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Hello RTF,
Let me preface this by thanking everyone who has judged a retriever event. It is a completely thankless job. Sure you get a round of applause at the ribbon ceremony and a gift. But you give up a chance to run your own dogs and are subject to the Monday RTF bus running over you. Backing up and doing it again. You are appreciated and we all could not play our games without you.
Now....
There is a thread not too far below this one. It started with the best of intentions and quickly degraded into gobbledygook. With a couple well known RTF personalities proclaiming they are friends with judges with a lot of points. Well, honestly I am not impressed.
I have sat on a lot of event committees over the years. I have asked a lot of people to judge. Let me tell you. Every committee starts wanting the best judges that they can get. A wish list is made. The letters/ emails are composed. People start saying no. The event date starts to creep up. The committee starts to get desperate. No longer are they looking for the best. Now you are looking for anyone with a pulse to sit in the chair.
My mentor in all this was a wonderful field trial person named Betsy. She taught me how to always write a letter or email. Never call. Because a phone call puts the person on the spot yes or no. But a letter sits on the desk like an unpaid bill and lets them think about it. She taught me how to do the random draw on the kitchen table long before we had entry express. She always had our field trial judges two or three years in advance. She counseled me "beware of the eager judge!". The judge with an enormous amount of points. No matter the venue. Is not always the best. It just means that they say yes a lot. They may no longer have a dog to run. They may have dogs with professional trainers running them. They may be husbands or wives of the primary trainers of the household.
But the large number of points does not always equal greatness. It just means that they like to sit in the chair.
So when making an argument and stating you are friends with someone with X number points. Who cares?
Tell me about the qualifications of the dogs they have handled or trained. That will put the proof in the pudding!
 

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I believe it was 'friends' with judges with lots of judging points ...

--- page 3 of the 'traditions at the national am' thread
It is all my fault.
I mentioned a conversation with a training friend which was immediately (and bizarrely) interpreted as being about judges picking favorites and experienced former national judges "reaming" people.

I am blessed with having a number of experienced field trial competitors to train with. I appreciate their contributions to the sport which are not limited to judging many trials over the years. Never heard any of them lead off a conversation about how many judge points they have.

There is a lot that goes into being a good FT judge. IMO one of, if not the most important credentials is successfully training your own dogs.

Doing some work tomorrow with the experienced judge I referred to. Trying to think of a polite way to tell him he doesn't know what he is talking about.🙁
 

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Yeah, watch out for those judges with a lot of points. There's obviously something bad going on there....:cautious:

Betsy was a friend of mine and a person I have a lot of respect for. I miss her. She was always very generous to me. I stayed at her house a few times while judging for your club, and she always made me feel at home. -Paul
 

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Yeah, watch out for those judges with a lot of points. There's obviously something bad going on there....:
I would probably qualify as one of those even though I have no idea how many, I quit counting at 8 which was forty years ago. I rarely have judged more than two a year and never more than three and there have been years, that because of choice or lack of invitation, I haven’t judged at all. My point total is nothing more than an educated guess and acquired by tenure not choice but I have run infinitely more all age stakes than I have judged probably by a factor of 10X or more. I am acquainted with people who I consider quality judges who know their total number of judging points. A long departed and unnamed judge from years ago claimed to have 140+ judging points. He was a nice man and was generally considered to be one of the worst judges in the country. Judging for me has never been desired or considered fun but rather an obligation however I have had numerous judging experiences that I considered pleasant and enjoyable generally due to good grounds, a good cojudge, and good weather. The absence of any one of the three can make for an unpleasant weekend.
 

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Good perspectives. I have learned a lot about things over the few years I have been trialing labs. It's an eye opener when you are discussing judges between AA series with those that have judged and have very successful dogs. Especially if from a different circuit and get information of real experiences of running under some whom you think are good. We all have weaknesses. We need to use the rule book, put dogs and handlers first in them having tough but fare marks and blinds. That is where we need to put ego aside and judge.

I look forward to running or ,hopefully, judging with some of you. :)

Jeff G
 

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I often hear of bad judges but I am not yet experienced enough to really have a great perspective. I realize there are numerous things that could make a judge not great, but generally speaking, is there a common denominator in what makes a judge bad? I realize it could many things or maybe just one thing? But I usually hear it's mostly related to poor setups?

Setting up poor tests?
Poor decision making with callbacks?
Lack of knowledge of the rule book?
Just not a pleasant person?
I know it could be any or all of the above as well?
 

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Setting up poor tests?
Poor decision making with callbacks?
Lack of knowledge of the rule book?
Just not a pleasant person?
I know it could be any or all of the above as well?
All of those things.
Another would be;
Someone with a predetermined idea of who will win and place.
A judge flipping through the event program before or as the dogs run is not a good sign.
 
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I often hear of bad judges but I am not yet experienced enough to really have a great perspective. I realize there are numerous things that could make a judge not great, but generally speaking, is there a common denominator in what makes a judge bad? I realize it could many things or maybe just one thing? But I usually hear it's mostly related to poor setups?

Setting up poor tests?
Poor decision making with callbacks?
Lack of knowledge of the rule book?
Just not a pleasant person?
I know it could be any or all of the above as well?
I will take incompetent and honest over skilled and crooked any day. Bad to me means results inconsistent with the work be it call backs and/or results.
 

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In the hunt test world a good judge passes your dog. A bad judge fails your dog.
If you listen to the gallery, the judges are the only people on the grounds that know nothing about HTs!o_O
 
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All of those things.
Another would be;
Someone with a predetermined idea of who will win and place.
A judge flipping through the event program before or as the dogs run is not a good sign.
Interesting--I didn't know field trial judges could look at the trial catalog. The AKC prohibits conformation bench show judges from even carrying a catalog, let alone consulting/reading one. An AKC conformation judge cannot look at a catalog until his/her judging assignment for the day is completed. Of course, that doesn't prevent them from putting up the well-known pro handler exhibiting the dog who is backed by a $25,000 per year advertising/travel/handling budget because those dogs with their handlers are advertised in show dog magazines. Those magazines are sent free to all AKC licensed judges. :)

Ah, well, if you understand how the game is played, you can choose whether to play or not, correct? :)
 

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Interesting--I didn't know field trial judges could look at the trial catalog. The AKC prohibits conformation bench show judges from even carrying a catalog, let alone consulting/reading one. An AKC conformation judge cannot look at a catalog until his/her judging assignment for the day is completed. Of course, that doesn't prevent them from putting up the well-known pro handler exhibiting the dog who is backed by a $25,000 per year advertising/travel/handling budget because those dogs with their handlers are advertised in show dog magazines. Those magazines are sent free to all AKC licensed judges. :)

Ah, well, if you understand how the game is played, you can choose whether to play or not, correct? :)
I always have a catalog when I judge, it helps me to remember dog’s performances and when I am out of area it helps me to identify people I do not know. Any judge who chooses to be dishonest does not need a catalog to identify the people they are for or against, they already know.
 

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In the history of FTs, any estimates on how many dogs got cheated?
At the end of the day, I'm guessing not many.

Same in HTs.
 

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In the history of FTs, any estimates on how many dogs got cheated?
At the end of the day, I'm guessing not many.

Same in HTs.
I’ve run more FT than HT. I have always known why I have been dropped in FT but in HT I have had questionable calls, with others affirming my questioning. One of the reasons given has been the judges trying to determine what the dog was “thinking”.
 

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Tell me about the qualifications of the dogs they have handled or trained.
Experience with dogs in the field is considered one of the desirable traits of any judge of performance dog sports by the rule book.

due to good grounds, a good co-judge, and good weather. The absence of any one of the three can make for an unpleasant weekend.
Amen - so posts the winner of the largest number of dogs trained by family 1963-2008.
2,200 judges, 6,500 dogs - Derby pelts included - Dr Ed over 60 dogs with pelt.
Guess where that leaves a lot of the judges?

A judge flipping through the event program before or as the dogs run is not a good sign.
I always look at the program for the following: In the AA stakes: How many dogs have a title & run early?
In the Derby: How many dogs are 18 months or older in the 1st 15 entrants? Stood my co-judge & I very
well in a very large Derby with an opening single: Off a dike, Through a ditch, with enough space for dogs
to run around behind the guns. Year 1974 - That field included McGuffy & Watergator Sam who placed @
10 months of age. Ebony Argonaut won!

In the history of FTs, any estimates on how many dogs got cheated?
Trust me, LOTS!

As for pelts - I am the only person who was also a judge have garnered an equal number of pelts in
both AA stakes & the Derby. While my accomplishment as a trapper are dwarfed by Dr Ed, they still
rank in the top 10% of those who judged during that time. Any number of judging points over 50 would
be unusual without the resultant number of pelts unless one was really dedicated to the sport.
 

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I will look at the catalog for judging a Q more so than other stakes. I have found the quality of dogs(and handlers) varies the most in Q. I could have 20 dogs that are already QAA or 20 that are barely senior level and I want a good first series without loosing too many dogs. Derbies and all-age stakes I find a more predictable quality.
Judging experience IMHO is important beyond the # of points. Recent experience in both the minor and major stakes shows a judge that knows were a dog has been and where it is headed. Longevity in judging is also a consideration. I believe there is a difference in a judge acquiring 8 points in 1 year vs 8 points over 4-5 years.

But the most important is the ability to tell time.


tim
 

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I always have a catalog when I judge, it helps me to remember dog’s performances and when I am out of area it helps me to identify people I do not know. Any judge who chooses to be dishonest does not need a catalog to identify the people they are for or against, they already know.
I'll edit this... the tall guy and I talked about this specific topic before he passed and an experience I had with a judge who had the catalog by his side during callbacks.

I do not think a catalog has any place in a judges protocol. I believe the conformation rule should carry over to field trials. I watched judges open the book and discuss breeding tendencies. I've also been co judge to one who talked about the importance of knowing the dogs names and important property owners. I think it is without question something that should not be used.

When judging you should make notes of what happens on the line and in the field. You should never ever be noting the individual whom owns the dog or, referencing the dog name, owner name, accomplishments, property owned and or reputation as a trialer.

You do not need a dogs name to remember. You should draw a picture and take good notes. If you write down people's names you have bias.
 

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I will look at the catalog for judging a Q more so than other stakes. I have found the quality of dogs(and handlers) varies the most in Q. I could have 20 dogs that are already QAA or 20 that are barely senior level and I want a good first series without loosing too many dogs. Derbies and all-age stakes I find a more predictable quality.
Judging experience IMHO is important beyond the # of points. Recent experience in both the minor and major stakes shows a judge that knows were a dog has been and where it is headed. Longevity in judging is also a consideration. I believe there is a difference in a judge acquiring 8 points in 1 year vs 8 points over 4-5 years.

But the most important is the ability to tell time.


tim
So, by looking at the catalog you determine the quality of the field running without judging them? Does this apply to your method of determining a derby stake and finishing it at a specialty too?
 
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