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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Well Run Trial - From a Judge's Perspective

Ever wonder what makes an agility trial a success in a judge's eye? Well, some of the things may surprise you!

It's the Little Things:
  • Water in my hotel room when I arrive. Snacks are always nice, but water after a stale flight or long car ride is great! Especially since airport security won't let me bring my own any more...
  • Timely reimbursement of airfare. Please remember that I judge for quite a few clubs and diligently shop for cheap flights. As a courtesy, please send reimbursement within 7 days so that I'm not left funding several clubs and postponing inexpensive airfare purchases for other clubs on my schedule.
  • A pre-paid hotel is very thoughtful and appreciated. It ensures I have a room (yes, hotels have been known to give my room away) and simplifies billing.
  • Course Builder Copy Pick-Up - I love when someone picks up my course builder copies at the hotel each morning. This means I get to sleep in for just a bit more after a long flight the day prior or I may actually have time to eat breakfast. This is so much better than arriving at the trial site early and then sitting around for 45 minutes while the first course of the day is being built.
  • Please have a specific judge's table located in a place where exhibitors won't leave their dog treats or stare over our shoulder while we're checking paperwork.
  • Help me so I don't have papers everywhere. For example, a plastic 3-drawer bin is WONDERFUL! One drawer is for Course Builder copies so they can come pick up at their leisure, another bin is for catalogs that need to be checked and another bin is where the already checked sheets are stored until the end of the day.
  • Lunch - you may find this hard to believe, but I'm so busy I often forget to eat, don't know where to go or feel I can't take the time. Having someone who is in charge of my lunch is an amazing help. Early on they ask me when I would like to eat, they tell me what my options are and they bring the items to the judge's table so that I can sit and eat while checking my catalog or just sit between classes. This is a small indulgence, but is so very much appreciated and I'm very grateful for the help.
Ring Crew:
  • A Ring Captain is my life-saver! This is the person who gathers the ring crew (so I don't have to blindly yell for them) and ensures they are trained on their job.
  • FAST Class & Timers - Pretty please have one knowledgeable/experienced person to oversee and/or train the timer & scribe for this class. I want them to be successful since this class can be weird, it requires time changes and a lot happens in a short period of time. I'm not able to help them and judge the dog in the ring at the same time - I need your help.
  • Course Builders - I love when my course builders are entering the ring when the last dog is departing. It's a comfort to know I'm leaving the ring and they're taking over and it gives me an idea as to how long I have before I'm needed back in the ring.
Judge's Dinner:
  • Let's do dinner early. I'd like to get back to my hotel and relax after a long day of judging.
  • A restaurant with local flavors and character is always special. I'm visiting you and want to get to know about your area of the country.
  • Keep it to less than 10 people. More than 10 and I don't get to visit with everyone and I won't have an opportunity to make friends with anyone.
  • Don't talk agility dog! Tell me what you do outside of agility, tell me about the area, tell me a funny tidbit about yourself, talk about anything, except your run (I was there), your training issues (my brain may not think technical after a full day of judging), etc. unless I ask (I'm engaging you in conversation to get to know you). Then it's okay to answer, but keep it short and move on to a non-agility topic as soon as possible.
  • Please be nice. I really DO want you to have terrific runs.
  • If you're not happy, it is contagious. I feel it, your dog feels it, others see it and your performance will suffer.
  • I judge because I like dogs and the sport of agility. We have that in common.
  • You can never go wrong with words like Ma'm, Sir, Please, Thank You and When you have a moment...
  • Please don't leave dog treats or your coffee on the judge's table. The club already has snacks for me and I don't want to spill liquid on your scribe sheet.
  • Unless you have a question about a call, please don't come talk dog or hang over my shoulder while I'm doing paperwork (like course time calculations, checking scribe sheets or checking the catalog). Trust me, this is the official stuff that you want to ensure has 100% of my attention!
  • If you don't like something, you can NICELY ask me about it (see above sentence that says "You can never go wrong using words like....")
  • Please don't ask me a question when I'm in the bathroom stall. I feel like a hostage (especially if you stand outside the door) and I really just want 10 private seconds to myself.
  • When you come to talk to me, be sure to give me some background so I know what you're asking. If asking about a run, please tell me what class. If you have an equipment concern please tell me what ring, what equipment and then the issue.
  • Remember you always have a choice. If you don't like an angle to an obstacle, you can change your dog's approach. If you don't like a course, you don't have to run it. If you decide you're going to have fun, you WILL, etc.
  • Just like you, I'm not perfect.
  • Just like you, I never stop learning.
  • I left my home, my family, my dogs, gave up time with them, sat through a cramped flight or a long drive to be here with you and your dog. Let's make it a good time and smile together.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this with our up comming trial I just printed it to try to do the best I can for our Judges that sadly are not you and Dan