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It was a beautiful Florida day!

Murphy was the first to head into IQ this morning. He wandered around a little bit, but went down the tunnel within the 2 minute mark and worked the quarry for the required 30 seconds. I was so happy!!!! Then, the judge said to me, "he's done". I was never called to the end to retrieve Murphy, and I believe when he heard "he's done" something clicked in his brain and he bolted back out the front door. FAIL! I was crushed. I mean, he did it.

So, I went and signed him up for the afternoon.

He was tired and cranky and balked this afternoon and never went down the hole.

I'm not sure how I feel. Happy I went, proud of my boy, and disappointed.

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Well that sounds about typical. I'd count it as forward progress! He will enter a tunnel (if he chooses to) and he has enough interest in the quarry to work it when he finds it. Those are both good things. Be happy and proud. As time goes by you will find him stumped by this or that part of the test ... they can't read the rulebook so for the most part they figure things out by trial and error.

For me, any day in the dirt with my dog is full of Win.

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CRCTC: Columbia River Cairn Terrier Club 



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Well that sounds about typical.

Bred, is it typical that the judge doesn't call you to retrieve you dog after she looks at her stopwatch and states that he's done? She didn't seem to forget the people who followed us. Being first, maybe she was rusty?

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I was reacting more to the mixed feelings about my dogs' performance. Rereading your description, I'm not sure what the NQ was for. I'm not a judge but the rules (pdf) read to me as if the P/NP decision point in Intro is made prior to recall:

Dogs that begin working the quarry within two minutes and work continuously for 30 seconds shall pass.

Extraction of the dog is not even described in the "running of the test" portion for IQ. I think there may be language elsewhere that says that if any dog has to be dug out of the ground by the committee it cannot pass, even if it otherwise qualified; this seems to be the opposite situation. But I wasn't there and like I said, I'm not a judge.

CAIRNTALK: Vote! |  Questions? Need help? → Support Forum Please do not use PMs for tech support
CRCTC: Columbia River Cairn Terrier Club 



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I read the rules again - he went into the tunnel within the allotted time, barked for 30 seconds and even the judge said, that he was done. He then came back out of the front of the tunnel (the way he went in) and the judge told me she couldn't pass him because of that.

No one had to dig him out or anything.

I don't understand either, because I really felt immediately after we did it that a huge mistake had been made.

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I took a few minutes on Monday and wrote to the AKC about this. I received a reply yesterday and to sum it up, too bad, use it to learn, trainers need to be trained, judges decision is final, I really thought that IQ was supposed to be a learning experience by a judge who wants to teach and encourage dog owners to continue in this event/sport. Last year we had such an amazing judge who saw something in my dog and didn't give up on him and helped ME.

So many different things come to mind. Later that day, the same judge was with the SE group. Was she mad because she had to do IQ? Were we beginners beneath her? Murphy was the first dog to go, did she forget the reason why she was there or was she just so hardcore in her judging that she was not going to pass the first dog through? I'll never know the answers to these questions, and that's okay. After reading and rereading and reading again the rules book, I know my dog passed within the parameters of the AKC. He just didn't get a green ribbon and his name called at the awards passing out.

The only positive that I have come away with is that should we decide to enter into another Earthdog event, we don't have to go back to IQ, we can go straight to JE.

I am incredibly sad about this now. I had such a wonderful day with my dog, and he seemed to enjoy it too. I know that for all of you veteran Earthdog participants that I may seem whiny and petty, but you've been doing this a long time and were new once also. You have hindsight now. I can only see the present.

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Intro is one of the hardest classes -- and most important classes -- precisely because it is for new dogs and new people. It's weird too because the AKC has some fairly comprehensive requirements to judge each of the titling classes (involving apprenticing, number of dogs judged in previous classes, and so on) while virtually anyone with a pulse seems technically permitted to judge Intro.

As an aside, it is very typical that across a weekend's tests each judge will judge several different classes. You are also right that some judges have a better temperament for the classes that are more cut-and-dried, and less "people-oriented" than Intro. Some are just not a great fit for Intro.

We have one very experienced person in our area who has been involved since the very first earthdog test (their club literally put on the first licensed AKC earthdog test) and he will ONLY judge Intro. He just loves to work with the dogs and try to light the fire in dog and handler. He will sit in the hot sun or pouring rain all day to make sure everyone has a good experience, or learns something, or at least has a good time with their dog pass or fail. I'm sorry that you didn't have a judge like him.

It's very disappointing that you had such an experience and especially that you passed and didn't get to enjoy it. :(

In Junior you may find that some judges will bend the rules a bit and allow a chance to complete the test elements even if a pass is no longer possible -- while others will be very much by the book: "tick-tock, time is up, pick up your dog, better luck next time." Junior tests go very fast under these judges because 30 seconds is not a lot of time and if the dog doesn't go straight to business, the test is over in very short order. We took Barley to every test in two states trying to pass Junior for three years and I can tell you, watching $20 vanish in less than a minute with nothing to show for it does test a handler's persistence (and his wallet). She eventually became an ME so it was worth it to outlast her ability to fail in every way possible, for more times than I thought was possible :P I've since met even more obtuse dogs than her!

I hope that despite the disappointments of the past you are able to find enjoyment in the future in the overall experience of spending a few hours in the dirt with your pal.

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CRCTC: Columbia River Cairn Terrier Club 



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It is sad that you didn't get the recognition for passing. I have found in all the dog sports, even the cut and dried ones that sometimes you get a gift and sometimes you get cheated. The important thing is to enjoy the time with your dog, it goes by too quickly. And I am the first to admit, it's had when you want a qualifying score/title so bad. I keep repeating to myself "enjoy, have fun" In earthdog, even when you think it can't possibly go wrong, it can, no one knows what scent is doing underground on a given day. I was running a friend's Cairn. I had run him at one venue, he finished he JR title there, we practiced SR there. I ran him in 2 Seniors and he passed both, he was a maniac, barking from the moment he was turned loose, straight into the tunnel, barked the whole time, etc. He needed one more SR leg, so I convinced the owner we should go to a test about 4 hours from her house, there were 3 tests that weekend. How could he miss getting that last leg? He never passed, in fact he never even got to the rats. It dawned on me he had never been in that tunnel configuration, but this dog was such a strong worker, how could he not figure out the way? Well we will never know.

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Both Brad & Linda give sound advice. Disappointing...yes..even heartbreaking sometimes!

Somedays you get a gift and a judge rules something in your favor that really shouldn't be and sometimes an error is made that is not in your favor. Participate in dog sports long enough and you will experience both situations.

But judges in Earthdog/Obedience/Coursing etc are people first and are falible. Becoming an AKC judge in companion and performance events is not easy. It takes time and expense. Most of these folks have a 9-5 during the week and then travel on weekends to act as judges. Yes, their travel expenses are paid and a small stipend is received. But they give up lots of weekends with their families and their own dogs, so that we may pursue our next Qualifying Score. There are good judges and bad judges out there. But for the most part these are folks who love dogs and dog people who are trying the best that they can. And sometimes like that Umpire at a ball game...they make a wrong call.

Next time you are unsure, you can ask the judge after the class (just after awards have been given before the next class starts) and they will usually go over things with you. Give you tips and pointers. It is possible Murphy did everything he was supposed to do..but you made an error in your handling that caused the NQ. Something that you did not even realize was happening.

I recently took some students to their first Rally trial. I video taped their runs. I had one student Qualify and when she should not have (She touched her dog and moved her into position...an automatic NQ). The judge did not see this happen (it was only a second) and my student did not even realize she had done it until she saw it on video. Was that a bad judge. Not in the least the judge is well known, respected and has a reputation for having a sharp pencil. She just did not see it happen and made the best call she could based upon the information she had.

Please do not let this stop you from entering more Earthdog events. They are fun and the dogs love it. Try to get involved...if you really want to learn all the ins and outs... volunteer to steward. Your local club could always use the help. You also gain quite a perspective about the sport & it is an easy way to make friends who can help mentor you along.

It's always a good day when there are rats to get! Good Luck!!

Raise your expectations for what your Cairn can do....and try very hard to meet your Cairn's expectations of you.
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