Fri, 10/14/2022 - 4:50pm

My Views

Good or bad, Johnny Shoemaker is entitled to them

I think everyone should have the right to their opinion, and if they wish to express it, that is fine also. I do not talk politics or religion, but lots of my views are on the sport of dogs and what I like or dislike.

I believe, from a longtime breeder and exhibitor’s point of view, that no judge should judge an NOHS group unless they judge the regular group as well. Let me explain my reasoning. If we have to go through all these tests and earn CEUs to learn the breed and be approved to judge that breed and group … why on earth does the AKC think that judges could be educated on breeds that they do not judge?

When I walk into an NOHS group that I do not judge the regular group, I get nervous, as I have not studied the breeds in that group. How does it make the exhibitors feel to be judged by a someone who does not have the same knowledge or education on those breeds as a judge who judges that group?

I do not think it is fair to the exhibitors in those groups. I am now putting in my contract that I will not judge any NOHS group for which I do not judge the regular group. I believe that all judges should do that, too. These NOHS exhibitors are entitled to have judges who are qualified to judge those groups. That is my opinion, and I am sticking to it.

I also believe that a judge should take time with a new exhibitor. Take time with them and give them some pointers on what to do in the ring, even to the point of telling them how to hold the lead. Table dogs should get extra time to let the new exhibitor stack the dog correctly, as it is so important to that new exhibitor. I believe that a judge can detect when a person is new to our sport. So you have a time period of 25 dogs an hour. I do not care. Take the time to make sure that new exhibitors — and even all of the not-so-new exhibitors — have a good and enjoyable time in the ring. You may get behind a little, but you most likely will make it up due to absentees. In my 56 years in this sport, I have seen so many judges just go through the process of judging without ever smiling or talking to the exhibitors … WHY? This is not a good way to judge … judge the dog, and most of all have a good time and the exhibitor will surely appreciate it. 

I also will say “hello” to an exhibitor and smile and laugh with them. JUDGES ARE NOT CROOKS! I have no friends or enemies in the ring: All are equal. Judge the dog and not who is on the other side of the lead … for goodness’ sake. I can laugh and talk with an exhibitor and give them a second or third or fourth place or no place at all … and still have no problem with talking to them afterward.

I believe that any breeder, exhibitor, handler or anyone who, with any time in a breed, should always be a mentor to a new person in that breed. Teach them about the breed standard and health testing for that breed. Also, one other important thing: Teach them about pedigrees, for goodness’ sake. Be there for them and help them at shows. Show them how to show that breed and what is so important in that breed. That will encourage that new person in your breed to breed good and healthy dogs and that person will know who to talk to.

Encourage new exhibitors by introducing them to other exhibitors who can help them better understand that breed. It is best for that new exhibitor to know other people’s knowledge of that breed and reach out to them with any questions.

Why do clubs join a cluster when they know there are going to be so many shows, like seven or eight, in that cluster? I know there most likely is a day off in between the shows, but that is not the point. Think about the dogs for goodness’ sake. Handlers and exhibitors should choose which shows they are going to and not make themselves and the dogs exhausted for the sake of points or getting their dog high in the rating systems.

Why do judges judge every weekend? Are you not tired of going between airports and hotels every weekend? Do you do it for the money? I understand … but your health and enjoyment of the dog shows are more important. If you have dogs at home, do you not miss them when you are gone so much? I have been guilty of that, but I now will look more closely at my judging calendar to make sure this does not happen. I certainly appreciate the clubs that call and ask me if I can judge for them … but my health and enjoyment of judging are more important to me, and I believe that the exhibitors will appreciate it also. Ask the club if they will put you down to judge for them the following year. Most will say yes.

I think that is it for the time being … but I am sure I will have more opinions and views on judging and more about the sport of dogs. Thank you for reading this — and, agree or disagree, I will still like you and respect your opinion.        



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