a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Here Comes The...Waffle

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Here Comes The...Waffle

SUMMARY: Accepted as a USDAA judge.
In case you missed it buried in yesterday's post, I found out over the weekend that I'm now on USDAA's judges list. But wait--before you all rush out to sign me up to work (supervised) at your trials: I have no information of any kind about what I do and how and when. And I'm not ready yet to say yes.

It was a bit of a surprise. I was expecting a phone call or a letter, but noooo, it was just a friend who saw me on the list and figured that I didn't know.

I hadn't intended to become a judge (or I'd have followed through on this YEARS ago). Course design never interested me, which might be kind of odd for someone with a mathematical bent. *Running* courses interested me. I did discover, with the course design/judging clinic, that it was actually fun. I thought that I knew nothing at all about course design, but apparently I've picked up a lot just from having run so dang many courses through the yearsnote 1.

I'm not a person who thrives on meeting new folks in a big party atmosphere, but I do like meeting people in a calm environment where everyone basically knows what they're doing. Which, yes, really does describe dog agility. I've just never found there to be a lot of drama in agility. There might be some here and there, but for the most part, not.

I'm pretty comfortable with the rules and the environment. It's an atmosphere in which I feel confident of what I'm doing (except when running Boost, say).

But it remains that the main reason I do agility is for something to do with my dogs, not because I needed something else to do.

And it also remains that I've been gradually cutting way back on agilitynote 2 so that I could have more weekends to do all those other things that I used to like doing or that I need to do.

So how much do I really want to be a judge? I'm waffling. Have to really decide before I call USDAA to say, um, could I get, like, some actual information? And before some club contacts me to see whether I'd be willing to come judge for them.

I think I'd like doing it, but really, maybe only a couple of times a year. (I'll bet lots of judges are laughing now.) But will that make me a competent or useful judge?

Yet, in the back of my mind is the philosophical question: Will my lifetime agility experience ever be truly complete if I don't do at least some judging? Hmmm.

note 1How many courses, exactly? The database wonk gets all excited--I think I could figure out a report in my database that would calculate that for me, but it would be complicated. So I'm going with an educated guess. I have run 3644 runs in my competition career (all venues). But of course many are duplicates (running 2 dogs). Let's say maybe 2000 different courses?

note 2From a high of 23 trials in 2003 gradually down to 13 this year. I'm proud of myself!


  1. Congratulations on passing the test, etc, although I never had a moment's dobt that you would. You seem to me to have the perfect temperament to be a judge, all the talent and knowledge neccessary and now just need the experience. Maybe you should give yourself a year to see if you like it or not and then decide one way or another.

  2. That's "doubt", not dobt. It's still a little early to be proofreading my own posts.

  3. Yeah, trying it is probably a good idea.

  4. LOL! Had some for breakfast, actually. With blueberries.