non-sporting Q&A WITH LORAINE BOUTWELL, ELAINE LESSIG, INGE SEMENCHIN, CINDY STANSELL, JOE WALTON, MATT & PAULA ABBOTT, DANIELLE ARDAGNA & KATHIE VOGEL, JAMES DALTON, DEBRA FERGUSON, SUSAN GILES, ELIZABETH MILAM, CONNIE UNGER, CYNTHIA CARLSON AND HELEN DORRANCE
CS: My advice to both is to take time to really study and learn. Choose your mentors carefully. The closest person may not be the best. Have several good mentors with different skills/knowledge to give you a more well-rounded knowledge. M&PA: Don’t be afraid to get your hands into the hair to feel the structure. Also, even though the Bichon is considered a companion breed, movement still matters. JW: New judges need to do two things, 1) learn the history, purpose and standard (thoroughly), and 2) Just judge dogs. Do not let any other consideration (possible assign- ment, friendship, or a dog’s record) influence your judging. 17. Biggest pitfall awaiting new and novice judges? DA&KV: The biggest pitfall for the less experienced judge? Lack of experience. Give them a chance, if they have a good “eye” they will only get better. JD: The biggest pitfall for new and novice judges is lack of understanding the breed standard or breed type and what is required before they judge. Also the ability to understand the DQ’s for the breed including weight and how to properly weigh a dog. We have a disqualification for weight (28lbs) and no dog with any DQ should be rewarded no matter how beautiful. I have seen several instances where a judges inability to follow proper proto- col to weigh a dog has allowed an overweight dog with a clever handler to escape disqualification. So respect the standard and the rules! Please if you want any respect from the fancy just judge the dogs without fear nor favor. DF: Hair hair hair. The Poodle is a moderate dog with hair. SG: We presently have the shortest breed standard of just 227 words. Without working/mentoring with well ABOUT SHOWING DOGS HAS BEEN THE NUMBER OF FRIENDS THAT I HAVE MADE ALL OVER THE WORLD.” “ONE OF THE BEST THINGS
established breeder/s, it is very difficult to understand our breed and its fine points. EM: I suppose I question the reason why so many judges are so anxious to get started before their “minimum require- ments” are complete. And just what could be defined as a “pitfall”. I often wonder what the goal for many judges intimately is. If they truly aren’t ready, it shows and they get tagged as incompetent. If they are applying to judge for any other reason than a desire to improve the breed and the sport by their high level of knowledge, they might find they aren’t “rewarded” very much. I guess each individu- al’s expectation would likely point to potential pitfalls. Maybe when they realize that they don’t win respect automatically after being licensed might be defined as a pitfall. And the exposure occasionally of phony friendship. CU: I see the biggest pitfall is that often judges judge the handler and not the dog. Everyone knows that certain judges are friends with certain handlers so your dog isn’t shown for that show. Also, new judges need to be trained by someone like Michelle Scott who really knows how to judge Poodles. New judges sometimes go by the prettiest face or the nicest grooming. They need to know the AKC standards and grooming and faces are just part of the whole picture. CC: Picking dogs that bests represents the standard & not picking the familiar handler who’s dog doesn’t. HD: Biggest pitfalls for new judges are sometimes the ten- dency to not give equal consideration to all three sizes on the one hand but then on the other hand to expect all three sizes to move at the same speed. It can be difficult to judge such disparate sizes in the same ring. Also Eskies tend to be very devoted to their owners and will bait and show all day long for “their person” but not pay much attention to the judge (no matter how many keys are dangled in front of them). 18. Anything else you’d like to share-something you’ve learned as a breeder, exhibitor or judge of the Group or a particular point you’d like to make? LB: Enjoy this diverse group while (in my opinion) it is at its peak. Exhibitors, prepare and train your dogs, entry fees are not cheap, don’t waste your money on a dog that is not quality or that doesn’t enjoy dog shows. Don’t be dis- couraged, it takes a lot of effort and spunk to be success- ful. But what fun, when you have a good dog who enjoys the ring and after working with this dog you are a team, that really makes all the hard work worth the effort! IS: This group is very special to me as I come from Poodles and have been breeding for so long and have produced so many Champions. CS: Never stop learning. I often take back to my personal breeding program ideas or perspective that I encoun- tered when learning another breed. SG: One of the best things about showing dogs has been the number of friends that I have made all over the world. I’ve met so many people that I wouldn’t know if it wasn’t for our sport.
280 • S how S ight M agazine , J anuary 2019
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