a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Fourth Day of Judging Clinic

Monday, September 27, 2010

Fourth Day of Judging Clinic

SUMMARY: Done! Glad to be back to normal--probably--
Related posts:

We went only until 5:30ish today--longer than originally scheduled, but the material was useful and we had a good time going out to lunch as a group at Casa da Fruta.

I completely wimped out on photos--SO much already in my head that I needed to wrassle with, still pretty tired even after a decent night's sleep, and it was HOT! But Team Small Dog did post a photo of me doing my Advanced Standard briefing and then sitting around in the shade with my buds after I finished my course-judging evaluation.

I did kind of OK on the huge written test--I think I got about 85% correct over all, which translates to close to 100% on some sections and pretty crappy on others. I now know that I don't know the rules for designing nonstandard classes (Snooker, Jumpers, Gamblers, Relay) worth beans, despite reading them several times and trying to remember them (particularly what are the minimum number of this or that allowed or required at each level). And I do not have memorized that the center of a teeter must be 24-27" high, not "uhhh--maybe 28 inches" or other nonmemorized answers like that.

And not surprisingly I missed some questions on Starters and Advanced scoring--I think that I know the rules but I've just not been exposed to them much as a competitor as I have been to masters, so sometimes I just fumblebrained it.

Then there was that question about a set of 24 weave poles and all I read was "weave poles" and somehow missed that it was 24 of them--I'm tellin' ya, I was still pretty fried!

But I finished in 2 hours of the allowed 3, including reviewing the questions I wasn't too sure about and trying to read everything 2 or 3 times to be sure I wasn't missing anything. Some material I was very confident of, so that went quickly, and some material i realized right away that I just didn't know and so sitting and staring at it wasn't going to make the answer appear (e.g., the height of the center of the teeter), and so those went pretty quickly. Many questions definitely made me think. Drawing little pictures sometimes helped and sometimes not.

So I've learned a lot, got to meet some people I otherwise wouldn't have, had a great time, and really really need sleep. (Sorry, dogs, 15 minutes of twilight fetch is all I want to do this evening, especially with record-high temps for this time of year still keeping things hot.)

Instructor/Evaluators Tim Laubach and Frank Holik did a superior job of keeping things upbeat and positive. All that positive-training dog lessons came in handy for them, I guess. But it wasn't simply "attagirl," it was constant reminders of expectations, purposes, and goals, and also finding constructive ways to say pretty much everything. Like, there were no, "Your course design sucks"; instead, the comments would be like, "this part is great; this part is too hard for Advanced but here are a few ways you could tweak it slightly and fix it." Very helpful.

They kept us apprised of our scores, mistakes, and successes at every step of the weekend, so we really never had to sit and dread the results. The main thing they reinforced all through was that simply doing well on the tests at this clinic doesn't guarantee that you'll be a judge. There's other criteria that they look at as well--your references, your attitude through the weekend, whehter you have certain weak areas that need improving before you can start judging, and so on. And Tim told us that it could be up to a month from now before we hear anything more, but that we will eventually get the final word.

And Susan and Kraig, in whose home and yard the clinic took place, not only participated all the way through, but served as gracious host and hostess, keeping their cool and their pleasantness intact through all the stress and sleeplessness and people traipsing in and out and asking to borrow a pencil (tsk, I took only pens) and all that, meanwhile with these 90-100-degree temps going on. Don't know how they did it, but I'm grateful!


I might talk more about the clinic and some things we learned, or I might not--there was SO much material crammed into the four days.

Yeah, SO MUCH material--the big point that Tim made was: This clinic is not going to turn you into a judge if you're not already basically ready for it. What it does, however, is to point out the areas that need work, so you can focus on those to get ready to become a judge. Like working the score table more, or timing more, or working in the advanced ring more, or course building, or whatever else it might be.

I'm looking forward to hearing what my final evaluation will be, and meanwhile have more time to contemplate whether I actually want to become a judge. Meanwhile---zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.....


  1. I think you'd make a great judge and I think you should become one and then you can judge at a trial near me and then we can finally meet in person :-)

  2. Thanks for my laugh for the day! Being a judge would certainly be a good way to get to meet people, wouldn't it! I don't even know yet whether they'll want me to be a judge, so it could be moot. But thanks also for the support!

  3. Definitely what Cedarfield said :) Read all about your judging clinic, very interesting!

  4. This is all very interesting. And I agree, reading about you and the dogs and agility trials and training...I think you have the well rounded experience to be a great judge! And I think you might enjoy that aspect of it as well.