SHOULD JUDGES HAVE TO BE RE-CERTIFIED?
We Asked Judges/Handlers Their Thoughts AKC Re-Certification
During the last decade, we have prodded AKC into initiating new procedures. We asked handlers, judges, and breeders about re-certifying judges in 1996 because no one is better qualified to answer than you who "observe" the judges. In 2002, four years later, we asked a few more people.
It is now 2008 and another four years have gone by. The time may be right to ask again. How do you feel about re-certification of judges? Some have proposed a confidential AKC poll of prominent breeders and well known handlers closely associated with the breed for which that judge has been recently licensed.
For instance, AKC could now send out a simple form in which respondents would rate several judges one-to-ten in areas such as: clearness of instructions, consistency in procedure, fairness, understanding of breed type, method of examination, and consistency in applying the breed standard. Queries would be returned anonymously so as to encourage candid response. What do you think? Click Here to let us know but keep your answers short and please put YES or NO in the subject line.
NINA WORK said “I don't know .... if you get breeders that don't show, those that just have other people show their dogs, I think you might get less mixed emotions or reports. Like if you ask me about a judge that had just beat me, I might not think they did such a good job but maybe I wasn’t being impartial. I said to someone said last week, ‘ ---- did a fair job but my dog should’ve won.’ I’m not saying my dog was totally correct but the other dog was big and ugly.
The theory might work if there’s a way they could pick people that maybe just attend shows and watch. I don’t really know how you can do that.”
CLAY COADY “Well, there’s no doubt that there are some judges who are not qualified for certain breeds. The problem is that there are also some people not really qualified to decide if the judges are qualified or not. It would be real hard you know - to ask someone who’s not really qualified to observe judges without sometimes letting personalities be involved. They might just dislike someone’s judging because they didn’t win.”
We agreed that AKC would have to be careful about whose opinion would be valid and how to properly evaluate the overall feedback on a judge.
Clay summed up, “ I think any judge, even an All Breed judge, has to go out and continually study the breeds that they judge. It’s a complicated question.”
DARYL MARTIN “Where they would have a few people give an opinion? I could see where it wouldn’t be like a testing ground but I see no reason why certain people, whether they be judge, handler, or breeder, shouldn’t be asked, so as to get a rounded opinion on whether they feel a person did a good job, whether they are being consistent, or if they even know what they are doing.
“There are people who get into another Group but sometimes are really not comfortable doing it. Of course I feel it takes judges probably several times of doing a new breed or Group until they get comfortable.
“I don’t think there’s enough discussion in our system today. Every time there is discussion, it’s always a negative, always with a defensive view. We lack in communication because in the dog world, people are overly defensive.”
ANDY LINTON “I think that dog show judging is just like the Olympics gymnastics judging. It’s so subjective, it’s opinion, so it’ll never be consistent. It will never be like watching somebody cross the finish line, knowing they are in second or third place.
“So I think basically, everything is okay just the way it is. I think very few standards are real defined and clear-cut and therefore how can the judge be expected to have an absolute, clear-cut picture in his mind. It’s impossible.”
SUSAN VROOM though for a moment, then replied “Hmmm, re-certifying judges much as doctors or airline pilots have to go for re-certification? I think in a way exhibitors are the process because as time goes on, whether judges are hired and whether they draw an entry is a rectification by the fancy at large.
“AKC at the present, is of the opinion that once they deem a judge knowledgeable enough to judge a breed, they remain knowledgeable for the rest of their judging career. I don’t think it’s possible for someone to be a wonderful judge of say, Boxers and ten years down the road become a bad judge of Boxers. I think it’s a case of whether they ever got it or they didn’t.
Some judges are obviously just good. They have the knack; they have the art.
“I think to reassess knowledge is good and will need to be addressed when the judge decides to apply for other breeds. Lots of people are good at judging Huskies but will never be wonderful with Oriental breeds. Sometimes it happens that judges move away from their knowledge base, they become over-extended.
There are different motivations. I had the wife of a husband-wife judging team say to me that she was going to go ahead and apply for dogs in XXX Group because it was nice to be hired with her husband who was approved for XXX Group and this way, they could travel together.
That to me is not the right motivation for wanting to judge those breeds. But you find that a lot, judges who love to do the Arctic breeds all of a sudden finding themselves doing guarding breeds, whatever, because in order to be salable to the show giving club, they have to do the whole Group.”
“I have always felt that a Judges Review Board was in order with the AKC. Let’s say he has been approved to do Akitas. For the first five years he’s monitored and was drawing 80 Akitas for the first year, and then 50 the second year, and now he is in his fifth year and he can’t even draw a one point entry. What’s going on? That means that he never really got it to begin with.
The first couple of years you enter under somebody because you don’t really know, but then if he’s not good, you begin to skip him. So that’s a pretty good indicator.
Has he done a Regional or National?
Do the breed people want him or do they run screaming?
A poll, whatever.....
A Judges Review Board sounds better.”
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