With so many new people getting into dog sports such as IGP/IPO and Ringsports, I always get questions asking if it is ok to ask the judge a question prior to your showing. Here is the answer.
Normally at a championship (during the draw) all judges will be introduced and will stand up and talk a little about what they expect to see out of a performance. They normally open up the floor for any last minute questions. Of course at a smaller club trial there is normally no draw, but I have NEVER seen a judge not happy to answer questions, especially to first timers. (also old timers like me)
When I am judging Mondioring, I ALWAYS make it a point to have a special handlers briefing with the first timers. Mainly to break the ice, answer some questions and let them know what I expect. Sometimes in IGP/IPO a judge will do the same, especially for the people doing a BH. Now there is a time and place for this and it is NOT during your performance. In my experience I have NEVER met a judge who would not take a minute to answer a question. Here are some tips if you would like to ask a judge a question.
1) Ask the coordinator of the trial if there is a good time you could ask the judge something.
2) Normally you can catch a judge in the morning and politely ask them if you could ask a question.
3) Make sure you can clearly state your question.
4) Don’t forget there are no dumb questions
5) Always remember even the judge was a beginner at one point!
So in short if you are unclear on a rule, make sure you ask about it. Just remember it does not look good during a performance to be asking question!!