Posted Date: October 3, 2017
A profile of Cynosport Judge Becky Dean!
This week we'll be featuring profiles of all of our excellent Cynosport judges. First up is Becky Dean:
Where do you live?
and I moved to Dublin, Ohio, which is a suburb of Columbus, Ohio, twenty-five
years ago after I accepted a job offer (and where I still work). We were finishing up our respective graduate
studies in Greeley, Colorado, where we had a cheap apartment with a magnificent
view of the front range. So, the
decision was to continue our life of eating bologna, a loaf of bread and a enjoying
a great view, or go back to our flat-lander roots and hope to buy a house. We chose the latter.
We both hope
that we'll be to move back west in the next decade and until then, it's a real treat
for me to be asked to judge in Washington, Oregon, and Colorado, and I hope to
judge in Idaho, Utah and/or Nevada before I hang up the whistle for good.
How did you get involved in agility and how
long have you been involved?
other folks after we bought our house, we wanted to add a dog and I had grown up
with a Norwegian Elkhound, and my husband had Labrador Retrievers. We assessed the size of our backyard, and I
happened to be taking aerobics classes with a woman who ran agility and
introduced me to a Pembroke breeder.
That was in 1997, and we waited nine months for a puppy and the best pregnancy
*ever*. I began competing in 2000, when
the A-frame for 12", Championship dogs was 6'3", and before rubberized
What types of dogs do you have and what are
their names, ages, and any titles?
have 3 dogs - all female corgis (pictured above).
- Drew, Cardigan Welsh Corgi, 13-years old,
recently retired from agility
- Amelia, Cardigan Welsh Corgi, seven-and-a-half-years old
- Audrey, Pembroke Welsh Corgi, three-and-a-half-years old
They all are
active in various dog sports, and have brought home many pieces of ribbon and received
envelopes that bear the "Do Not Bend" label on them. They tend to enjoy the boxes from Clean Run
the most and let me ooh and aah over the decorated PVC bars and parchment
What do you do in your "other" non-agility
I have two
graduate degrees - one in viola performance (yes, I have made it to Carnegie Hall
by practicing), and the other in library science. I work at the Online Computer Library Center,
which works with libraries around the world.
It's a pretty cool job, and one where you have no idea of what project
is going to hit your in-box next. I am a
product analyst and I write and test requirements for software developers. I am also part of a group of 30 staff technical
staff that the company is sending through an online Data Science certification
program, offered through The Ohio State University, and it's been interesting
to be an adult student in an online classroom.
It's been a long time since I worried about my grades.
How long have you been a judge?
I took the
USDAA judge's test in January of 2003, and I remember watching the Super Bowl
in the hotel room after the clinic was over.
I choose to stay as a Starters/Advanced judge for about six years before
wanting to test for Masters judging. I'm
very glad I followed that path - I learned a lot from all the Masters judges I
worked with, and am grateful for their insights along the way.
What do you enjoy most about being a judge?
A lot of things - not
sure there is just one, but it's a beautiful moment when you see a dog and
human truly trust each other - you trust your dog to execute the skill, and the
dog understanding and executing the information you provided. Doesn't matter what level dog - starters
through masters challenge or venue - it's that amazing understanding of "got it"
between the team, which is what we work for in our training and practice.
find that judging helps me keep things in perspective, and it also makes me
reflective. Wherever I go, I must get a
picture of a sunrise, and there have been more than one occasion where I pull
off the road (or ask the driver to pull over) to get that perfect shot. I've also truly come to embrace there is
always something new to learn, and there are always two sides to a story.
What events will you be judging at
they tell me to judge. I understand I'll be judging the courses I was asked to
design (Steeplechase, Relay, and Junior Handlers) in addition to some of the
courses designed by the other judges.
How do you approach designing courses for
experience for me - I'm not used to seeing the design requirements "only use
jumps in this area" and "do not put an A-frame or dogwalk here" and reasonable
areas of the ring bounded by a semi-circle and you know, something about needing
to be able to set up quickly for awards.
For Steeplechase, it made it a little tricky for me, given that there
are three uni-directional obstacles, you can only re-use two single jumps, and
one big obstacle that must be used twice.
(And a partridge in a pear tree??)
Oh, and you need to be able to see everything ... (sigh ...the devil is in
And you want
it to be a very flowy course, get the dogs into extension, the handlers gasping
for air at the end, and enough time to clap and get back to your judging
position do it over and over again. You
don't want to have 30 miles on your Fitbit -well, okay, let's be honest - you
don't want to be the judge who made *another* judge log 30 miles on their Fitbit.
Do you have any tips or advice for
Cynosport competitors, especially ones competing at the event for the first
- Pace yourself.
- Breathe in, breathe out.
- Repeat often.
What are you most looking forward about
Cynosport this year?
some beautiful sunrises, the amazing teams, seeing old friends, meeting new
ones, remembering friends and dogs who are not competing in the sport, or are
longer with us, and toasting everyone with a good margarita.