Each year the SMWC teams up with the Michigan Sporting Dog Association (MSDA) to host an excellent Judges Education Seminar for Conformation Judges. This is a great event that is well appreciated by the judges who attend.  

Ever watch a dog show and wonder what the judges are looking for; how they choose their favorite? While the primary focus is education for the judges, this is also an excellent opportunity to learn about the sport of Conformation so come on out and watch!

This year the SMWC is participating on Saturday, June 20th and would welcome any and all interested persons to attend. We will be at the Ortonville State Recreation Area: 

5867 Hadley Rd., Ortonville, MI 48461


Judges will be exploring our breed at 8am, 9:30am, 1:30pm and 3:00pm.


It is great for them to have multiple types of dogs to examine as they learn about our breed. 

Please contact us for more information about the event and how you can help!

 An Article about the 2010 MSDA Seminars

The following is an article written by Katherine Grant for publication in Canada 


Judges’ Education Done Right! 

The Michigan Sporting Dog Association Seminars and Field Work Demonstrations 

What do you get when you take one dedicated and hard working sporting dog enthusiast and seminar organizer (Kathy Wiecha), 23 sporting breeds, double that number of parent club breeders and mentors and put them in an idyllic hunting and fishing lodge setting for a weekend along with more than 50 judges and aspiring judges?  You get an exemplary judges’ education experience and surprisingly at no cost to participants! 

On June 26-27, 2010 I had the pleasure of attending a judges’ education weekend that included presentations by breed experts, hands on learning and field work demonstrations.  Several other Canadian judges, including Mel and Joan Beech, Donna Conod, Joe and Janet Lobb, Wendy Schira and Doug Windsor were also in attendance.  This educational event was held at the Hunters Creek Club in Metamora, Michigan which is located about an hours drive from the Sarnia/Port Huron border crossing and an ideal setting in which to learn the finer points of form and function of the sporting breeds.  

With 22 breeds represented (Barbet, Brittany, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Clumber Spaniel, American and English Cocker Spaniels, English and Welsh Springer Spaniels, Flat Coated Retriever, Curly Coated Retriever, German Shorthaired Pointer, German Wirehaired Pointer, Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Irish Red and White Setter, Labrador Retriever, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, Pointer, Spinoni Italiani, Viszla, Weimaraner, Wirehaired Pointing Griffon), it was not difficult to choose 8 different breeds for study over the two days.  More difficult, I’m sure, was the scheduling of those breeds and judges into 22 rings whilst ensuring that each participant got their chosen breeds and each study group had no more than 4 people in it.  Mel and Joan Beech noted that this format provided a “Great opportunity for intimate conversations with excellent breeders about their dogs.  Small numbers allowed for more interaction both ways.  We especially enjoyed the field and water exhibitions; seeing the dogs at work was a good overview for the conformation ring.” 

The highlight of the weekend for me was the opportunity to examine and discuss the merits of about twenty Curly Coated Retrievers that ranged in age from 8 weeks to 13 years with breed mentor, Mary Meek.  Sue Clemons, Donna Conod and I enjoyed some lively debates as we tried to come to consensus on our placements of the classes that Mary presented to us.  It was a real treat and great learning experience to be able to examine that number of quality dogs in a breed that is seldom seen on this side of the border.  Most breeds had half a dozen or more quality dogs of a range of ages present for examination and breed mentors did not just regurgitate the breed standard but instead highlighted the points of conformation that were essential for breed type.     

During the two hour lunch break each day, field work demonstrations on both land and water allowed us to observe sporting dogs doing the job they were intended to do and helped cement our learning by increasing our understanding of how form and function are related.  From the methodical hunting style of the Clumber Spaniel to the flash and speed of the Brittany, we were treated to the spectacle of sporting dogs doing what they were bred to do.  Watching a Chesapeake Bay Retriever work in water and then with a few shakes of its body be nearly dry impressed upon us the importance of proper coat.  The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever demonstrated tolling along the shoreline and the need for an active, agile dog with stamina became clearer.  The importance of a biddable, good natured temperament became apparent as we watched dogs of several different breeds working off lead on land and in the water without interfering with one another. 

The organizers of this event left nothing to chance….from the coffee and cold drinks that was always available to the tasty lunch provided on site (a bargain at $12) and the complementary afternoon cakes to the well organized schedule and the pre-event communication, this learning weekend was superb from start to finish.  All participants received a large canvas tote bag filled with presentation material on the breeds they had studied as well as certificates of attendance.  A big thank you goes out to Kathy Wiecha and the Michigan Sporting Dog Association for a very well organized and well executed weekend of judges’ education!  I’m looking forward to attending again in 2011! 

Kathrine Grant has been involved in showing and breeding dogs since 1978 and has bred Irish Setters and Smooth Fox Terriers and currently lives with two Pointers and husband Dan.  She is a licensed judge of Groups 1, 2 and 4 and on permit  for half of Group 7.

Feed Back from the Judges (sent via the MSDA):

"...Thank you again for all the hard work you, the members of the Sporting Group and all the breeds that participated!!!

It is a great venue and you do a great job."


"...this was the most impressive thing I have witnessed in a long time. Words cannot express what you put together. Truly amazing every aspect of it from the food to the staff to the mentors the grounds everything was wonderful. You should be so proud. It was amazing to be part of it and something that will stay with us for time to come."


"Words cannot express how I enjoyed the entire event. It was the best seminar or seminars that I have ever attended, including the AKC and Penta's Institutes. You are the best. Thank you so very much for all that you do. The AKC should take lessons from you on how to put on an event. Everything was perfect and I love you for it. Looking forward to next year and I thank you again."

 

"thank you so much, it was a great weekend, I really learned a lot and enjoyed it so much."

 

"Once again you organized a fantastic learning experience for everyone!  I personally greatly appreciate all the hard work you put into making sure that this event was well done.   The small group learning experience was a great plus and the field demonstrations were wonderful to watch.  I also thought that having two days instead of one was a plus...

Thank You"



"Wanted to express our appreciation for the excellent seminars...We very much enjoyed the dogs and the presenters.  The presenters' enthusiasm for their dogs and the breeds were evident.  Although I missed the Boykins, hooked up with the Clumbers and it was very informative from a "breeder's point of view" which I hope I can carry through to the ring. If you hold this event next year, we hope to be on board."

 

"I just want you to know that I enjoyed every minute of the seminars this past weekend.  Your dedication to the fancy is extraordinary, and believe me, we all appreciate all you do!  My friend Joan really enjoyed helping to sell raffle tickets...the luncheons were very well received, and the presenters all went the extra mile.   Future mailings?  Please keep me on your priority list of attendees...I was so happy I participated!  The 8 hr. drive was well worth the effort."

 

 

"Thank you again this year for another job well done.  The presentations were well done and much information was received. Again thank you for a great weekend."



"I don't know when I have enjoyed anything more or felt more welcome than at the seminar.  Thank you for everything." 

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