When I'm judging (I only judge NAHRA) you better be ready for some conversation. It's a hunt test, isn't it??? My scenario is centered around hunting, so in addition to asking the handler if s/he has any questions, I'll ask if you brought coffee, why you are late, etc., etc., etc. Keeps it light, relaxes some, and some don't even hear me. If I'm calling from the line to start the test, I like to be realistic here too... "Do you see the birds..... here they come!!!!"
Never had any complaints and have had lots of compliments that "THAT was a fun test!!!" Even from some that didn't Q.
The most distracting test ever. I ran a Finished test and a squadron of Blue Angels from the air show came over the lake at treetop level. Waited until they passed & called for the birds. Hell of a sight & not something to be forgotten. Dog front footed the marks & ran a nice 3 or 4 whistle blind.
The original poster didn't use it as an excuse because the dog was ready & focused. The gallery groaning joined the thread later.
Personally, I HATE chit chat as either a handler or judge. Not so much because of dog distraction but from a time management standpoint.
I once timed the average time wasted per dog by two particularly chatty Master judges who b.s.’ed with every handler both coming and going (and many were running multiple dogs), the marshal, the gallery, etc. and calculated they delayed the whole test almost 6.5 hours over the course of the weekend. We finished on a Sunday just after lunch, so they cost everyone there a night at the hotel.
Judges, gallery, bird boys, gunners . . . . all can talk as much as they want when I'm at the line. Just don't expect an answer! :D I go into a cone of silence and am not even aware of sound or action outside of the test in front of me. I have been surprised by this at times, when the dog heard or saw something I didn't, but usually they are just as "in the moment" as I am.
I try to stay focused and not let the chatter bother me. I did have one notable negitive experience though. I ran Biscuit and HaM in an open several years ago. Both dogs to the fourth series which ment I went to the line eight times. ... each and every time the senior judge was on his cell phone! I've not forgotten that!!!