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AKC Herding Judges...


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#1 JaderBug

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Posted 25 December 2011 - 09:15 PM

Just a question about 'big hats' or other Open handlers/trainers/clinicians, etc. who also judge AKC herding events. Isn't that a double-standard? Why do some of these people campaign so hard against AKC in one venue and yet support them by becoming an AKC judge?

From AKC's website, to be eligible to be a judge you have to "have trained and handled two dogs that have earned an AKC Herding Excellent (HX) title" as well as attending seminars and taking tests, all of which I would assume mean shelling out money to the AKC. Not to mention being a judge at these events and attending in and of themselves is supporting them.

Is that not supporting the AKC and therefore counteracting any attempts by Border Collie-ers, USBCC, USBCHA, ABCA, among others?? Is it that it's not OK to support AKC in any way, shape, or form, but it's perfectly fine to take money from them? (even if that means having to support them to get to that point?)

Is that not extremely hypocritical?

Just something I've been wondering...

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#2 Gloria Atwater

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Posted 25 December 2011 - 10:25 PM

Hmm. I only know of one Open/USBCHA handler who is also an AKC judge, but she's been in AKC for years and I've never heard her quoted as saying anything against them. Then again, my sheepdogging travels are still fairly limited. Are you seeing a number of these dual-venue folks who are AKC judges?

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#3 JaderBug

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Posted 25 December 2011 - 10:49 PM

I do know of a couple, though some of the ones I know of I don't believe are vocal about opposing AKC. They mostly look at AKC as another venue for something to do with your dog...

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#4 Gloria Atwater

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Posted 25 December 2011 - 10:57 PM

Well, if they trial USBSCHA and treat AKC as just another venue - but don't speak out against it - I don't see any hypocrisy. It just means there are USBCHA handlers who dislike and/or disapprove of AKC, and those who don't. We can't automatically presume that every USBCHA handler or member is anti-AKC. They're not.

I know of at least a couple notable Open handlers who simply don't weigh in on the public debate about AKC, one way or another. But they aren't AKC judges.

Unless I'm misunderstanding your original questions. Which is possible, as I am operating on a post-Christmas-dinner overload, just now. ;)

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#5 JaderBug

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Posted 25 December 2011 - 11:11 PM

Thanks for your patience... I kind of figured I'd have a hard time wording what it is I'm trying to say.

I think what I'm trying to ask is, is it considered acceptable for USBCHA Open handlers/trainers/etc. to participate in the AKC in a judge's venue, given that to become a judge you must therefore support the AKC to some extent? I mean considered acceptable by people who fight the good fight for the working bred Border Collie and oppose the AKC?

Or am I mistaken in thinking that being an AKC herding judge is supporting the AKC?

I'm still not sure I've got that worded quite right...

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#6 NCStarkey

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Posted 25 December 2011 - 11:18 PM

Hello "Jaderbug",

I quickly reviewed the list of AKC herding judges, and I did notice that there are some USBCHA open handlers who are included on that list. However, though I don't recognize most of the names, I didn't see anyone on the list whom I would consider to be a "big hat" or a top handler/trainer/clinician.

There are several USBCHA open handlers in the Mid-Atlantic area who are included on the AKC herding judges list, and I know most of these people personally. I believe that the reason that these folks have joined the ranks of AKC judges is primarily for financial gain, which is probably quite lucrative. I don't recall any of these people being adamantly opposed to the AKC recognition of the Border Collie during the Dog Wars, but if they were, they have clearly changed their allegiance.

I agree with you that if someone claims to be opposed to the AKC, and then supports the AKC herding program and derives a good income from it, as well, they are indeed hypocritical.

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#7 NCStarkey

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Posted 25 December 2011 - 11:38 PM

I think what I'm trying to ask is, is it considered acceptable for USBCHA Open handlers/trainers/etc. to participate in the AKC in a judge's venue, given that to become a judge you must therefore support the AKC to some extent? I mean considered acceptable by people who fight the good fight for the working bred Border Collie and oppose the AKC?

Or am I mistaken in thinking that being an AKC herding judge is supporting the AKC?


Hi again "Jaderbug",

In my opinion, you are definitely NOT "mistaken in thinking that being an AKC herding judge is supporting the AKC". I feel that any involvement with the AKC, be it as a judge or competitor, is supporting the AKC.

As I wrote in my previous reply, I know several of the people who are on the AKC herding judges list. Even though I am vehemently opposed to anything connected with the AKC, I can't condemn these people for their affiliation with the AKC. They have made decisions based on their own beliefs and values, which happen to differ from mine (and from many other, but not all, open handlers).

Regards,
nancy
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#8 juliepoudrier

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Posted 25 December 2011 - 11:57 PM

Rachel,
I agree with what Nancy has said. It's only hypocritical if the people are AKC judges and also publicly deriding AKC and what it stands for.

I don't like the idea of USBCHA handlers also being in bed with AKC, but I'm sure many do it for the financial gain--there's plenty of money to be made in AKC herding, as a trainer and as a judge. It's not surprising that some folks would choose to go that route.

Open trialers are independent people. We don't think or act collectively (that's probably what killed us during the dog wars). Although this board is sponsored by the USBCC (which is against AKC conformation showing and breeding) and many of us here do not have anything to do with AKC (though some do), this group isn't representative of the entire population of USBCHA handlers.

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#9 Donald McCaig

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 05:27 AM

Dear Doggers,

Some years ago I was invited to become an AKC "herding" judge and refused. Others did not. For a few USBCHA open handlers, AKC judging, lessons and puppy sales are a significant part of their income. Isn't it better people and their dogs are taught by trainers who actually know something about and can accomplish the work they are training for?

The novice handlers I meet at Virginia trials were all (not some: ALL) started with HA/AKC trainers. Although there are AKC only "herding" instructors in the southeast I have never met a novice who first studied with one of these then graduated to the real thing.


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#10 PSmitty

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 09:01 AM

Well, if they trial USBSCHA and treat AKC as just another venue - but don't speak out against it - I don't see any hypocrisy. It just means there are USBCHA handlers who dislike and/or disapprove of AKC, and those who don't. We can't automatically presume that every USBCHA handler or member is anti-AKC. They're not.
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#11 Eileen Stein

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 11:58 AM

I think what I'm trying to ask is, is it considered acceptable for USBCHA Open handlers/trainers/etc. to participate in the AKC in a judge's venue, given that to become a judge you must therefore support the AKC to some extent?


Not by me. Presumably those who do it do consider it acceptable. It is certainly lucrative; however, I know plenty of big hat trainers/handlers who could use the money but have chosen not to do it.

#12 Eileen Stein

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 12:01 PM

The novice handlers I meet at Virginia trials were all (not some: ALL) started with HA/AKC trainers.


I'm not sure what Donald means by this. If he means that all the novices he meets at Virginia trials started with trainers who are involved with the AKC, all I can say is that my experience has been different.

#13 katenjim

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 02:52 PM

Hello "Jaderbug",

I quickly reviewed the list of AKC herding judges, and I did notice that there are some USBCHA open handlers who are included on that list.


Regards,
nancy

Where do you find the list of AKC judges? Is there a link someone could post

Thank-you


#14 terrecar

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 03:51 PM

http://www.akc.org/j...?action=results


ETA: Okay hold on. That query didn't come out right...When I run the query, it gives me what I want but the link doesn't copy correctly when I double check it. You can run the query for herding from that site though.

#15 Sue R

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 04:07 PM

You can find the list but realize that not everyone on there is actively involved or still involved with AKC. It seems much easier to get on the list than to get off, according to the experience that some people have had - who were involved but who no longer wish to be.
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#16 stockdogranch

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 07:02 PM

^^^What she said. I've been trying to get off the list for some years now, to no avail,
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#17 Diana A

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 08:53 PM

I think what I'm trying to ask is, is it considered acceptable for USBCHA Open handlers/trainers/etc. to participate in the AKC in a judge's venue, given that to become a judge you must therefore support the AKC to some extent? I mean considered acceptable by people who fight the good fight for the working bred Border Collie and oppose the AKC?

Or am I mistaken in thinking that being an AKC herding judge is supporting the AKC?



Opposing AKC and helping working border collies are not necessarily the same thing and I don't think anyone can assume that "all USBHCA people oppose AKC". There is a lot of overlap, to be sure, but they aren't the same thing and you'll find many people all over both sides of the AKC issue. As long as a person's actions are in line with their professed beliefs and politics, I don't see it as hypocritical.

You can oppose AKC (or at least not support it) and still do nothing to help (or you can even actively harm) working border collies. Flyball breeders and puppy millers who register ABCA (or with some designer made up registry) come to mind as two groups who do harm to border collie bloodlines but are not directly supporting AKC. I know of at least one breeder who breeds ABCA only, but for colors and pet dogs, not work - no AKC involvement there but it sure isn't 'fighting the good fight' for working dogs.


You can also not speak out against AKC (or you can even support it in some form) and do a lot to help working border collies. I know of a few USBCHA people who judge AKC trials, or at least participate in them, but don't use them as a means to make breeding decisions. They breed good dogs and educate other interested dog people. Don't forget AKC is about other breeds besides border collies, and it is nice of these knowledgeable folk to offer their expertise and help to all the newbies out there - it might just steer a few of them in the right direction. I know of a few AKC people with other breeds who, with the help of an USBCHA trainer/judge, ended up getting working border collies and supporting ABCA breeders as a result.


The absolute line (in my opinion) is breed for work only, and define that work through appropriate tests (real work or USBCHA trials), not watered down versions of them (i.e. AKC titles). Any other breeding criteria will ruin the breed. I don't care if that 'anything else' is for pet breeding, agility breeding, service dog breeding, or breeding for work but with greatly reduced standards for that work - it will all lead down the same road, just some faster than others. Breeding decisions (and which breeders a person buys from) are where you can really see if someone puts their money where their mouth is about supporting working border collies. The rest (AKC, what someone does with their dog, who they judge for, etc) is just human politics and everyone is going to have their own opinions about what is appropriate and what isn't.
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#18 terrecar

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 08:58 PM

Isn't it better people and their dogs are taught by trainers who actually know something about and can accomplish the work they are training for?


Re: This ^^ might work to justify trainers who will take on AKC clients, but it doesn't justify dual venue judges (not that Donald is suggesting as much) who decry the horrors of AKC involvement. Of course it may be that the latter sort doesn't exist. I have no idea.

I thought the issue was not just incompetent (for stockwork) trainers and judges, but that the actual AKC trial is an insufficient test for working dogs. My presumption re: the latter may be incorrect. I know little about the subject. I am attempting to learn though, so any patient explanation from anyone on this board "in the know" is much appreciated.

ETA: Never mind re: the patient explanation. The answer to my question is contained in the post immediately prior to mine.

#19 Diana A

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 11:54 PM

I thought the issue was not just incompetent (for stockwork) trainers and judges, but that the actual AKC trial is an insufficient test for working dogs. My presumption re: the latter may be incorrect. I know little about the subject. I am attempting to learn though, so any patient explanation from anyone on this board "in the know" is much appreciated.


Yes, I think AKC trials are insufficient to test working ability. The titles are very misleading. Even 'herding champion' doesn't mean it's a really good dog. The title means usually several fellow hobby herders who have titled a small number of dogs themselves judged your work as okay on a course that wasn't terribly challenging against competitor dogs that are likely as green as your dog is. You just have to do it enough times to collect the points. And you're often looked down on by the other competitors if your dog is a champion and you keep trialing it and taking the points. The polite thing to do is step aside so only the new upcoming dogs are competing against each other for those points. Sort of like if in Open you told the 'big hats' they had to sit this one out and give someone else a chance to win.

The A Course is the most common one for people to get titles on as it takes less space to run. Half the course is around the edges of the arena, so just having a dog 'somewhere out in the middle' will often get the sheep through a good part of the course, and a lot of them know to run into the chutes (located along the fence lines) to get away from the dog's pressure. A truly incompetent dog will keep losing the sheep (or not be able to push them out of the chutes) and won't do well, but a 'just okay' dog who listens well will probably do okay and get titles that his owner may see as proof that he should be bred.

The B Course is like a traditional USBCHA course but much smaller. The Advanced level, wich is the highest it goes, is about the outrun distance you'd see at a novice trial, or sometimes a bit bigger (like a small pronovice course), with pretty short drive legs, and Advanced does have the shed at the end. It's still sheep out in the open with a dog trying to get them from point A to point B in a straight line, same as an USBCHA course (sometimes run on the same field and same sheep even). But I think anyone here would agree that even an USBCHA small pronovice course (or novice course with a drive added) is not appropriate for judging a dog's ability. If nothing else, the skill of finding sheep at a great distance and bringing them to the handler over that same distance is never tested.

There is a C Course also, which sounds like more a large flock/tending sort of course. I have never seen that one in person, and have to admit the rules make no sense to me. It takes a lot of room and time to run (you have to do stuff like graze the sheep, take them down a road, etc) so you don't see it very often.

Border collies are not appropriately tested because the rules and course sizes have to allow for all breeds, and most of the other breeds competing were never bred for that sort of work at great distances. I won't say it's a totally useless test, but it's not set up to really test a border collie. A sheltie or a belgian or some other breed who got through B Course in good form would probably impress me a bit though.
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#20 Eileen Stein

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Posted 27 December 2011 - 12:21 AM

Breeding decisions (and which breeders a person buys from) are where you can really see if someone puts their money where their mouth is about supporting working border collies. The rest (AKC, what someone does with their dog, who they judge for, etc) is just human politics and everyone is going to have their own opinions about what is appropriate and what isn't.


I agree with some of what Diana says in her post, but I don't agree that judging AKC trials is okay as long as you breed for work or buy from those who breed for work. As a general matter, I believe that any support that increases AKC's power and prestige is detrimental to the border collie. But the harm we're talking about here is more specific. AKC trials purport to be a test of herding excellence, and they are not. AKC titles purport to designate herding excellence, and they do not. I'm assuming that USBCHA Open handlers must know this. If they support AKC by lending their prestige to its unworthy program, and certifying border collies with titles that range from misleading to meaningless, then IMO they are acting in a way that is harmful to the breed. They are representing to people who don't know any better that the dogs have demonstrated superior working ability. Whether they pretend the trials and titles are meaningful or whether they privately denigrate them, IMO by their participation they have sacrificed their integrity.

Judging AKC trials stands on an entirely different footing from giving private training to people and dogs who compete in AKC. I don't see anything wrong with the latter per se, and I'm not quite sure why the two have been mentioned as if they were in the same category.

ETA: It seems to me that the post Diana put up as I was writing this concedes my point, particularly where she writes, "a 'just okay' dog who listens well will probably do okay and get titles that his owner may see as proof that he should be bred." Proof indeed, especially if those titles were awarded based on judging by USBCHA open handlers.

Further ETA: Since the OP's basic question was whether it's generally considered acceptable for USBCHA Open handlers/trainers/etc. to judge AKC trials, it's probably relevant to note that under USBCHA rules anyone who is on an AKC Judges list is not eligible to judge the National Finals.


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