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Judging the judges...

With all the recent talk about judges on the Agility Forum and around the rings, it's obviously that there is a great disparity among judges.  What makes one judge standout from another? Would you agree that the judge sets the tone for the ring. After a long weekend with a judge who obviously felt nothing but contempt for the handlers, American Arlyn Sigeti, herself a judge, wrote this list of the qualities that she values in a judge.

So what is your criteria for a good judge? What makes one judge better than another? Is it just the course or is there more to this judging business?  Email your ideas to Agilitynet.

I enjoy running under judges who:-
  1. Knows the rules for the class for which they are judging.
  2. Does not have their own agenda to promote.
  3. Designs fair challenges that are fun for the competitors and the dogs
  4. Is as prepared as possible for the unexpected.
  5. Obviously loves the sport, as a competitor and a judge.
  6. Likes people.
  7. Does not make up their own rules. (See No.1)
  8. Smiles at the competitors and their dogs.
  9. Acknowledges the hard work of the ring party.
  10. Works well with the club
  11. Can laugh and have a good time
  12. Does not take themselves too seriously.


Richard Brain enjoying an ice cream
after a long day in the ring!

From Richard Brain... (see above)

I suppose as I had my picture put up for this one - Iím sorry about my dishevelled look, but I had just finished judging 400 dogs on a very hot day. Good fun but wearing - I had better put my point of view.

 First of all I would like to state that I agree with all the points Arlyn Sigeti made and I would like to add a couple myself.

  1. Tryís to be as consistent as possible.
  2. Stays interested in everything I do. This I would like to expand on.

My biggest grouch is when I get an early elimination, the judge turns away, leaves the ring and totally ignores me, leaving me to run their course on my own. I think this is extremely rude and against Kennel Club guide lines.

Yes, I know as a judge that an early elimination give you a chance to make contact with the outside world, speak to an other human being, have a quick drink, or a rub down with the sporting times on a wet day, but you designed this course I am running and it is your responsibility to make sure that I get round it okay. No, I donít expect you to watch the contacts or weaves as you would normally do, but how many of us have been eliminated at the first/second obstacle and then had the dog do a perfect round after that. Isnít it nice to have a sympathetic 'hard luck,' that could have been a 'perfect run' rather than a disinterested back facing you.

Thankfully there are very few who do this blatantly. To totally ignore a competitor is extremely bad form and, I believe, should be discouraged.

 Ooooooh thatís better. Iím glad I have got that off my chest! Have fun

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