By and For People Who Shape The Sport Of Dogs







Dealing With Irate Exhibitors

How Do Judges Handle Angry Exhibitors?


When the dog isn't awarded, some exhibitors, even professional handlers, take it personal. These judges understand and even though they were not prepped in any way, they were as unruffled in thier replies to our reporter as they would be to a confrontational exhibitor.


 said very seriously, “I don’t have too many anymore. I think word has gotten out that I don’t tolerate it. When a few handlers saw me call a bench committee on a judge that was exhibiting, that did it. It shouldn’t be tolerated.


"I, as an exhibitor, am at a show almost every single weekend of my life unless there’s some emergency, and I have never been rude to a judge. Anybody that comes out of the ring without a smile even though you’d like to kick tires should learn to practice self-control and good manners."



 with typical good humor, replied, “I would not take it. Nobody pays me enough to deal with an irate exhibitor any more than I used to deal with irate clients. If I had a client that wanted to be hard to get along with, I just would inform them they needed a new handler. There were a number of them that got “fired” and then wanted to know if I would take them back and I’d say, if you’ve learned your lesson, then Yes.


"I don’t think there’s enough money in this world to take abuse from people unless you deserve it and (big chuckle) I never found I deserved it!”



reached for the hypothetical, “Well, I would try to talk with them and try to find out what their problem is. If they would like, I’m always happy to evaluate their dog for them. I’ve been very lucky, I’ve not had very many irate exhibitors, and I don’t know whether that’s because I keep pretty busy, or whether it’s that I try to talk with people if they want to talk.


"In fact just this last weekend, I had two different people bring dogs back to the ring and we went over them and talked about them. I don’t mind doing that, if I have time, you know, if it doesn’t hold my judging up.”



 said with emphasis, “I’ve never had an irate exhibitor. However, I try to be kind of a no-nonsense person when I judge. I try to be courteous and polite to every exhibitor, I try to give every dog its time, and I believe and hope that they are treating me the same.


"I hope they understand that it is a serious process we judges are doing and that we demand respect. I once had an exhibitor who snatched the ribbon out of my hand, it was a fourth place ribbon and it took me completely off guard. No sense in that.”


 was her delightfully succinct self. “This is an answer that could mess you up but I’ve never had any. I really haven’t. In the years that I’ve been judging I have not had any problems. I certainly hope that doesn’t change.”



 chuckled “I haven’t had to deal with irate exhibitors. Believe me, I don’t believe in things out of control. I think a judge has to be in control of his ring. Not only the judging part but to handle everything that’s going on in the ring, like if an exhibitor is running up on another exhibitor, I think it’s the judge’s problem - it is not the exhibitor’s problem to make that person get under control. For example, a dog ran up on another dog but I was prepared for it.


“I hope exhibitors realize that judges talk to each other, have dinner, you know, and if an exhibitor does something like that once, they’ll probably do it again and the judges pretty much know who they are.”



quipped “To be very honest with you, I’ve never dealt with one, never had anybody like that. Oh I’ve had somebody walk by and say ‘well that isn’t what I’d put up’, but I don’t pay any attention to that. I have yet to have anyone come up with an argument or something like ‘well, I believe otherwise.’



 thought a moment and then said “I don’t know that I’ve had anyone that has shown emotions that openly. I may hear feedback later on or be asked an opinion but I don’t know that I’ve heard anything at the time I’m actually in the position of judge.”



 gave it sincere consideration, “I think that the judge has to realize that the reason someone might be irate is because they’ve lost. At the moment they are very emotionally wrought up and I think first of all, you have to be polite. A judge has to be polite but I also think that you should be firm in your conviction and you should always have a reason for whatever placements you make.


"You should not be afraid to give these reasons but the one thing a judge should never do is to fall into the trap of talking about another exhibit. You don’t talk about the other one - you only talk to that person about their exhibit.” EST 2005

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