BAITING – THE JUDGES SPEAK OUT
By E. M. Gilbert Jr.
Judges are speaking out against the misuse of bait. Now a real problem is the disrespect shown by the throwing of bait all over the ring – some judges probably do not notice as it is such a common part of the unsportsmanlike disrespect shown by so many against all of us in the sport.
Bob Moore has been the most proactive judge on the subject of baiting. Bob states: “It is very interesting to read stories about bait in the ring. As many people know, I have fought this stupid happening for some time.
Recently, a judge was slipping and sliding in the ring after stepping on thrown bait in a ring. His steward said to me the next day that she had never seen anything like it.
Let's think about this.
Do you like to examine a dog's mouth when he has had bait stuffed into his mouth?
Do you like to examine a dog when he is lunging for food in the handler's hand?
Do you look at a dog in profile that might have a well laid back shoulder, but due to looking for food, see him as absolutely straight shouldered, with his withers into his neck?
Have you seen dogs that have unreliable temperament, and have to be baited in order for a judge to examine them, either to settle aggression or to cover shyness?
Many judges are telling me that they agree that I will not let bait into the ring. Of course, this is your decision to make, but I feel that you should watch those judges who oppose bait and watch the dogs in their rings.
It is illegal to use bait in an obedience ring.
It was illegal to use bait in a UKC show.
Do you enjoy being hit by thrown bait in your ring?
Do you think that you can do a good job of judging with the dogs refusing to walk in a straight line, but lunge from side to side, looking for bait?
More and more judges are agreeing that they are going to ban bait in the ring.
Some of the astute persons who are teaching handling classes are attempting to teach people that they should not use bait in the ring.
Again, let's get together and stop this trend in our dog show rings."
Wyoma Clouss has stated: “I spent quite a while watching a 'thrown bait' breed this last week. One judge had stated that all bait was to be picked up, and most was.... but there were a couple of handlers who seemed to think that bait aimed at the edge of the ring could be ignored. It seemed like a nervous habit -- often, they flicked, but didn't even get the dog's attention in the process. These same folks also seemed to just drop 'crumbs'... anything nickel size or smaller was just discarded where they stood. They were so tense, focused, I wondered if they were even aware of what they were doing.”
Karin Ashe stated: “I DO mind people throwing anything in the ring! Try judging and getting hit between the eyes...that has just made me tell the exhibitors in my ring to'put the bait in your pocket and don't take it out'! Baiting is one thing,
feeding is another and throwing it is just plain rude....sometimes I wonder how I was able to exhibit so many dogs in many breeds that are known for being a 'baiting' breed with one little piece of bait in my pocket for all those years. Maybe it is time that we, as judges, ask that this be stopped? It seems as if the newer handlers/exhibitors no longer train their dogs to
stand for examination, but learn to 'tolerate' being examined because they are being fed during the entire process. Anyone notice the ads that are saying "stacking is easier with....". ??”
Roger Gifford stated: “As an exhibitor, I don't like going into a ring with bait all over the floor from the previous breeds as it is very distracting for the dogs. When bait is thrown outside the ring, sometimes it hits someone …. I usually put up 2 notes (8 1/2" x 11" sheet each) at the ring gate at different spots, stating pick up bait thrown and don't throw bait outside the ring. I also tell the steward to remind handlers. This has been very effective though occasionally handlers have to be reminded, especially if they came running over to the ring and didn't notice the signs. But word gets passed around quickly and I've not had any major problems.”
Leslie Earl states: “Well I do things just a bit differently, perhaps. If a handler is throwing bait, I stop and ask them to pick it up, which they have always done and then they have been more careful. Or, given other circumstances, I stop
judging and walk over (sometimes not all that quickly) to pick up bait and hand it back to the handler. This usually stops ALL bait throwing. I think the operative action is that I (the judge) stop judging. That usually gets everyone's attention and doesn't take that much time out. Plus, it seems just a bit less "adversarial", but that's just my view.
Of course I agree that baiting, feeding and throwing are different actions and the last two are both unnecessary and that last one is, indeed, rude. But I have never been hit, between the eyes or elsewhere...”
A little different viewpoint from Beverly Henry: “I think bait is okay if used moderately. I use bait with my Poms and Schipperkes but a piece the size of a quarter will last me all day - probably 2 days. And when I was handling, a piece not much larger than that lasted me all day, even years ago when I showed Dobes. I see no earthly reason for Dobe, Boxer and Rottie handlers to throw bait all over the place and feed the dogs constantly. I don't judge those breeds but would not allow the practice if I did.”
Carol Moser gives a exhibitor/judge breed specific statement: “A couple of weekends ago I exhibited a German Shepherd … and judge who I believe is a breeder judge of a Herding Breed, insisted upon attempting to bait each entry, even though some classes were quite large.
“Now. Folks, listen up if you are not a Herding Breed devotee, these dogs, especially German Shepherds, who are also guard dogs, are not waggy tail poof dogs. They are supposed to stand with regal confidence and assess the judge as to whether or not that person constitutes a threat, and if that person is not threatening, they are supposed to tolerate examination with good manners. They are not supposed to be friendly, they are not supposed to bond with this judge, and only about half of them are ever exhibited by the handler with bait anyway. Some of them have never seen it. Expression can best be determined by observation at a slight distance and let them stand naturally or let the handler take care of it. Do not bait a German Shepherd.
“Don’t bait any dog that does not belong to you or that you are not handling. And if you could have seen the expressions on the faces of these dogs when they realized that not only was the judge a stranger trying to bait them, but the judge had nothing in his hand and the judge expected them to show interest to an empty hand, well, it was quite comical. I heard someone behind me mumbling that the dogs were smarter than the judge. Please consider this when you judge Herding breeds. If you are a frustrated handler, bait your dogs at home, or get back in the ring with your dogs, don’t try to exhibit mine. I pay a handler to do that.”
To all Handlers, Exhibitors and Conformation Trainers – fore warned is fore armed. Most judges consider the use, or I should say the misuse of bait in the show ring today causes more dogs to display bad characteristics. The major cause of side winding in the show ring is improper training with bait. The number one judge complaint on the misuse of bait – is baiting during the examination of the bite and/or mouth.