“Don’t leave your common sense at home!” Unknown*
Last weekend I was judging some Working breeds. You know, the breeds where you never want to be caught in between two testosterone-filled dogs. In a couple of these breeds, I found the common sense of the handlers sorely lacking.
Overall, the dogs were great: trained and well-behaved. What struck me was the handlers. Now don’t think I differentiate between professionals or owner-handlers. I mean both! After successfully executing the down and back, a number of them got a few feet from me and promptly turned their dog in the direction of the next dog waiting in line. This meant that the judge, myself, was sandwiched in between two of these most awesome dogs. In the cases where I wasn’t sandwiched, the dogs were practically head to head. Now, even well-trained, well-mannered dogs coming face to face are given something to think about or at least instinctively react to, in just a split second.
Admittedly, I was impressed that the dogs were fine, but again, I found the common sense of these handlers totally absent. In several cases, I asked the handlers to swing the dogs around to face the other direction. Problem solved.
In a nutshell, use your common sense to keep the dogs safe, keep yourself safe, and from a judge’s perspective, keep the judge safe.
*I’m not sure who said this, but one person told me it was Mrs. Clark. I haven’t been able to attribute it to anyone, but she made so many quotable comments, I’ll give her this one too.