Thursday, March 24, 2011

Fixing things and another rant on judging...

Actually I will start on my judging rant and rave...  I have been a judge for 11 years now, needless to say I don't judge with great frequency, since I would much rather compete.  I limit myself to about four shows a year...  BUT nerdy me... I read my rules A LOT and I keep up to date with the FCI guidelines.  I especially appreciated the FCI Guidelines that came out after the February 2010 meeting, you know the one, where they went to all the trouble of drawing a million and a half scenarios explaining refusals and refusal planes.  Read it dudes...

This weekend saw as many as TWENTY refusal calls missed, by various judges... Yeah we all make mistakes, but seriously???  I think as judges we owe it to the competitors to do our jobs properly... Prizes and even qualifications were awarded because of these refusals not being called. Just some (of the many examples):

In scenario B, a dog (one of many to do this), ran the path I indicated, originally the judge called the refusal, but when she approached the table after the round, she withdrew the refusal when she heard the dog was in Grade 1 and not Grade 2 as she had originally thought.  This to me is also not acceptable.  We have rules, they are clear in black and white.  Each just has their interpretation of these rules, this is inevitable and I accept that, but these rules do not allow for leniency because of Grade or size or personal issues or who they are friends with or who they are shagging or what colour t-shirt they are wearing.  I often hear discussions like 'if that dog was in Grade 1, I would not award the fault, but in Grade 3 I would'... now I am one of the judges that disagree with this.  A refusal is a refusal, a missed contact is a missed contact, a knocked bar is a knocked bar.  The CHALLENGE in judging different grades, is setting up a course for Grade 1 that is flowing and easy enough that you do not have to allow for leniency because of YOUR course design...  Nobody ever said judging was easy, okay?  Haha, and of course you will always have obsessive compulsive agility freaks like me that is bound to b$tch and moan, I honestly mean it as constructive criticism... I did have a very friendly conversation with all the said judges and they were all open to discussions... that is much appreciated.

Once again the retarded look on my face... Eish

The other incident that bugged me this weekend regarding judging... We are a small agility community bla bla bla, you all know that thing by now.  While walking of the course following a BAD round, the judge made a comment to... a personal comment about me and my dog...  Although it was a friend and a person I have known for years, I saw RED for that moment... I was on an adrenalin high after running, irritated with myself for screwing it up and generally on edge.  As a judge, you HAVE to act professionally at all times and that means NO PERSONAL issues/comments/remarks/feelings of any kind while you are judging.  You are friendly, but not a friend for that time... me and my big mouth...  if you run under me and I do the same, this is once again 'smack me upside the head for free card'...  Anyhow the judge did apologise profusely and made me feel like such a big tit afterwards... but I stick by the 'no personal remarks thing'...

Anyhow now to get to part 2 of the monster post...  Agility is quite hard for me at the moment.  This year I have lost a large part of my 'agility support system'... so at the moment I am functioning on very little input and support from anyone else.  Oh sob, I must just get over it... the boys are all working their hearts out for me, so no complaining... but add onto this that as I mentioned in my last post, every single round I run at the moment is preparation for SA Champs.  This means that I am DQ'ing myself a lot... every time Spaz decides to self release on a contact or creep too much in his waits, I am stopping and correcting it.  Now for someone as competitive as me, because I turn what could have been a potential clear round and placing (not perfect according to my training, but still clear), into a big fat elimination.  But I am getting results, that is for sure... even though I DQ, my rounds are looking smoother, handling better, good contacts and more and more connected with the Spaz dog.  That in itself gives me immense satisfaction, so I get up every weekend and drive to the show, knowing that there is a large chance I will walk away with 3/3 eliminations and just keep the bigger picture in mind.

Why does Chaos always have rabid like drool hanging from his lips.. what a spaz

On that subject... I would like to define what I see as 'okay' to train or correct on the course... First of all, I ALWAYS check with the judge if it is okay to rerun a contact...  If they are not cool with it, I rather leave the course.  I NEVER waste the judge or anyone else's time, I run back quickly and redo the obstacle once, lots and lots of praise and then continue.  I always keep up Chaos's enthusiasm, he has never displayed any sign of stress when I redo something, because I always keep it fun... in fact it is never a correction, I just create another opportunity for him to get it right.  And in the last 6 months Chaos has always succeeded on his second try, I have never had to attempt anything a third time, because he knows his job, just gets the occasional brainfart and forgets it the first time.  I will only redo something if I KNOW that my training has been 100% correct and he DOES actually know what is expected of him.

I mention this because of watching countless dogs shut down completely in the ring, when handlers redo something a million times... eventually slowing to a dead stop or running of the course in panic.  Grrrr, this makes me ANGRY.  Want to smack some people.  And 99% of the time it is because you can SEE these dogs have no idea what is expected of them.  They have no clue what their criteria is... wake up jackasses, go and train it properly and STOP confusing your dogs or just shut them down!  And another problem is handlers that train on the course... which I am cool with if done right.  But don't spend 5 full minutes on the course, kay?  That is not on... not for the judge or the helpers or the handlers running after you.  If your dog has gotten it wrong THREE times, go home and TRAIN, your poor Fido obviously does not understand and that is YOUR fault, not his.  Oh and when the show and judges allow you to practice a bit afterwards, that is an awesome opportunity, but there is NO need to run the same course 15 times even after you competed the whole day...

Oh hat, time to stop ranting and raving.  I will post some vids later in the week... I think you have been 'over-chaosinagility'd' by now.  Once again all the amazing pics in the post is courtesy of Melissa Wilson.


  1. :))) I enjoyed reading this, thanks!

  2. Very good post! I enjoyed reading it, agree on all accounts...!