Kathy has a question…

Maybe you can explain why during a dog judging event, the judge will take the dog’s head firmly in her/his hands…often pulling back the ears from the face. To me, it would seem threatening to most dogs to have their heads gripped in such a manner…I saw the West. fellow, David Frei, do this to some shelter dogs up for adoption on the Today show…promo for west.
The dogs let him do this…even though they had not been trained as such–just looking for homes! I was amazed! I understand that in showing, a dog must be stacked for a judge to study and to touch the animal, assessing build/grooming/etc.

Thanks! Just curious!


4 Comments on “Kathy has a question…”

  1. Kathy says:

    Thanks much Julie, for explaining what you are looking for as you go over a dog’s head and body during judging events. I also appreciated your sharing about the level of confidence necessary in approaching a dog, so as not to create fear…a timid, tentative, jerky approach can cause the dog to react in confusion. Still amazed at the patience of the shelter dogs as they were examined on the table.


  2. lhasalhady says:

    I cannot find Julie’s comment. Did she send it privately?

  3. Kathy says:


  4. Julie says:


    Finally, a day off, so I can respond. Your question made me think, “why” do we do this? In judging, we are looking for the shape of the head, the eye, ear placement. So holding the head, pulling back the ears gives the judge a good view of all this. Why David Frei was doing this to shelter dogs I can’t answer, except I know for me I am just so use to looking at show dogs that I tend to do it with all animals. It is so ingrained into me to evalute every animal I look at, I just do it naturally. Which answers your question about why the shelter animals would allow David to touch them like that, when they have never been trained to “except” that movement like a show dog has. For experienced people, approaching the dog and examining it is a natural movement. We don’t give the animal any reason or chance to be afraid. Tenative movements are what make dogs cautious, any person understanding animal behavior knows this. In the dog show world we say that some judges have “good hands on”. It means they make the dog comfortable and relaxed as it is being examined.

    Hope this answered your question.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s