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Old 10-07-2008, 08:14 PM
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Default What do you do when a judge is wrong? Formal Complaint?

I don't mean that you disagree on a pass or fail, or a Q or NQ..

Longish story that I'm trying to condense..

Dekka and I went to a Rally/ Ob trial where we met Kayla and Roxy's CD. Dekka and I competed in Advanced Rally O. In CARO Rally, there are food bowls (called offset figure 8). I was not aware, but it is the judge who has to provide the bowls, not the club. I entered 2 rounds, Dekka entered all three. Both rounds I entered were under one judge, in the same ring.

In the rally rules for that exercise description and faults it states
Quote:
A hail screen wire cover is placed over the food bowls to prevent a dog who breaks heel position from being rewarded by eating the treats.
The other trials I've been to had hardware cloth (metal mesh) on the bowls bent under them to prevent an oops. I've heard of saran wrap being used at a trial last weekend. Apparently it went well, and no dog punctured it.

The judge in the other ring had that same set up. This judge had a piece of nylon or plastic mesh the size of the interior diameter of the bowl that could be picked up, and a small piece of paper over that..

Round One Cider did three stations with me left me for the food bowls that were nearby, managed to snarf something out of the bowl but came when I called (she was visibly chewing). We did well after that oops.. and managed 1st place.

I didn't realize she'd learned in that moment you can self reward. Round Two we did 3/4 of the course well, and when we hit the bowls she didn't just snuffle, she mowed right down. I freaked out a bit and called her loudly twice in a tone many people told me after was inappropriate and I should know better.

The club who put on the trial ended up confronting the judge as Cider isn't the only dog who managed to self-reward out of those bowls. In the end we Q'd, first time we haven't placed and got a talking to after the ribbons. Judge kept saying the bowls were secure. If she believed that, we should have NQ'd no matter what the club said to her. I tried to put it behind us, we've worked on the exercise at home and we've never had the issues we are having now even at home, but we are and will work through it..

I went to competitive ob class last night. I didn't realize it, but my trainer's younger dog had the same thing happen at that trial under that judge and many people had complained to the club. I thought it was more isolated an incident.. She tried to trial this past weekend and her dog won't leave the food bowls alone so back to basics for her too.

There's a trial in November close to home I planned to enter. By a stroke of horrible luck she is one of the judges again.. 2 excellent rounds by her, only one by another judge. Ob trainer says not to enter under her ever again. I sort of am now leaning that way too. Or emailing the trial secretary to ask about bowls.. The club this happened at though had sent a reminder to both judges about their bowls.. so I guess it doesn't matter.

So after this horribly long post is the question I have. Would you make a formal complaint? If it's the judge's responsibility to bring appropriate bowls and coverings.. than she dropped the ball. I was told the judge's handbook says such, but it's not readable online..

Do you drop it harbour bad thoughts about her and avoid her and hope she quits getting so many local assignments?

Nothing like this has ever happened before. While I've trialled for over a year I'm still a baby in this world. I'm not sure if they'd even care if people made formal complaints. I'm not sure how it works.
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  #2  
Old 10-07-2008, 08:48 PM
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Thats tough. If it was me personally, I probably just wouldn't enter under that judge again. Although it *is* a training issue on your part, it was her faulty equipment that allowed your dog self-reinforcement.

If you have already entered under this judge at a different trial, go ahead and go. Walk the course and when you get to the food bowls, bend down and mess with them. If you can show the judge that its faulty and dogs can easily get food out then she may have to switch bowls before allowing anyone to run the course. Best case scenario, that happens... OR the bowls are OK and you feel safe running your dog. Worst case, the bowl is faulty, she isn't forced to fix it and you just pull your dog.
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Old 10-07-2008, 09:15 PM
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I fully agree it's a training issue, though we had gotten past it at home, and at fun matches. It seemed resolved. Now I'm wondering how long it will take to undo this. Sadly not enough fun matches around to make sure it's better proofed than ever.

I haven't entered that trial yet. The premium just went up in the last 2-3 days. I guess I'll just not enter under her ever again. Makes me cranky as I was hoping to do all three rounds there. Guess I'll try to do novice with Smudge and an excellent round with Cider under the other judge. We trialled under her before. She actually has cockers and was very nice.

Guess I'm more cranky now than ever to hear that a lot of dogs self rewarded out of those bowls and we now all have the same problem, including people who have put an amazing amount of training on their dogs and I look up to them. They usually have near flawless rounds. I strive to get to where they are.
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Old 10-08-2008, 12:04 AM
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I am not a Rally person... but if you feel strongly I would complain. Yes its a training issue, BUT you can't control what happens in the ring. Its not like you can go to competitions and train. Dekka has a fabulous leave it at home, she doesn't look at food bowls even if they are holding steak and there is no mesh.

Just about every dog in that ring got food from those bowls that day.... I am sure you will not be the only one CARO hears from.
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Old 10-08-2008, 09:07 AM
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I am curious, can you 'off' or 'leave it' to the dog? I figure you can considering it's Rally but............
MP, that sucks in my opinion, if the judge didn't follow the rules and it cost the dogs, then they should be made accountable or someone should ensure that the same mistake doesn't happen again in the future.
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Old 10-08-2008, 09:54 AM
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Yeah you can do either or both. I did, but then Cider already knew she could eat out of the bowl so it didn't matter. Our leave it is usually pretty good.

If you say it more than once and the dog doesn't comply you get dinged 3 marks per re-command. If the dog is complying you can repeat what you want like good dog good leave it very nice leave it, perfect keep leaving it. I don't do that.. As apparently you could do that for heeling too.

I just need to reproof them at a fun match after more work on them here.. There is apparently one at Pausntrain in near future.

Kerri thinks I should email the trial secretary for the next trial and tell her briefly what happened and ask if they will do something to ensure the bowls will be proper.
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Old 10-08-2008, 06:46 PM
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I bit the bullet. I emailed them. I picked the email abotu judging issues, which goes to a person's email rather than a CARO account. It was long winded, but I tried to stress I just want it fixed so that in future it will never have the possibility of re-occuring for anyone.

I actually got a reply within the hour, it's going to the executive committee where they can decide what to do about it. Re-ammend the handbook, send judges a note, etc.

I feel better about it now as I got the ball rolling. Thank you for reading my rant
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Old 10-09-2008, 11:57 AM
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personally, i just wouldnt show to that judge.

even if there is food there, a dog should be well trained enough to avoid it - if all the "well trained" dogs fell for it, my thought would be that they weren't that well trained. when i am in the ring or when i am at a show n go, match, etc, i proof my dog for food in the ring or on the floor. my dog is trained to ignore his toys, his db (When we aren't using it - this is the hardest one of all, because that is what he wants), etc- its a training issue. just last week we did fig8's with the poeple acting as posts taking my dogs actual tug toys and moving them around at his eye level - and my dogs appropriate reaction was - work harder and reward will come! his attention got better, and he was rewarded in the end with being able to get his tug. Nothing like a jute in your face as a distraction on the inner post!

it sucks that it happens, but its a training issue. i wouldnt show under her, and id let the club know so they dont hire that judge before, but take it as a note that the dogs need more training.

but that is just me.
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Old 10-09-2008, 01:54 PM
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I wait for them to leave and then jack them up as they walk to their car.

"give my dog bad scores m'fer? I'll show you what a bad score feels like." thump thump thump and then the whoosh of my stave teaching them a lesson they wont soon forget.
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Old 10-09-2008, 02:53 PM
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Not as a Rally judge, but as a JRT judge in several events, one of the things we do at events is to either post the rules, or have them available.

Equipment has to be checked over before a trial event to ensure conformance to the rules, and also keeping safety of the dogs in mind. Equipment is forever being modified, changed, and improved to make it safer for the dogs, better for the handlers, and more consistent in how it is used.

In a situation like yours, the fact that covers came off when they are supposed to be non removable has defeated the purpose of the exercise. Having a person control a reward (such as the people holding tug toys in the figure 8) is a different issue than having a mechanical barrier that fails. Once the mechanical barrier fails, there is no other deterrent other than the handler's voice. When a person (beyond the handler) is involved, the dog senses that for one, also if the dog does make a move, the person can move/retract the item, as well as use verbal and other gestures to dissuade the dog from the item.

In my opinion, as soon as the first dog (whether it was yours or someone elses) was able to access the food, the trial should have halted, and either other bowls/guards setup, or that exercise removed, or whatever. The reason we go to trials is to 'test' the dog and handler, not everyone can be perfect everytime, when there is a lapse of any sort, it should not be self rewarding like this was.
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