First the awards for retrieving on water are given away. We don't expect to get anything on this trial. Gelt is already filming and Lotte is ready to take pictures of the winner of this trial. But to our surprise Chico becomes second on this !!

The winners of retrieving on water

After this the awards for rescue. Our dogs did their best, but didn't get any of the prices. Then the diving-trial. This trial didn't go well for a lot of dogs so we are very proud that Shira gets a third price on this trial.

The winners of diving

We're smelling the sweet taste of victory, already 2 cups on just 3 trials !! Coming up next, the land trials. Starting with the awards for the ramp. Shira was very fast on this  trial, so we are very curious what the result is. And again the announcer calls out her name: Shira is second best !!

The winners of the ramp

A lot of Spanish Perro owners start to congratulate us already for our successes, but we're still not there. The awards for the ladders are given away and Shira is again second best !!

The winners of the ladders

We're so happy, nothing can tough us anymore this day. We have shown everybody that our Dutch dogs, WITH TAIL, can work equal to the Spanish dogs. The next trial: retrieving on land. A lot of dogs didn't do well on this trial and that is why we are not surprised when Chico gets the third place. But for the first time our both dogs are on the stage, because Shira is first.

The winners of retrieving on land

We are even more happy when Chico proofs to be the best one on the tracing-trial.

The winners of tracing

Na deze zeer goede resultaten van vooral Shira, hopen we bij de beste 3 honden overall te komen met haar. De spanning is te snijden. Dennis zal de gehele overall uitreiking filmen en Lotte maakt de foto's. Onze engelse vriend Nigel wordt met zijn hond Kiko als eerste naar voren geroepen om op het podium te komen staan. Hij gaat helemaal uit zijn dak. Wij verwachten nu dat Shira omgeroepen zal worden en we staan dan ook even vreemd te kijken als blijkt dat Chico tweede is geworden. In ieder geval één van onze honden bij de eerste 3 zeggen we nog tegen elkaar. Gelt neemt het fototoestel over. Echter moet hij snel het toestel weer afgeven; Shira blijkt eerste te zijn !!

Shira Working Champion 2006

Natuurlijk krijgen we ook weer een prullenbak...

Iedereen wil ons feliciteren en we komen handen en wangen te kort. Na alle plichtplegingen gaan we 's avonds heerlijk uit eten met de gehele organisatie en juryleden. Daarna op bed, want de volgende dag willen we bij de wedstrijd geitenhoeden gaan kijken en tevens is er s'middags een kleine show, waar onze Shira en Chico ook aan mee zullen doen.

Het geitenhoeden zal een nieuw onderdeel worden van de werkproeven en deze keer is dit meer als kennismaking bedoelt. We hebben ons een beetje verslapen, dus als we bij de geitenfarm aankomen zijn de proeven al in volle gang.


Hierna volgt de show, maar onze honden hebben het na gisteren een beetje gehad. Ze staan en lopen braaf, maar echt van harte gaat het niet meer. Ook de temperatuur speelt hierbij natuurlijk een grote rol. Desondanks behaalt Chico een 4de plaats in zijn klasse met een Uitmuntend en Shira behaalt een 5de plaats, eveneens met een Uitmuntend. Voor ons goed genoeg, gezien de prestaties van de vorige dag.

Het is maandag 14 augustus. We gaan weer terug naar het koude Holland. We hebben met Nederland gebeld en we krijgen en temperatuurverschil van ruim 25 graden te verwerken. Nog een ander obstakel wordt het inchecken, want we willen onze bekers (9 stuks in totaal) per se mee als handbagage (komen de prullebakken toch van pas !!). Gelukkig valt het allemaal mee en krijgen we alleen een vriendelijke glimlach van de spaanse douane toegeworpen. Aangekomen in Nederland (Schiphol) is het weer wachten op de honden. Ondanks dat de honden in Spanje gewoon tussen de koffers op de bagageband binnen komen, werkt dat een stuk sneller dan in Nederland. s'Avonds komen we moe maar voldaan aan in Leeuwarden.

Shira Internationaal Werkkampioen 2006 !!!!

Chico is Sub-kampioen geworden !!