Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Back Trialing!

It is fun to be back trialing after being off about three months because of raising puppies.  Sinco is back - better than ever!  Feisty has even earned two double Qs!  Spring has moved out of AKC Novice.  I am focusing on AKC trials this Fall because I am trying to make a last minute effort to qualify Sinco for AKC Nationals.  She just moved into Excellent B in May before she had to take time off to have puppies.  We will see how it goes!

It has been fun to see my students trialing and to be able to help them out.  I have enjoyed doing two outdoor agility trials.  It is sad that outdoor agility trials are so few and far between anymore. 

It has been an interesting couple of weekends for a lot of reasons. It has been fun to see people I haven't seen in many months.  It is fun to watch dog and handler teams running agility.  It is interesting to watch novice classes and wonder why so many people trial there dogs before they are ready and they openly admit the dogs are not ready!

I have also been presented with some ethical dilemmas during these two weekends.  The first was a standard run under a judge who was under supervision.  My dog knocked a bar and the crowd groaned so I knew it happened while I was running.  Awhile later, after the class was almost done, I went over to see what my time was on that run.  It turned out that I was awarded a clean run and second place (which meant "multiplier points").  I asked to see my scribe sheet and there were no faults recorded.  I decided to go ask the judge about it and she could not recall whether she called it or not.  She said "agility gods give and take."  This is true however I did not feel right when it was a clear fault seen by many AND it was a placement that awarded extra points.  I asked her to take away the Q and she did.  What would you do?  Would it matter if it were for a MACH title? 

Then another incident happened where a dog missed the weave entry and had a beautiful rest of the run.  The handler didn't fix the weaves.  The judge didn't call anything - no one saw him call anything and exhibitors ran over to the handler to tell her that she had been given a "gift."  The judge proceeded to call faults on the next several dogs who made the same mistake.  The exhibitor talked to the judge about it and the judge said if people saw that he didn't call it then he would not change the clean scribe sheet.  What would you do?  What if it were for a MACH title?  What if it were for a placement that awarded extra points?

Many people said that one should just accept these gifts.  In my mind where the faults are visible to all and not just a judgment call such as a contact and the faults are not recorded then the judge should be made aware and the judge should decide how to handle it.  As a judge myself I want to know these things. I've judged places where I've had to constantly remind the scribe to watch me and not the dogs and I have sensed that they were missing calls on the sheets.  I would have to periodically go and look at the sheets during the class.  It is difficult being a judge and watching lots of runs all day long.  Things get missed, I know that.  It is hard on the other competitors when titles and placements are awarded on runs that should have been faulted. 

I have had things go in my favor - I knew that I didn't have a clean run with one dog and I never checked my scribe sheet or score.  I assumed it would have been recorded as an NQ.  Then weeks later a title arrived in the mail because of a Q that was awarded on that run.  I still felt badly about it.  I want my titles to be earned fair and square every time but I know that is not possible.

In the end we all have to live with ourselves and the decisions and choices we make in this world.  For me it is most important to be ethical and to be thoughtful of others, even if it means "nice guys finish last." 

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