Judges at The Kennel Club's licensed heelwork to music competitions are expected to maintain and abide by the highest standards.
Heelwork to music judges must adhere to The Kennel Club's Heelwork to Music (L) Regulations and the Judges' Code of Best Practice, which can be found in the helpful Guide for Heelwork to Music Judges.
There must be a minimum of two and a maximum of three judges for each class, one of whom is appointed as lead (head) judge.
Becoming a heelwork to music judge
Judges are invited by the society which is staging a heelwork to music competition (it is not acceptable for judges to solicit for appointments). Before inviting a judge, the society must be satisfied that the judge is suitably qualified, and before accepting an appointment judges should ensure they meet the minimum criteria:
- Judges should have qualified a dog out of starters class in either heelwork to music or freestyle classes
- They should have a minimum of two years' experience competing in standard classes at a minimum of six heelwork to music competitions licensed by The Kennel Club
- They must demonstrate a good knowledge of the discipline and a thorough understanding of the rules of the discipline
- They must have attended one of The Kennel Club's heelwork to music regulations and judging procedure seminars and passed the regulations and judging procedure examination. All judges must have attended a regulations and judging procedure seminar every four years since passing the regulations and judging procedure examination, however taking the exam again is not required
- Wherever possible, all judges for a class should have competed at the level of that class
- Any judge's first three appointments for competitions must be restricted to starters and novice
- From 1 January 2022, all judges will be required to have attended a regulations and judging procedure seminar, and must have passed the examination, every five years since passing the regulations and judging procedure examination
Heelwork to music seminars and accredited trainers
Societies, individuals or groups organising a seminar should contact one of the accredited trainers to invite them to conduct the seminar and arrange a suitable venue. Details of upcoming heelwork to music regulations and judging procedure seminars can be found in the seminar diary, or you can contact an accredited trainer for further information.
Once you are ready to judge and meet the criteria outlined above, you can then take on your first appointment.
All judging appointments at The Kennel Club's licensed heelwork to music competitions must be underpinned by a contract between the society and the judge. Forming a contract requires three stages:
- The society must invite the judge in writing, including the wording required in the heelwork to music regulations, and request a written acceptance
- The judge should return a written acceptance of the judging appointment
- The society should then confirm the judging appointment, again in writing
Three-part contracts should always be in place, even for emergency replacement judges. In the event of a judge or society being in breach of their contract, and unable to provide a satisfactory explanation of the breach, the board of The Kennel Club may impose a fine.
Progressing as a heelwork to music judge
Judges appointed to judge advanced classes in heelwork to music or freestyle must meet more stringent criteria:
- Judges must demonstrate a good knowledge of the discipline and a thorough understanding of Kennel Club Heelwork to Music (L) Regulations
- They must have a minimum of two years' experience of competing at Kennel Club licensed heelwork to music competitions
- They must have a minimum of one year's experience of judging at Kennel Club licensed heelwork to music competitions
- They must have judged a minimum of 15 licensed heelwork to music/freestyle classes
- They must have judged a minimum of five classes at intermediate level in either category
Heelwork to music handlers may judge freestyle classes at the level they are approved to judge and vice versa.
Judges Education Programme
From 1 January 2023, The Kennel Club requires new judges to take part in a mentoring scheme. This scheme helps to extend the education of judges and provide them with the skills to make informed decisions to preserve and safeguard the discipline.
A new judge will be paired with a mentor who will offer a minimum of 3 mentoring sessions, though additional mentoring sessions are available where necessary. We suggest there is a minimum of 4 weeks between each mentoring session to enable mentees to assimilate feedback given and further develop their knowledge and understanding.
After each mentoring session, the mentor will provide feedback to the mentee using the Heelwork to Music Mentoring Record Form. A copy of the record form will be completed by the mentor on the day the mentoring session takes place. This must be given to the mentee for their records. A copy must also be sent to The Kennel Club by the mentee so that their records can be updated. Mentees are responsible for retaining this documentation.
Code of Best Practise for Heelwork to Music Mentoring
One-to-one mentoring guidelines - organisation
To ensure the mentee benefits from using this as a mentoring session, The Kennel Club has compiled the following guidelines:
- It is expected that the majority of one-to-one mentoring will take place at competitions where the mentor and mentee will observe the judging.
- Mentees must not be charged for any one-to-one mentoring session. Mentors may be attending the relevant event(s).
- Allocation of mentor to mentee - this will be arranged with The Kennel Club heelwork to music accredited trainers representative.
- The Kennel Club heelwork to music accredited trainers representative will provide the mentor with contact information of those they are mentoring.
- Mentors and Mentees should make contact before the mentoring session takes place to confirm arrangements and provide reasonable notice if there are any changes to the circumstances.
- As a matter courtesy the Mentor must let the competition organiser know that they will be attending the competition, mentoring judges.
- At the competition, the Mentor should consider where best to position themselves in order to obtain a good view and maintain confidentiality.
- For the first mentoring session, Mentees must be at the ringside at least ten minutes before judging starts of the designated class/ classes (dependent on entry numbers minimum of 10 competitive round to be observed).
- Mentees must arrive fully equipped to judge - with an up-to-date copy of the rules and be prepared to make notes on the class observed.
- Mentees must be available for feedback when judging has finished (time to be agreed with the mentor).
- At the end of the class when the results are published Mentor and Mentees should review the scoresheet and debrief with reference to the mentees scores and notes.
- The requirement for confidentiality when discussing routines must be emphasised by the Mentor and adhered to by both Mentor and Mentee.
- A copy of the Heelwork to Music Mentoring Record Form must be completed by the Mentor on the day the mentoring session takes place. This must be given to the mentee for their records. A copy must be sent by the mentee to The Kennel Club.
- Mentors must maintain all records of their Mentees.
- It is acceptable for the Mentor to work their dog(s) at a competition , provided they are able to spend sufficient time with the mentee. Classes that they are participating in cannot be discussed as part of the mentoring session
One-to-one mentoring guidelines - method of mentoring
- The mentor should be able to effectively use their in-depth knowledge of the judging heelwork to music to assist mentees in understanding the finer points of judging to enable them to put this knowledge to future use when in a judging scenario.
- The duration of mentoring sessions should be adapted to suit the needs of the mentee, taking into consideration the setting. Sufficient time must be devoted to watching a meaningful entry.
- A mentoring session should encourage a two-way dialogue between mentor and mentee to ensure that the Mentee has a good understanding of the knowledge of the judging criteria discussed by the end of the session.
- Mentees should be encouraged to express their thoughts and ask questions of the mentor.
- It may be necessary for mentors to prompt or encourage the Mentee to contribute to ensure they are actively participating.
- The emphasis should be placed on the mentoring session that the views of both parties (Mentor and Mentee) are equally valid and Mentees should feel able to ask any questions they deem valid to progressing their knowledge of the judging criteria and to express their opinion.
- Mentors should encourage the mentee to verbally critique routines to them.
- The Mentor should reference The Kennel Club Heelwork to Music Rules and Regulations where necessary and Judges’ Guide and Code Of Conduct.
- The Mentor should highlight any pertinent issues and health considerations.
- The mentor should highlight any pertinent issues related to judging practices where applicable.
- Care should be taken to ensure that any conversations about the routines being observed are not overheard by other individuals and are described tactfully.
- Mentors should provide an impartial view of all routines and not favour or be highly critical.
- Mentors should always reference the Guide To Judges, Rules and Regulations (L) and The Code of Good Conduct when referring to material related for future learning to enhance the candidates understanding.
- The Mentor and Mentee needs to be present for the entire judging of the class ( classes if necessary).
- Once the judging is complete the Mentor and Mentee should discuss the class; giving their opinions of the routines placed and their overall thoughts on the class whilst they are both at the competition and in a private area.
- The emphasis should be that during the mentoring session that the views of both parties (Mentor and Mentee) are equally valid and Mentees should feel able to ask any questions they deem valid to progressing their knowledge.
- There is no need for the mentee and Mentor to agree on placings, what is important is the reasoning for placings.
- It is expected that mentees will make notes and refer to them when discussing the routines with the mentor.
- These discussions must be confidential and should allow the mentor to discuss all relevant points and answer questions from the mentee.
- The mentor must provide positive feedback that will enable the mentee to grow and develop with confidence - this does not mean that the Mentor cannot point out any gaps in the Mentee’s knowledge and application of the Rules and Regulations.
Student judge mentoring guidelines
A mentor judge should ideally not undertake the role if they have not previously judged Crufts or have a proven track record of judging at all levels and divisions. Care should be taken in who is appointed as a mentor judge.
Only mentees who have attended and passed the Rules and Regulations seminar may then complete their mentoring sessions.
To ensure Mentee benefit from this role as a mentoring session, The Kennel Club has compiled the following guidelines:
- Discussion should take place before judging commences regarding the class level and division to ensure the mentee fully understand the class they are observing.
- As above, discussion should also take place before judging as to how the mentoring process will be conducted, i.e. in which class the mentee will be mock judging . A common sense approach should be applied dependent on the size of the entry and the smooth running of the show.
- Following the completion of judging, the mentor and mentee should retire to a private place where their discussions cannot be overheard to complete the required paper work.
- Any discussions that take place around the ring must be done in a thoughtful way, confidentiality should be observed and care taken not to make remarks that might upset a competitor.
Method of mentoring
- The mentor should ask questions of the Mentee during the judging process to establish the extent of their knowledge of the class to progress in their education, subject to prior agreement between the mentor and student judge.
- Mentees are encouraged to ask questions of the mentor, relating to the class, during the judging process, including reasons for placings, subject to maintaining a duty of care and confidentiality.
- The mentee should be encouraged to write down how they would score and share this with the mentor once judging has concluded.
- The Mentor must complete the Mentoring Record Form (Appendix ?). The Mentee may also add their comments and upload this form to their online account, with a copy sent to The Kennel Club for their records.
Further information and questions
For more information, and to be paired with a mentor, please contactAnn De Rizzio .
There are a number of resources which you can purchase to help assist you with your judging.
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Other useful resources which are free and you can take a look at are: