429 – Tough Talk on Big Questions

The Road to Center Stage (1)

Tough Talk on Big Questions: How To’s from Judges and AKC Rep

This is part two of our panel discussion on the “Road to Center Stage” featuring audience Q&A with AKC judges Brian Meyer and Sylvie McGee, and AKC Rep Bryan Martin.

How to approach judges with questions

Bryan Martin: “If you’re not proactive by knowing what your standard is, it’s harder to have the discussion. Most judges will enter into a discussion with you. Don’t go into the conversation with your hair on fire. Take time to calm down, come back, catch them on the judge’s down time. Don’t ask ‘why didn’t you like my dog.’”

How to learn from handlers

Bryan Martin: There’s nothing wrong, as an Owner Handler, to sit and watch a handler. Follow them all day. Ask them if you can sit out of the way and watch them trim. If you make an effort to ask, there isn’t a handler out there who won’t share. That helps the rapport of all the exhibitors.

How judges are reviewed by reps

Brian Meyer: I have no problem with the way it is set up now that you have a discussion. Everyone can learn from the discussion. Some of the people in the past in Brian’s position maybe came on a little harsh. If you have the best dog and you missed it, you left it out of the ribbons, then we maybe have a discussion, but we have a *discussion.*

How judges learn Rare Breeds

Sylvie McGee: To me it’s all an extension of talking about dogs. we want to have a deeper understanding of where your breed is coming from, where your breed is going, what you want your breed to be like.

How can judges prevent breed drift?

Sylvie McGee: We can only judge what you bring us. If your breed is going off the rails, we can still only judge what you bring us.

How to give and receive mentorship

Sylvie McGee, “If we are not good mentors, which means having difficult discussions with people in our own breed, this (breed drift) can happen.” Meyer added, “You have to read your own standard before you criticize. Know your standard well enough that you can say, ‘If I beat that dog, this guy doesn’t know anything.’”

Listen to part one here.


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