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Hey Newbies – Here’s What Judges Want You to Know

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102 – July, 2018

by Sandy Weaver · AKC Judge

Do you remember your first dog show as a spectator? I sure do – it was Rock Creek Kennel Club in a park in suburban Washington DC. The only thing I knew about dog shows was that mean old joke, “she’s so ugly I wouldn’t take her to a dog show.” It was hard to believe that there were that many different breeds in the world, much less all in the same small park in Maryland.

Do you remember your first dog show as a competitor? Mine was a fun match put on by the Greater Washington Siberian Husky Club. I had the pettest of pet Siberians and won when I shouldn’t have. I was hooked. You, too?

When you’ve been around dog shows as long as most judges have, it can be easy to forget that we were all newbies once. Many of us had no business showing that first dog. Many of us showed up with the wrong clothes, shoes and tack to go along with the wrong dog. Many of us didn’t even know it would be smart to watch the ring so we might have an inkling of what the judge wanted us to do.

In a recent survey, judges chimed in on their one best piece of advice for new exhibitors. With responses from nearly 100 judges, you might guess that a few similar responses cropped up, and you’d be right. You’ll be delighted by some of what the judges had to say – read on!

The most common response was “relax”. Thirty-nine responses contained this word, some multiple times. In a similar vein was “breathe” or “take a deep breath” – those showed up nine times, and “fun” was included 21 times. Five judges suggest working with a mentor to exhibitors they know are new, and two invite questions during the judging process.

Click here to read the complete article
102 – July, 2018

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