Taking The Lead

By Andrea Keepence-Keyte

Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word

Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word

Even the most experienced of us make mistakes. I find rarely are those mistakes are intentional to affect others or cause harm. Sometimes exhibitors feel under a lot of pressure and their actions may be out of character and as a judge and fellow exhibitor sometimes allowances need to be made. However, hold on to your morals and do not be swayed by people who may not be of equal character.

Sometimes you get the repeat offenders – the people who throw bait around the ring, make loud distracting noises, are always late into the ring and in these instances it is for the stewards to make the judge aware and then for the judge to do something. These characters know they are doing it and will tend to continue to do it until challenged. I am not advising brawling ring side about this but remember that you have a short amount of time to make an impression on the judge with your dog so if someone is causing a distraction you can make the steward aware. I have moved my dog to the back of a line up before now to avoid standing near an exhibitor that I know will run up behind me on purpose, this is how I have dealt with this situation and will continue to do so.

If you are pulled up on this type of behavior then there is no point in making a scene, if you didn’t realise that the offending behavior was exactly that explain that you didn’t realise that this was the case and then don’t do it again. But accept that your fellow exhibitor is not a fool and if you keep doing it everyone will get to know you for it and everyone will know that’s how you “win”.

There may be occasions, like I said earlier where people will react in a way contrary to their character. We have all been there and we have all done things that, on reflection, we regret. Apologies to those affected is the only way to make good in this instance and as the saying goes “sorry seems to be the hardest word” and therefore if someone has the courage and decency to take the time to apologise for their actions, accept it. There may come a time that the shoe will be on the other foot! If you are apologising, make sure you mean it and if you do if it is not accepted then you can do no more, walk away and it will work out one way or another eventually.

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For judges, if you are going to criticize handlers for something or pull someone up on something, make sure that you are leading by example in the first place. Suggesting to a handler that they may do better if they improve their attire while you are stood their judging in an outfit that could not be perceived as “pride in one’s appearance” is hardly going to be taken seriously. However, as an exhibitor try hard to not be offended by comments and feedback that is given freely. The beauty of this is that you can take what you like on board and forget the rest.

Something that has been very obvious to me of late is that there is no such thing as a secret – be careful what you say about people behind their backs. It is more than likely going to get back to them so you may have to be prepared to defend what you say if challenged. This goes for posting opinion on social media too….

Handling is a funny old game and is becoming more competitive but thankfully in the massive majority of cases sportsmanship is displayed and actively encouraged in our part of the sport. Sadly there will always be the minority who will do whatever they possibly can to gain that red card or ribbon, what a hollow win I would say.

“In this life, when you deny someone an apology, you will remember it at a time you beg forgiveness” – Toba Beta


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Andrea Keepence-Keyte
I have had pet dogs all of my life, it wasn't until I met my husband and we moved in together that we got our first dog together. I really wanted a Labrador but my sister in law had just bred her beagle bitch and was expecting her first litter and my husband had his heart set on a beagle. So I am afraid to say he is completely to blame for what followed!

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