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Judging Junior Showmanship

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286 – August, 2018


Junior Showmanship is the hardest thing at the dog show to judge! And arguably the most important! It behooves those of us tasked with this responsibility to take it very seriously. We study hard to become licensed to judge the various breeds. Our juniors deserve our best efforts at educating ourselves and pursuing excellent judging.

Safety first! Keeping dogs appropriately spaced out in Juniors is always a concern. There are three basic areas where we need to focus on this aspect. The first one is rearranging dogs after the steward has brought them into the ring in catalog order.

• DO NOT randomly tell the juniors to move the big dogs to the front and small dogs to rear.
• DO give specific instructions in a clear voice. Make sure all the juniors understand. Repeat instructions as necessary.
• DO move dogs into position by opening up the line BEFORE moving dogs into the spaces.
• DO ask the juniors if you have questions about the speed/order of dogs. They show together every weekend. They know.

Moving dogs as a group is something we do by rote in breeds and groups. It is not uncommon for the group selections to take their final lap with the Basset Hound in front of the Saluki. In a large specials class, some judges will ask the bitches to step back against the fence and sendthe dogs all the way around back to the same location and then vice versa. When judging juniors, these are two procedures that we need to consciously avoid.

• DO NOT move the dogs around the ring with smaller dogs in front of larger ones. When judging juniors, it is a good practice to put the winners in order and point at them stacked.
• DO instruct the juniors to leave plenty of space between dogs when gaiting.
• DO NOT gait dogs around the ring while others wait on the outside edge. This is a recipe for disaster in the juniors ring.
• DO move dogs around to the end of line or divide the class into smaller groups and send some of them out of the ring.

Another concern with regard to spacing occurs during individual examination and gaiting. As judges, we need to be mindful of not creating crowded conditions for the juniors awaiting their turn. In some breeds, it is commonplace for all the dogs to share a spot of shade with no cross words. In other breeds, not so much! Particularly judges who come from breeds of dogs that are highly amenable need to be mindful that breeds have differing needs for space.

• DO NOT pile all the waiting exhibits on two sides of the ring to keep the gaiting aisle clear. If the juniors are waiting on the third side, but keeping the gaiting lane open, that is a good thing.
• DO split the class into groups as necessary and limit exhibits in the ring to a manageable number based on ring size, availability of shade, or shelter from precipitation.

Click here to read the complete article
286 – August, 2018

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  • July 2019