Breeds have been changed to protect the 'not so innocent.'
Handler tells Judge, "Oh, thank you so much for the breed win in Bichons and Maltese. I am sorry I can't show my Poodle to you today, the one you gave the breed and a group placement to last week, but my assistant Susie will have him in the ring for you" Handler proceeds to wave at Susie, Susie waves back while holding the Poodle, Judge smiles and waves back. Handler walks off your Poodle and goes off to show another breed. The only other Poodle in the ring is owner handled. Handler saw, and beat, the other dog yesterday, under different judge.
This judge could have avoided this by walking away and not even acknowledging the comment or at very least, made it look more appropriate and not looked at, or waved to, the assistant outside the ring. The judge should have been insulted by these comments as well. The Handler assumed that she could sway the judge, but it also implies that the judge does not have the ability to pick the best dog, therefore she should tell him which one it is. Now those people who witnessed the interaction, will always believe that the judge was swayed by the Handler's comments, and that maybe he did not choose the best dog.
As a judge, would you want that reputation?
Should the owner-handler take this as a compliment that the Handler saw your dog as such heavy competition that she had to pull a stunt like this?
What it comes down to is this:
1. Your Group Placing Poodle is evidently lower on the totem pole than the other dog.
2. Your handler doesn't have enough confidence in the quality of your Poodle or her assistant to just let them win on their own.
3. Your handler has to try to undercut the competition instead of winning on the merits of the dog and how well she has prepared him for the ring that day.
My questions for you are:
1. Why do you continue to hire this handler?
2. Is winning that much more important than integrity?
3. If you are an 'absentee owner' are you even aware that your handler is doing sh*t like this?
4. Or did you hire them because they pull these stunts?
5. If you knew that a judge was so far in somebody's pocket (or up their ...) would you enter to them again?
When I got started in showing with my Bichon, my first handler Lynette Spitzer (mentored by Tammy Roth), was super-ethical, she still is. That's why I hired her. She was honest with me, and about my dog. I learned a lot from her, and will always consider her a friend. I brought my dog home because I was spending more time and money going to the shows to see my girl compete, than on anything else. I took what Lynette taught me, went home and started grooming and showing Geneva by myself. Hopefully I have done her proud. I still remember those days, and I don't let Dave forget them either. Every owner needs to be informed (because there is a pecking order) and every dog deserves the best care you can possible give them.
But, back to the 'good old days:'
As I entered and attended more shows, I later learned that the handlers that I had interviewed, and did not hire, were the ones that pulled stunts exactly like described here. I learned that I did not like them as people, and I did not like the way they treated the dogs, or their clients. The more I won with my dogs, the worse they got. I worked full time so could only go to shows close to home, so saw them at almost every show that I attended. Kind of flattering, but at the same time very depressing.
Even after some of those handlers killed dogs (due to neglect or irresponsibility) people continued to hire them, 'because they win.' Really, people? Where are your priorities? If they do it to one dog, who's to say that your's isn't next.
I'm not saying that I don't want to win every time I step in the ring, because I DO. I just want to win because we have the best dogs. When we lose, we don't like it, but if it's to a dog that we wouldn't mind taking home, then OK, I guess. Or if the judge is consistent and you can see where he/she was coming from, then you make a mental note and only show that type to them.
But if it's to a stunt like this, or to just plain bad dogs, then that judge is off of our list of acceptable judges.
The AKC, breed clubs, and judges wonder why numbers are down. They act like the "Owner-Hander Series" and the "Baby Puppy" shows will bring people in, but it's not enough. If the AKC doesn't remind judges, that this sport is for everyone, not just handlers, we will continue to lose people.
Dave has been a handler for 30 years, but even at my prodding doesn't schmooze with the judges near as much as I see other handlers doing. It makes him uncomfortable, because he doesn't want people making comments about him, like I have made here. When it comes down to it, he's only going to show a good dog, so feels that his conditioning, training, and presentation should be what shines through to the judge.
(Yeah, I know the ads, the ads! It doesn't always help but when you have a top dog, it doesn't hurt to brag!)
I have set this to accept comments, if anyone wants to put your 2 cents worth in.