JUDGING & MENTORING A TEAM EFFORT
by KIM BYRD
A s you learned to train your dog and yourself for the moment you both would enter the show ring—whether it is for confor- mation or performance—you were guided by one or two mentors. Th ey provided you with information on the procedures required to enter and show in the ring. Th ey provided you with the information to train yourself and your dog. Th ey spent hours talking to you about fine tuning and what was needed to work to the level of competition you wished for yourself. You learned and learned and learned from your mentors. When you decided you had the strength and fortitude to begin breeding, your men- tors were right there with you. Th e hours driving to and from the shows were spent reciting and learning the health statis- tics, structure, coat color and movement of important pedigrees. Th e recitations a ff orded you the chance to work the pedi- grees of the dogs you have become to love and protect and know where to take them to breed. Mentors gave that gift to you. Mentors worked hard to push your own breeding program to the best it can be. Now it’s your turn to give some of that gift of guidance and education to our judges and folks new to our breed. Our judges go through a great deal of seminars, training sessions and provisional judging periods, judges new and comfort- able to miniature pinschers would certain- ly benefit from a small hands-on session. Being able to touch a small variety in type after a dog show, would provide an oppor- tunity to hone skills without the pressure to keep within judging time frames. Mentors, wait until the end of a provi- sional judge’s assignment and politely say I am a Miniature Pinscher Club of America mentor and I did not have a dog in your ring (if you didn’t); however, if you’d like to discuss the breed’s fine points or go over
some di ff erent Miniature Pinschers at a lei- surely pace I’d be more than happy to do so. Be respectful. If you are asked to wait until after their entire assignment, do so. During your private discussion, start with what they did right and discuss the fine points of the breed. It’s your responsibil- ity as a mentor to teach others about the details our breed and sharing information to update or improve a judges’ education is imperative. When mentoring ringside, discuss the good and bad parts of the dogs for exam- ple, that’s a nice head with flat planes and a strong muzzle with lovely eyes, a moderate rear, or his rear is a bit straight, but outline is lovely. Be critical, but not mean. Folks don’t like hearing you have trashed their dog, but when you discuss parts, that’s di ff erent. A flat foot is a flat foot. A level topline is a level topline. Dark eyes are dark eyes, as well as light eyes are light, cross- ing over in the front is not parallel move- ment. Discuss how the movement of the Miniature Pinscher is sometimes di ffi cult to judge. As our standard states side gait is hackney like, but we must not forget it also requires parallel movement coming and going and a driving rear. Judges, when approached by a breed mentor, try make time to use the knowl- edge being shared with you. Mentors can be nervous to talk to you, but really do wish to share good knowledge. Going over dogs when you aren’t pressed for time and able to discuss the finer points of our breed; i.e., size (2 ½ inches is a big di ff er- ence in height from the shortest to the tallest), movement, coat, with an expert makes for a great opportunity. As a Miniature Pinscher Club of America certified mentor, you may be con- tacted by a judge who isn’t judging Min- iature Pinschers that day and wishes you to spend the time mentoring them. Just as your mentor has taught you, it is now your
responsibility to pay it forward and teach others. Be a mentor, share the information you have learned! 30 years of unbelievable fun has gone by so fast for me being involved with Min Pins and I admit they have changed a little, but basically their structure and outline remain the same because of our standard and great breeders. Mentors must help our judges’ education folks educate judges at the shows where we go as exhibi- tors. Mentors and judges are the forward team to judges’ education and we must work together. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Kim Byrd breeds and shows Miniature Pin- schers and Basenjis under the KISA Kennel name and is an AKC Breeder of Merit. She has been breeding and showing for close to 30 years and has won All Breed Best In Shows, all breed group competition, the National Specialty and several Best in Specialty Shows. She was honored with the MPCA Good Sportsmanship Award and believes wholeheartedly in the AKC Mentoring Program.
238 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , A PRIL 2015
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