In July, I attended a very successful Frenchring Trial, hosted by the Washington Defense Dog Club in Seattle. It was a pleasure to eventually meet the participants from the west coast. To quote Ken Jeysman, ‘it was nice to finally be able to put the faces to the names we see so recurrently on the discussion boards’. The weather was accommodating for the double trial and seminar, which were conducted by Ken Jeysman. It was also nice to see that the Seminar was not conducted as a ‘field day’, but a collective learning experience for many. Ring Clubs, and Frenchring collectively, would benefit from conducting ‘true’ seminars in the future.
I wish to express my gratitude to The WDDC members, who were truly generous and hospitable hosts in their effort to accommodate us! A big thanks goes to Lynn Vasil for the video souvenir of my dog Jason’s final performance in Ring II!
During the Trial, it was a pleasure to see various breeds competing and some earning their titles. There were Rottweillers, Boxers, Dobermans, Dutch Shepherds and of course numerous Malinois and German Shepherds. It was also nice to see several up and coming young dogs with great potential, which I’m sure we’ll see in the future.
From a personal standpoint, there were numerous discrepancies in individual interpretations of Ring Rules. As ludicrous as it may sound, it’s as if everyone seemed to have their own rules and understanding of them, and thus totally independent of the true SCC rules as they govern Frenchring. It’s time NARA and the CRA append and/or revise their outdated existing rulebooks! Unawareness of the rules is no excuse, and shouldn’t be viewed as justifiable reason for the Judge to overlook these infractions. This is where we will lose in consistency and standardization in assessing team performances. This will result unfortunately in unavoidable and questionable objectivity on the Judge’s part, and the resulting score sheet will not be reflective of the team’s true performance. It is our responsibility to ensure that we are aware of any rule changes, and up to date on the SCC Frenchring Rules. Any questions regarding the Rules may be e-mailed to Ken Jeysman and an effort will be made to clarify these. Generally speaking, a Judge’s position is one of adherence, and enforcement of Rules. He/She cannot be expected to modify Rules in order to assist individual limitations, be they lack of knowledge, inexperience, stress etc…A Judge’s position is a difficult one, and one that must be respected as such. Competitors are still losing more points for their dogs, due to handling errors, than as a result of the dogs’ training. We have to place priority on knowledge of the Rules. Surprisingly, and more so, dismaying, was the fact that many individuals still don’t own one…
Should there be any flexibility with respect to Ring rules, then these should occur in Brevet. After all, Brevet is NOT a title.
It is a temperament assessment of the dog’s character in order to assess his potential for work (and thus the perpetuation of breeding lines), as it pertains to Frenchring.
The Handler’s position in Brevet, for the lack of better terms, is inconsequential and overestimated. Competition does not begin until Ring I, and as such, Brevet should NOT be awarded trophies, which acknowledge placement. In essence, it is not dissimilar to a BH in Schutzhund, HIC in herding or a CGC assessment in CKC/AKC. In my opinion, there should not even be a quantitative value placed on Brevet ‘attainment’, but rather a stamp of ‘successful’ or ‘unsuccessful’ promotion/approval of the dog concerned. A high quantitative value in Brevet is seldom insightful to the dog’s quality or reflective of its’ future performance.
Frenchring, as I saw it on the west coast, has progressed markedly. People are becoming much more resourceful and innovative in their training techniques, and more are taking ‘training’ trips to Europe in order to learn from the ‘Experts’ of Ring. What we have to focus on in North America is providing more seminars conducted by credible and achievement oriented individuals if we are to improve ourselves universally.
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