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Discussion Starter #1
I handled Mesa for the first time at a show in mid October. She's been in 3 other shows but has always been handled by a pro. I've been taking lessons with her for a few months and since our regular handler wasn't going to be at this show I decided to do it.

I am never going to do it again.

The judge gave me an instruction as he was examining her that I misunderstood. Rather than explain himself he chose to make a very sarcastic and demeaning remark that was completely unnecessary. He could see that I was a very nervous newbie but rather than be kind and make this a fun time with my dog he had me almost in tears. (Later I saw him be charming and lovely to a junior handler so I know he has it in him.)

When we came out of the ring, the woman who had been after me said she couldn't believe how rude he'd been to me.

The next day the judge was the wife of the original judge. She wasn't nearly as nasty, but she was also mean. Her target wasn't me. It was one of the other dogs, but it was still surprising and disappointing.

Are AKC judges frequently like this?

If they are then I don't see the need to subject myself to this again. It's really too bad because I put in a lot of time learning what I could and I was enjoying it.
 

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That's too bad you had such a negative experience. Maybe try again if you and the dogs are both still having fun learning.
 

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No they usually aren't but I wouldn't stop showing it's a learning experience and showing your dog is fun. Maybe pray for a different judge next time :):) I show ACA conformation and the judges are really nice but when I was younger I showed for AKC I don't remember the judges ever being rude. I do remember wanting you to know what's going on. Everyone gets nervous their first go around. I would give it another try!! :):):)

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Are AKC judges frequently like this?
Absolutely not. Yes there are some old crooners that should have retired long ago and those who are clearly stroking their ego with every ribbon they hand out. But IME a kind smile goes a long way to help break through any crusty exterior and help give you at least a slight advantage of their sympathy or kindness. Making small talk with the ring stewards also helps, if they feel the judge is in a bad mood or being unreasonable with the exhibits they will step in and remind the judge how to properly conduct themselves. Since you already have a pro handler that you use you should be able to consult with them on which judges are worth you showing to. They should know which judges will prefer your style of dog and whos opinion is not worth the time of day.
 

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Right now, you're hurt and angry. Give it some time to allow these
feelings to subside. Don't deprive yourself of doing what you enjoy
because of one bad character.

It's not right that someone, much less a judge, made you feel this
way at a competition. Shame on him.
 

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so sorry for that experience... Major was a square GSD in the hay day of the extreme ski slopes.. 3 times out of 16 that I showed I was dismissed from the ring or instructed to move to the end of all the dogs, right after I entered the ring with everyone .. Make room for the dogs the Judge rather see. I took it in stride. Even one judge that sent me to the end at the start, apologized to me that she didn't like Major but it was a beautiful performance do keep showing together. .. You learn and gain experience. Always had a blast with Major and we got to dress up and brush our hair lol lol lol lol .... Hugs.... you will do great... 13 times Major went best opposite or winners dog... :) <3
 

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I'm sorry that happened. I've never had a judge really be rude or mean in the ring and I'm a newbie (starting last year and always handling/grooming my own standard poodle). However the dog world is NOT at all for the faint of heart, but it's usually the people you know and trust that are the ones that stab you in the back and put you down, not the judges!
 

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Sorry that happened! It is not the norm and I wouldn't let those experiences stop you from handling your own dog. Most AKC judges aren't what I would call "friendly", but I haven't had an experience where they were outright rude. What exactly did he say that was rude?
 

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Maybe give feedback to the event organizers. They have options for which judges to bring in, and if a judge is behaving in a way that is likely to reduce future participation, that's not someone they're going to want to ask back.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for all of the encouragement.

What happened was after we all went around the first time together, he came up to Mesa to examine her and said to me "straighter her up". I thought he wanted me to restack her, so I started to do that. Apparently he didn't like the direction she was standing and wanted me to swing her butt more toward me. Instead of saying that he said, "Why don't you just pretend like you're in a dog show and do it right?", with a lot of sarcasm in his voice. It sounds so minor now but it was really awful at the time.

I know 2 other people who had him for their first judge who also had bad experiences and who will never show again. He actually told one woman, who said to him that this was her first time handling, that she was going to ruin her dog.

I take things very much to heart and when I set out to do something I do the best I can, so this really took the wind out of my sails. I'm going to take the winter off from going to any shows and I may try again in the spring. We'll see.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I'm sorry that happened. I've never had a judge really be rude or mean in the ring and I'm a newbie (starting last year and always handling/grooming my own standard poodle). However the dog world is NOT at all for the faint of heart, but it's usually the people you know and trust that are the ones that stab you in the back and put you down, not the judges!

This is SO true. I've been completely appalled by some people.
 

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There are a lot of people that judge/participate in dog sports/showing/etc that are not very good at being decent toward people. I've gotten nasty people in just about every dog thing I've participated in.

AKC Conformation definitely has a bit of that in my opinion. I truly believe the attitudes towards newbies is the biggest reason the "sport" has decreased in numbers. It isn't always necessarily the judges... but the professional handlers as well. You'll kinda have to get a feel for the more friendly judges, people and clubs and stick with those (even in agility I have to stay away from a few nasty clubs!!). I've showed in UKC, which is an overall MUCH newbie friendlier atmosphere and was able to learn while competing without feeling inferior.

Not all your experiences will be bad and I'm very sorry this one was. Some clubs, some judges, some dog people.. really are just mean to other people for no real good reason. Others are fantastic, friendly, helpful etc. It really just depends.. but you will run into bad apples sometimes unfortunately. I would give it another try though under a different judge. Maybe ask a few breeders/show people which judges are newbie friendly in the area.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
A friend of mine that breeds long haired Chihuahuas has been trying to get me to join the UKC for that same reason. She keeps telling me how supportive and friendly they are.
 

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A friend of mine that breeds long haired Chihuahuas has been trying to get me to join the UKC for that same reason. She keeps telling me how supportive and friendly they are.
I would definitely try it out if they have competitions near you. It really is a great place to learn!

It is a completely different feeling than AKC dog shows in my experience. I watched a guy with a White GSD take BIS all week long dressed in attire suited for going out to play basketball. I told the judges I was new and they were definitely helpful and kind. My girl took a few BIS/RBIS (it's super awesome that I can actually show my spayed dog!) even though I wasn't even kinda perfect. There are no professional handlers allowed so it is a pretty even playing field. The only thing is you might not get competition in some breeds and the shows are a heck of a lot smaller. You can still easily get a CH as long as your dog beats out another dog (such as a group placing above another dog) a few times. I really had a lot of fun showing in it and plan to do it again with my next dog.
 

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Wow that's really awful. I have not experienced anything even close to that. I'm sorry that you went through that. Put him on your "Do Not Show" list and try again. There are lots of good judges out there.
 

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Mean people stink!
My first experience was in AKC Obedience Novice A. Judge is required to talk to all the Novice A handlers before they show in the ring. This fellow told us all this," Today you are all nervous about showing your dog in obedience in a dog show. There is a lot of really awful stuff going on out there in the world and you hear it every day. This is ONLY A DOG SHOW. It is NOT that important. Just do your best and HAVE FUN with your dog!"

I dropped the nerves and won the class.. my first time in the ring ever.. against 5 other dogs. I never forgot that judge's little speech.

Go out there again and remember what MY first judge said, not yours!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Mean people stink!
My first experience was in AKC Obedience Novice A. Judge is required to talk to all the Novice A handlers before they show in the ring. This fellow told us all this," Today you are all nervous about showing your dog in obedience in a dog show. There is a lot of really awful stuff going on out there in the world and you hear it every day. This is ONLY A DOG SHOW. It is NOT that important. Just do your best and HAVE FUN with your dog!"

I dropped the nerves and won the class.. my first time in the ring ever.. against 5 other dogs. I never forgot that judge's little speech.

Go out there again and remember what MY first judge said, not yours!!!
Thanks. I like that a lot.
 

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A good friend of mine who shows her Cardis in conformation says "sometimes dog people really aren't for human consumption." I always think of that when another show person acts like a jerk.
 
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