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Judging the Judges

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270 – February 2017


As always, when my family and puppy people are competing in other parts of the country, I stay close to my phone an- ticipating a call to report the results and such. Yesterday’s dog show report was a surprise! There were two specials competing and I bred both of them. I had watched this judge before on a cou- ple of different occasions and was pretty sure I knew which dog he would prefer. At least yesterday, I was wrong! But the outcome got me thinking about how exhibitors evaluate judges. With my sister’s permission, I would like to share with you her report and my thoughts.

“The dogs walked into the ring and he was really watching them,” she said. This is the first indication of an excellent judge. Generally speaking, two-and-a-half minutes is allotted to judge each dog. At handling class, the instructor teaches us to make the most of our two-and-a-half minutes by mastering various tech- niques designed to help us train and present our dogs to their best advantage. The flip side of that coin is that a judge can see both at- tributes and faults of dogs as they walk through the gate that maybe obscured by either excellent or poor handling. This immediate observation also lets us know that the judge is focused on the dogs. Attention to the exhibits precludes visiting with friends outside the ring, watching judging in other rings, or telling jokes with the stew- ard. It is indicative of a judge who takes his responsibility seriously. She said, “He was pretty business-like and efficient.” My sister knows that I am always interested in a judge’s ring demeanor. When some judges are concentrating on their judging, they may be relatively se- rious. This should not be mistaken for unfriendliness, particularly with regard to newer judges or those who judge less frequently. Others are more friendly; some because that is a reflection of their more exuber- ant personality, and some in a conscious effort to help exhibitors feel relaxed and comfortable. Judges’ ring manner will vary depending on their individual nature and situation, but their focus should always be on judging the dogs and running an orderly ring.

Click here to read the complete article
270 – February 2017

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