Just Give me 1 minute Please – Judging Stories


Often people think judging is glamorous, exciting & royalty-like. While those things are a bit of anexaggeration, judging is still a great personal experience and you come up with the goofiest things to share.

A fellow judge and I were talking about some of our experiences and inevitably, exhibitor etiquette came up. In this case we focused on common courtesy. It’s funny because as the conversation continued we found that we’ve both had a surprising & similar experience while judging.
First I’ll focus on my fellow judge. They mentioned about how, during a trial break, an exhibitor followed them into the bathroom to “talk agility”. Now I don’t faithfully read “Dear Abby”, but I’m pretty sure that falls under the “What the heck are you thinking?”category.  We laughed because this wasn’t just “at the sink talk”, but rather full fledge “in the stall” chatter. My fellow judge was left baffled by the attempt at conversation and we laughed that there seems to be no moment of peace when you’re the judge.
I had to chuckle & reflect on my own experiences as they told me their story. Unfortunately, I have to admit I wasn’t surprised. You see, I’ve got a few “bathroom” stories from judging assignments as well.
Just like my fellow judge, I too jumped into the bathroom in between judging classes. Now keep in mind that a bathroom break is a luxury while judging. Most of the time I never see the facilities at a site because I’m too busy keeping the trial moving, standing in the middle of the ring, doing paperwork, preparing my courses, wheeling my courses, mathematically determining course times, briefingfolks, measuring dogs, answering questions and much more.  Basically, when you’re a judge, the only time to yourself is the 20 seconds you spend in a bathroom stall – not a pretty picture, but unfortunately a true reality.
So back to me, I’m judging an indoor trial and literally run off in between classes to use the facility for a mere 20 seconds. As I’m locking myself in the stall, an exhibitor yells “Lisa, are you in here? I have a question for you….” and proceeds to hunt my specific stall down and ask me questions about their run!  I’m baffled. Heck, I’m more than confused and worse yet, I feel trapped and just plain weird! I can’t help but wonder what kind of an answer this person was looking for and what it is I can say to make them go away!
Picture it for a moment, they’re standing up against my bathroom stall door, in a public restroom and all I can think about is the purpose I came in for and NOT their question.
To my credit, rather than being put on the spot, I said “Please don’t tell me you just followed me into the bathroom and trapped me in a stall to ask me a question?”  After all, I’m certain whatever it is can wait until I get back out into the ring….They did leave me to my 20 seconds of peace.
The moral of the story, if a judge goes into the bathroom – leave them alone! There is no hidden doorway or window for them to escape to and I promise they’ll be back.

As a 20+ year dog agility coach, I am passionate about producing quality resources for dog agility teams by promoting self-development and delivering clear and specific training solutions that enable teams' to perform with clarity and confidence!

My unique experience as a hands-on trainer and 18+ year dog agility judge led me to create Sequencing For Success and the highly successful 2on-2off Contact Training DVD.

Our household has included Dalmatians, Labradors, Belgian Tervuren, Border Collies and engaging cats.

Contact Lisa via email AgilityOne at Gmail.com (replace at with @ sign)