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General => General Discussion => Topic started by: Kyle on February 11, 2014, 10:40:28 AM

Title: Gate Stewarding
Post by: Kyle on February 11, 2014, 10:40:28 AM
This should really be titled "What I Have Learned About Being a Gate Steward".   ;D  And it's being written because one of my favorite judges - Janet Ooms - gave me a little pat on the back that got me to hummin' around in my head about the job. I understand there's a whole lot of different styles folks use when handling this job, and I know that at a FunRaiser there is no Gate Steward. Actually, my favorite job at a trial is gating the Novice classes. I just love those folks! They ROCK! So keeping the Novices in mind, here's some things to help them along their way on to their runs.

There's 3 "biggies" to the job - making sure the Scribe knows what dog is about to run, easing exhibitors' confusion about when to run and getting the next dog on the line in order to save time.

The Scribe's job is one of the hardest (IMHO!), so to make their life a little easier and to make sure "Fluffy" doesn't get scored instead of "Floppy", we need to have good, clear communication with our Ring Crew team member! If there are scratches or a dog was originally listed in the wrong jump height, try to let the Scribe know before the class starts, during a jump height change or between dogs. Don't try to give "extra" info to the Scribe when they are concentrating on the judge's calls during a run.

When it comes to the run order sheets, also known as "Gate Sheets", I have a little different opinion than some folks who Gate do. I figure those lists are not for me to control, they are for the exhibitors to use. I usually stay out of the way after the walk through for the Elite folks to move their dogs around on the list for their ease in getting their second (or third!) dog in a comfortable order. I'll help the Novice folks out just because they *are* Novices.   ;)

When the class is running, I make sure to step way over to the *side* of the board, giving a clear 180 degrees of viewing to the exhibitors. I like to allow the exhibitors to be able to see the board themselves without having to cram up close, trying to look over my shoulder just to see the run order. If the gate is standing/hovering right smack dab in front of the board it can cause a dangerous situation. That forces handlers who want to check the order to crowd their dogs all together in about a 6 foot area in front of the board. Not a safe situation!

If you allow the space in front of the board to be clear, those of us exhibitors with short term memory (like all of 3 seconds in a trial situation!), can check the order as often as we like - from a *safe* distance. We don't have to keep asking the Gate...over and over...and feeling like an idiot every time we do! If you're not micromanaging the exhibitors, you then have the time to let the Scribe know the dog on the line and to get the next dog there when it's time.

Please don't call out 6 or 8 or 10 dogs names in order....none of us who are focusing on our course are going to be able to remember! (Half the time our dog's name is mispronounced so we don't "get it" anyway!  ???) Stick to just calling out the next 3 or 4. If you're gating Novice, a good thing to do is point at each dog as you do it. That's for the handlers who don't know all the dogs yet, won't remember the name of the dog in front of them but they *will* remember what it (or the handler) looks like! If a handler comes up and asks who the dog in front of them is, don't just say the dog's name, show the dog to the handler. That will relieve a lot of anxiety for our Novices.

Figure out the course you're gating for and find a good place on it to send the next dog to the line. Make sure you're not asking the next dog to be walking in when the dog running is coming *at* them. Usual good timing would be about 4-6 obstacles before the end of the course. The Novice folks *like* to be told at which obstacle they should head out to the line. So make a little "announcement" to the group that's waiting in line every once in awhile. It is your job to get that dog to the line in a timely fashion so your judge isn't waiting waaaiting waaaaaiting for the next dog. You may not be on your feet all day, but your judge is! Plus, don't we *all* want to get home before bedtime???

Handlers are pretty focused on their courses, making sure they are there in time and are *not* watching their dogs carefully! (Case in point: It was *almost* "Pomeranian vs. Pit Bull" last weekend until the old "group dog trainer" in me hollered "Keep your dogs 6 feet apart!!!". Couldn't help myself...I "reverted to original training"!) I kind of figure the line up area is up to me to make sure is a safe place for everyone. The handlers aren't usually thinking about it, so someone has to! Just keep your eyes open and say something when needed. Earlier is better than later....

In closing, there's no need to be a "Gate Nazi" (as a dear friend calls it). Smile! Enjoy the dogs! Enjoy the handlers! Be as stress free as you can, making it as stress free for the handlers (and dogs!) as possible. Don't forget - step AWAY from the board! My dogs and I will thank you!

Sincerely looking forward to seeing your run from the best spot in the house,
Kyle
Title: Re: Gate Stewarding
Post by: LeeAnne McAdam on February 11, 2014, 03:23:17 PM
Great information, Kyle!  Competent gate folks are worth double their weight in gold!
Title: Re: Gate Stewarding
Post by: MoabDiane on February 11, 2014, 04:01:02 PM
GREAT post!  This is one of my pet peeves - both doing it and listening to others do it! (or in some cases, not HEARING because they're not really calling out names where anyone can hear).

I do think that it's helpful to have an experienced handler gate for Novice, and novice people can gate for the more advanced classes, as those folks should have a "better" clue about what to do.
I also like gating for novice for many of the reasons that Kyle listed. The idea of standing to the side so people can see the list is SO important - and doesn't happen all too often.

I also think it's helpful to learn the dogs and people - so if Susie and Fluffy are standing by, you don't need to holler for them. I will often walk over to the next person (or next to next person), and say, "This is Fluffy, right? [Then they know that YOU know and you don't stand there hollering for Fluffy, when the person isn't paying attention.] You may go in when the dog in front of you finishes the XXX obstacle."  Then they also know that you are watching and helping them get ready.

I also like it when the gate steward uses a big fat pen to cross off the dogs that have run or are in the ring at the moment.  Then, I can see that, knowing we are the first 16" dog, that they are about halfway through the height before, and I should be ready! 

Maybe instructors could pass on some of this info to their students, and being a GS wouldn't be so intimidating!
Thanks, Kyle!
diane
Title: Re: Gate Stewarding
Post by: Becky Woodruff on February 11, 2014, 08:42:22 PM
Great post Kyle.
Thanks!
Becky
Title: Re: Gate Stewarding
Post by: Wild Terriers on February 11, 2014, 10:01:57 PM
Kyle - you rock!  And, your posts always make me smile - thank you!

Karen and the Wild Terriers
Title: Re: Gate Stewarding
Post by: James Bell on February 11, 2014, 10:29:15 PM
So, I've heard varying opinions on gate stewards calling out next 3 to 4. I've always used the "x is online (directed primarily at the scribe), y is on deck, z is in the hole, a be thinking about it." with variations ("course builders be thinking about it).  Too many years around roping events. :-)   Most Novice folks seem to be good with it, heck some of them are giggling about being in the hole or their dog thinking about it, but you do get the occasional folks who think it's an issue for noise sensitive dogs. Maybe it's just because my voice tends to carry. :-)
Title: Re: Gate Stewarding
Post by: Sharon Nelson on February 11, 2014, 10:37:49 PM
I love those trials that are well organized and have that amazing gate steward that you never hear once during the entire trial! No human names being yelled and no dog names being yelled.  Yet those dogs are right there, ready to walk in when it is their time to enter the ring!  Love it!!  I will go out of my way to attend trials with quiet gate stewards and tend to avoid any that have the "yellers" handling the organization of who's next in the ring.  Sorry, just MHO and it makes a big difference on where I will travel.

Sharon
Title: Re: Gate Stewarding
Post by: Alanna Leach on February 12, 2014, 06:06:28 AM
Totally agree with Sharon.  A 'yeller' at the gate affects the tone of the trial.

Alanna


Sent by Alanna Leach from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
Title: Re: Gate Stewarding
Post by: Linda W. Anderson on February 12, 2014, 08:19:29 AM
I had an interesting experience this past weekend while gating.  In the past, I have been accused of being a "yeller" and have tried to really tone it down.  I try to know who the next two dogs are and where their handlers are standing so I could make sure they went to the line at the right time. 

This weekend, I was told to yell out the names because people couldn't hear me by an exhibitor who wasn't even in that class. 

My suggestion to exhibitors would be to let the gate steward do their job.  Just because they aren't yelling out five or six names every time a dog goes to the line doesn't mean they don't know what is going on or that the handlers don't know when their turn is coming up. 

I do like the suggestion about using a wide marker to mark off the dogs who have already run and also to stand to the side so exhibitors can see the run order and will follow those suggestions next time I serve as a gate steward.
Linda
Title: Re: Gate Stewarding
Post by: Rsquared on February 12, 2014, 08:36:17 AM
Great post, Kyle!  I especially liked your observation about giving a wide berth around the board so that people could check the run order.  This past weekend I practically had to pry the gate steward off the board to see the order.  I remember wondering if I was guilty of the same thing and made a note to give more space in the future.  Similarly, whoever taught me to gate steward said I needed to be yelling out the dogs' names.  I will try to be less vocal in the future while still getting out the necessary info. to the scribe and competitors!

R2
Title: Re: Gate Stewarding
Post by: Gary Visintainer on February 12, 2014, 08:38:16 AM
Great post Kyle, thanks.
Title: Re: Gate Stewarding
Post by: Pam Kaye on February 12, 2014, 10:37:49 AM
Long ago, we used to trial with a dog named Ace.  Richard used to love to gate steward so he could say "Ace in the hole".

Simple pleasures...
Title: Re: Gate Stewarding
Post by: Richard Wolfe on February 12, 2014, 12:12:20 PM
Anecdote about Gate Nazis and why I don't like to attend trials with 2 simultaneous ring.  This is from 7 years ago or so.

I have always run 3 or 4 dogs and mostly ran them all in every run.  I was nearing a milestone with Sparkle and needed the Regular run very badly.  Regular was in the priority ring.  I had taken Sparkle out to do business and warm up and she wasn't cooperating about getting her job done.
The gate steward for the non-priority ring came outside and started yelling for me.  I answered and she said we need ???? in the other ring.  I told her that I was due up in the priority ring shortly.  She yelled, "we need you down there now."  I repeated that I was due in the priority ring.  She said, "were getting ready to change the course and need you NOW!!"  I said that I needed this run and told her to scratch the run in the other ring and she said,  "WE'RE NOT GOING TO DO THAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"  I just shook my head and said, whatever.  I went in and promptly butchered the Regular course because after obstacle 3, which was obvious, I had no earthly idea where the course went after the previous exchange.     Thankfully, that problem has gone away.   ARGGH!
Title: Re: Gate Stewarding
Post by: LeeAnne McAdam on February 12, 2014, 12:51:55 PM
Long ago, we used to trial with a dog named Ace.  Richard used to love to gate steward so he could say "Ace in the hole".

Simple pleasures...

We have Sarah Fix and Fire in our neck of the woods...but the story is the same!
Title: Re: Gate Stewarding
Post by: runningmadly on February 12, 2014, 01:02:59 PM
Great explanation about gating.  This is a bit off the topic but one of the things that I find frustrating about gating is when a team will refuse to go to the line when asked. Gating is a great job and as Kyle said, it is the gate's job to get the dog to the line in a timely fashion - I feel like the handler should be at the line ready to take the leash and collar off as soon as the judge says good luck and not wait until the judge says good luck and then walk to the line.  There have been times when I have asked the team to move to the line and they say no or they don't want to go in until the other dog is out of the ring.  These teams are definitely in the minority, most teams are great about it, but it only takes a few to really start to slow things down.  It is very helpful when judges brief how important it is to go to the line when the gate steward asks.

Pat Moloney-Harmon
Baltimore MD

Title: Re: Gate Stewarding
Post by: mymixkc on February 12, 2014, 03:28:39 PM
I love it when someone takes the time to compile all this into one place!
Great job!
I would add:

as an exhibitor;
1) For me, it helps a lot if the big fat marker used to cross dogs' names off is a nice bright color (red, royal blue, PURPLE). That way if I know my dog is halfway down the second page, I can see from afar whether we're getting "close" or if I'm good hanging back for a little bit before I approach the board for a closer look.

and when working the gate;
2) Gate Stewards around here are also responsible for notifying the ring crew when a jump height change is needed. That's about the only "shouting" I do when working this job.... "Last dog this height!".... "Jumps to ___-inches!" or "Last dog this class!"

Everything else, I prefer to manage quietly getting everyone in their proper order and letting them know at the appropriate time "You may enter the ring now" only if it appears they don't already know when to go in.
I'll also remind the exhibitor if there will be a height change just before they run if they seem to not be aware, so they don't have to "hurry up and wait" while the jumps get set.

Good topic!
Title: Re: Gate Stewarding
Post by: dogrsqr on February 14, 2014, 07:18:23 AM
I LOVE the yellers!!!!  I don't want to have to go anywhere near the gate board because there's usually a crowd around it.  I am usually somewhere in a corner working with my dog waiting for my turn and I just want to go right from my corner to the ring. 

I really, really, really hate it when you have a soft spoken gate person who stands directly in front of the board.  Now I can't see where we are and can't hear where we are.  Makes for an extra special crabby Gina!

Gina Pizzo and Abbey
Title: Re: Gate Stewarding
Post by: gm5bkc on February 15, 2014, 08:23:59 PM
Please don't forget that it is up to the handler to do what is best for their dog.  The handler may need to wait off to the side if their dog is nervous about a nearby dog in line.  They may need to hang back from entering the ring until the previous team is completely off the course for the same reason.  The handler can't let the gate steward push them into a dangerous situation!
Title: Re: Gate Stewarding
Post by: Sharon Nelson on February 15, 2014, 09:30:07 PM
Please don't forget that it is up to the handler to do what is best for their dog.  The handler may need to wait off to the side if their dog is nervous about a nearby dog in line.  They may need to hang back from entering the ring until the previous team is completely off the course for the same reason.  The handler can't let the gate steward push them into a dangerous situation!

Actually, a team cannot do that.  If a handler does not enter the ring when asked, they can be and should be eliminated.   If entering a ring puts them in a dangerous situation then either that team should not be competing or the team that ran right before them should not be competing.

A judge tells the gate steward when they want the next team to enter the ring.  If the team refuses to enter when told, they are supposed to indicate to the judge that the team refused to enter.  The team should be eliminated for not entering the ring.  If the handler explains that they are afraid of the previous team, then the judge will talk to that team to find out just which dog of the two teams seems "dangerous".

If a dog and handler cannot enter the ring in a controlled manner and be safe doing so, then NADAC is not the best pick as a venue.  NADAC is very strict about aggressive dogs, dangerous dogs and out of control dogs not being allowed to compete.

If a competitor feels that their dog is at risk because of another dog at the trial, then they should send a letter of concern to NADAC and we will contact the other team and let them know that there are some concerns about their dog's potential behavior.  Sometimes everyone stays quiet when they know for a fact that a particular dog is dangerous to others at the finish or the start.  The competitors should also help in reporting the dogs in question and maybe the owners will work on getting more control over their dogs.  If no one ever says anything, then more and more dangerous dogs will be competing.

At a NADAC trial it is "mandatory" that the entering dog must be in the ring before the finishing dog leaves the ring.  They are not to remove their leash until directed to do so by the "Good luck" indicator, but they must be inside the ring area before the previous dog leaves the ring.  Anyone not complying may choose to wait and enter late after the previous dog leaves, but at that time they have chosen an elimination for their run.

Sharon
Title: Re: Gate Stewarding
Post by: Lark Pollari on February 15, 2014, 09:52:00 PM
Pam...I remember that dog very well!  :)

Lark
Title: Re: Gate Stewarding
Post by: Kyle on February 16, 2014, 07:07:12 AM
I honestly didn't really understand about the next dog having to be *in* the ring before the previous dog leaves so I will admit to something... Since, when gating, I am trying to keep an eye on the dog running so I can tell the next person to go to the line, I might realize the dog running isn't under good (or any!) control. If I see that, I have (on several occasions!) kept the next person right next to me at the entrance to the ring until the leash has been put on and the dog is under control *and then* sent them to the line.

So what can I do, as Gate Steward, if I honestly don't think it's a safe situation *myself* to send the dog into the ring? It would be *my* fault, not the next dog's owner, and therefore *I* should take the blame, not them. I have no problem taking that blame if it saves all of us from an unsafe situation.

Buuuut, the way it's being worded, if, as the Gate, I'm uncomfortable about the dog who is running, I guess I could get the next dog *1 step* into the ring and stand there with them (as some sort of "protection"  :)) and they wouldn't get eliminated, right? And when the previous dog is leashed quickly get the next dog onto the line? Would that work?

Just trying to be safe and not get anyone eliminated,
Kyle
Title: Re: Gate Stewarding
Post by: Amy McGovern on February 16, 2014, 07:19:26 AM
Actually, a team cannot do that.  If a handler does not enter the ring when asked, they can be and should be eliminated.   If entering a ring puts them in a dangerous situation then either that team should not be competing or the team that ran right before them should not be competing.

Sharon,

What if a dog isn't going into the ring because the person running asked them to wait?  Should the one holding back (because asked to do so) be E'd?  This situation (but not the E, thank goodness) has happened to my us before.  The most frequent reason is that it is my son (junior handler, in perfect control of his dog) and the person before says their dog doesn't like kids.  Should my son get an E for being a kid and especially listening to the adult who made a reasonable request? If he doesn't follow the persons instructions, he is possibly risking his or his dog's safety by going in the ring.  How should he handle it? 

-Amy and the schnauzers
Title: Re: Gate Stewarding
Post by: Sharon Nelson on February 16, 2014, 08:07:31 PM

Sharon,

What if a dog isn't going into the ring because the person running asked them to wait?  Should the one holding back (because asked to do so) be E'd?  This situation (but not the E, thank goodness) has happened to my us before.  The most frequent reason is that it is my son (junior handler, in perfect control of his dog) and the person before says their dog doesn't like kids.  Should my son get an E for being a kid and especially listening to the adult who made a reasonable request? If he doesn't follow the persons instructions, he is possibly risking his or his dog's safety by going in the ring.  How should he handle it? 

-Amy and the schnauzers

If you mean the handler in front of them, you can politely say "I have to enter when the gate steward tells me to enter" and if they ask again, then don't enter!!  But be sure to tell the steward that the person running in front of you doesn't want you in the ring with them....... so it is "their" problem not yours!

I sure don't want a dog at trials if they are dangerous to kids!  It is one thing if a child is being disruptive and squealing and running in the crating area, I can see a handler asking a parent to control their children.  But if a JH just "being" there is a problem then the problem dog needs to not run.

Sharon
Title: Re: Gate Stewarding
Post by: Sharon Nelson on February 16, 2014, 08:11:48 PM
I honestly didn't really understand about the next dog having to be *in* the ring before the previous dog leaves so I will admit to something... Since, when gating, I am trying to keep an eye on the dog running so I can tell the next person to go to the line, I might realize the dog running isn't under good (or any!) control. If I see that, I have (on several occasions!) kept the next person right next to me at the entrance to the ring until the leash has been put on and the dog is under control *and then* sent them to the line.

So what can I do, as Gate Steward, if I honestly don't think it's a safe situation *myself* to send the dog into the ring? It would be *my* fault, not the next dog's owner, and therefore *I* should take the blame, not them. I have no problem taking that blame if it saves all of us from an unsafe situation.

Buuuut, the way it's being worded, if, as the Gate, I'm uncomfortable about the dog who is running, I guess I could get the next dog *1 step* into the ring and stand there with them (as some sort of "protection"  :)) and they wouldn't get eliminated, right? And when the previous dog is leashed quickly get the next dog onto the line? Would that work?

Just trying to be safe and not get anyone eliminated,
Kyle

Yes, if you see the previous dog out of control, then do not let the next dog enter!!  The judge will agree with you. Most judges should have some type of signal for you to give if the competitor is refusing to enter when asked.  If they haven't entered and you are not signaling the judge, then they will assume that it is something that is out of control of the next handler and they are not at fault.  Occasionally a judge will come to the gate steward and ask "what was happening with that red BC?  Why didn't they enter the ring?"  But if you are signaling the judge for a refusal to enter, then they know that the person about to run has refused to enter the ring when told.

Sharon
Title: Re: Gate Stewarding
Post by: Audri, Cee Cee, Lily, Toto, and Calypso on February 17, 2014, 09:46:58 AM
I LOVE the yellers!!!!  I don't want to have to go anywhere near the gate board because there's usually a crowd around it.  I am usually somewhere in a corner working with my dog waiting for my turn and I just want to go right from my corner to the ring. 

I really, really, really hate it when you have a soft spoken gate person who stands directly in front of the board.  Now I can't see where we are and can't hear where we are.  Makes for an extra special crabby Gina!

Gina Pizzo and Abbey

I am with Gina on this one!  I also sit way in the back corner of the gate area.  I don't want to bring either of my dogs near that gate board.  I want to be able to hang back and keep my dog focused and calm.  When I hear my dog's name about the 4th one down, I start walking towards the gate.  Also, many times when I am standing in line waiting my turn (I am the next up or so) there are a lot of dogs barking and crowding around the board to see when they run.  This crowds my dogs at the time that they are getting to run.  Calling out the names loud enough so everyone can hear eliminates the crowding at the gate.
Title: Re: Gate Stewarding
Post by: LeeAnne McAdam on February 17, 2014, 01:30:20 PM
I have a dog who I wouldn't dream of putting in the middle of a crowd anytime, but especially right before we run...so I make it a point to make sure I know who the three or four dogs ahead of him are.  That way I can hang back wherever I need to be with him and just glance now and again to see where my "marker" dogs are.  Then I don't have to be by the board and the gate steward doesn't have to yell for me either.  Of course it does help that most of the trials we go to are small enough that everybody knows everybody and it isn't really an issue.
Title: Re: Gate Stewarding
Post by: Jeannie Biggers on February 18, 2014, 05:34:57 AM
In Montana we trial mostly in barns so space is limited. We all have a curtain system that we use. Has three waiting areas and can be seen from the entire barn. They honestly have made it so we almost don't have to have a gate steward and we don't have ten dogs mulling around wondering when it is their turn. There is generally no more than four or five dogs out waiting to run. Makes for a very relaxed trial setting.

Jeannie

Title: Re: Gate Stewarding
Post by: dogrsqr on February 18, 2014, 12:14:25 PM
In Montana we trial mostly in barns so space is limited. We all have a curtain system that we use. Has three waiting areas and can be seen from the entire barn. They honestly have made it so we almost don't have to have a gate steward and we don't have ten dogs mulling around wondering when it is their turn. There is generally no more than four or five dogs out waiting to run. Makes for a very relaxed trial setting.

Jeannie

I know lots of people like this system, but it would be anything but relaxing for me. I don't want to have to wait close to the ring while 2 or 3 dogs run.  I want to be away from the action working on being calm and quiet.  This is one of the things I most dislike about trials with no running order.  You can pretty much count on me being the last dog to run in those situations. 

Gina and Abbey (who thinks all turns should be hers)
Title: Re: Gate Stewarding
Post by: KarissaKS on February 19, 2014, 08:16:37 AM
I have found this discussion about "signals" between the gate person and the judge to be quite interesting -- because I typically end up working the gate for at least part of every trial and I have never heard of such a thing. It's also once in a blue moon where a judge will actually give me an obstacle on which to send in the next team.

Our trials are small and typically not pressed for time. We want everyone to be successful, so in the Novice classes especially I have never been one to push if someone is not comfortable going into the ring early. There are so many scenarios where this could be valid and not related to anyone being "aggressive" or "dangerous." Maybe a dog just gets nervous and stressed out at the start line and the handler is trying to avoid lingering there too long (and heaven knows this could be the case where the second-to-last obstacle on the course is the weave poles; what then?). Maybe you have a dog that starts barking when they enter the ring and you know that the dog in front of you is sound sensitive, in which case it's simply polite to be courteous and not ruin their run. Maybe you know the dog in front if you can be a little quirky about getting leashed at the end of the run sometimes and you choose not to be a distraction for them while they work through this.

I just don't see what the big deal is. Obviously a judge has every right to call "delay of game" if they see something egregious, but I think most of us are just trying to be polite and courteous to our fellow handlers. I will gladly take an E when I'm training stuff -- I have asked people to block exits, for example, and I know that's an automatic E. But these other little things are minor and in the grand scheme of things really not something to make a big fuss over.
Title: Re: Gate Stewarding
Post by: TheQuestKnight on February 19, 2014, 08:53:02 AM
I find this discussion interesting, only because it sooooooooooooooooo very much relates to the earlier "Direction Of Agility" and "Intro" threads.....................

In the Good Ol' Days, all of the "I don't like this, that or the other thing about how the gate steward is doing her/his job because this, that or the other thing distracts, upsets or does something else to my dog.........................in the Good Ol' Days, we'd call that a TRAINING ISSUE that was the handler's responsibility to work their dog through......................and then to ensure that their dog had been properly "proofed" for those conditions before entering a trial with "Q expectations"..........................

Someone stated the scribing is perhaps the hardest job, and I tend to agree with that....................I think that Gate Steward is the MOST THANKLESS job!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  No matter what the poor individual stuck with that job does, s/he are 100% certain to irritate, aggravate and/or p!$$ off a percentage of the exhibitors...........................

The best gate stewards that I've encounted over 25 years in agility ALL had their own "style" and their own tones of voice....................................some were "Gate Nazis"......................some were "sweet School-Marms"; but they all got the job done in a timely and efficient manner...............................and I started where all of the classes were timed as to how long they took, how many dogs ran, when the class started and ended......................and where answers needed to be provided to the venue for any glaring variations from the norm...........................

Most of our dogs have had "personal space" issues..................as in not wanting another dog's nose in their face or up their butt in a line-up........................well, it was then...............and is now.................up to US to position ourselves POLITELY between our dog and an overly-friendly/curious dog in a line-up...................and it's not hard to do!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  IMHO, dogs should not get "amped" simply by hearing a STRANGER'S voice call their name.........................and whatever happened to "Not your affair/business!" or "Leave it alone!"???

It really doesn't matter is one has a reactive dog, a timid dog, a sensitive dog or whatever kind of dog..........................the bottom line is.................has the dog been properly trained and PROOFED for the types of situations that the dog may/is likely to encounter??????????  If that answer is "No", then the fault lies with the owner/trainer/handler and no one else...................

It takes MUCH more than staying on course and performing the obstacles correctly to be successful in agility...........................in fact, staying on course and performing the obstacles correctly is the EASY part of the training that is required!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

JMHO,

Al & Pelli in Ohio
Title: Re: Gate Stewarding
Post by: Lin Battaglia on February 19, 2014, 09:39:48 AM
The Gate Stewarding job is very important at all trials. And common sense has be the guide. Perhaps the Trial Chair needs to make clear to Gate Ss which ring takes presidence.

No one has mentioned so far that it isn't a good thing when the Gate S yells the dog's name across the ring to the score table. It can be very distracting to the dog on the line when they hear someone yell their name just as they are about to run. Most people here know all the dogs but if not, we ask the handler to turn to the table and tell them the dogs name. Works great. The Gate S tells the hanlder when they step in the ring to give the dogs name to the table. Less stress without all the yelling. Being at the gate on time is the handlers responsiblity. We don't yell for dogs. The Gate S simply lines them up and keeps the que area free of dogs not running.

The Gate S keeps the trial moving along. There should be no specail treatment because they know one dog doesn't like the previous running dog or can't follow their friends dog or can't run before the other dog in their household etc etc...We expect people to run in the order posted unless they have more than one dog in the household and have to change out dogs. We have people with only one dog that can never seem to get to the line in time. It's frustrating. 

The Gate S can be helpful to the judge. Judges are very busy watching dogs coming and going but I think it's helpful if the Gate S can keep the run out area clear of other dogs. It's just common sense again. Also, pointing out to the leash runner when it's safe and not distracting to carry the leash across the ring.

Trials can't happen without volunteers....we love them all ! Working together makes fun happen.
Title: Re: Gate Stewarding
Post by: A Jussero on February 19, 2014, 10:54:04 AM
I like the three box line up system and both my highly anxious dogs (one is also quite vocal) have learned to be comfortable in these enclosed boxes while waiting.  Unfortunately, this does take space that may not be available to some facilities.  In that case, a gate steward who can holler out and keeps the running dogs marked off in color is appreciated so that congestion doesn't build. 
Title: Re: Gate Stewarding
Post by: gm5bkc on February 20, 2014, 08:01:32 AM
Because my dog Katie gets nervous waiting around in line, I try to stand off to the side, play with her  and watch the list getting crossed off.  So not blocking the view and crossing off runs with a big, thick marker are important to me :-)

But not all Gate Stewards can do it that way, some need to be close to the board to read the lists themselves!  Other competitors could sure help by not crowding around, though.
Title: Re: Gate Stewarding
Post by: Audri, Cee Cee, Lily, Toto, and Calypso on February 20, 2014, 12:30:22 PM

No one has mentioned so far that it isn't a good thing when the Gate S yells the dog's name across the ring to the score table. It can be very distracting to the dog on the line when they hear someone yell their name just as they are about to run.

T

Funny that you mentioned this, at Champs in 2011, for the first few runs, Lily kept looking around as she heard her name over the loudspeaker when Ken and company were talking about her.... ;D
Title: Re: Gate Stewarding
Post by: Leanne on February 20, 2014, 02:39:08 PM

No one has mentioned so far that it isn't a good thing when the Gate S yells the dog's name across the ring to the score table. It can be very distracting to the dog on the line when they hear someone yell their name just as they are about to run.

T

Advantage Deaf Dogs!!!   I just knew there had to be an advantage out there somewhere!!  LOL
Title: Re: Gate Stewarding
Post by: DeafSheltieMom on February 20, 2014, 05:50:05 PM

No one has mentioned so far that it isn't a good thing when the Gate S yells the dog's name across the ring to the score table. It can be very distracting to the dog on the line when they hear someone yell their name just as they are about to run.

T

Advantage Deaf Dogs!!!   I just knew there had to be an advantage out there somewhere!!  LOL

Hee hee!  Yup, yup!!  As a matter of fact, there are quite a few advantages of running a deaf dog, including my dog not hearing the announcer at Champs, nor hearing me talking back to said announcer, nor hearing me going "doh!" at myself many, many times...   ;D   He just stays happy!
-dayle
Title: Re: Gate Stewarding
Post by: Karen K on February 26, 2014, 08:15:00 AM
Sharon --

I have a question regarding entering the ring while the other dog is running. I also sometimes hold back when I'm running Case. He barks loudly and consistently until I have him sitting at the start. Unless I know the dog in front of me and know that s/he is super stable and focused, I wait so that Case doesn't disrupt their run with his barking. I set up quickly and go, but my purpose in waiting is the previous dog's run. It doesn't seem fair for them to handle the course and a barking dog. (And yes, I have done all I can to stop him and he now stops once he sits, but that doesn't help the previous team.) He is in no way aggressive or threatening, but I suspect he is annoying. And I have seen running dogs turn to look, which is why I started.

Still go ahead when I'm running NADAC?
Title: Re: Gate Stewarding
Post by: atom/andy on February 27, 2014, 10:02:31 PM
Totally agree with Sharon.  A 'yeller' at the gate affects the tone of the trial.

Alanna


Sent by Alanna Leach from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

Being hearing impaired I do love them ;-)
fortunately my partner does respond to his name instantly
and this alerts me to situation.

Andy&Atom
Title: Re: Gate Stewarding
Post by: Sheila & the Shelties on February 28, 2014, 08:27:21 PM
I agree with Al.   No matter what style the gate uses, someone is not going to be happy,  :o and the wide variety of opinions expressed here confirm that!

I have always been mystified by the people who go up to the gate board and stare at it for minutes as if the board will tell them how to run the course.  Pretty soon there is a whole group meditating for divine guidance, and not even the gate can see the board.

I had never heard the rule about being eliminated if you you didn't step out when the gate told you to. I have never seen a problem, but I have seen courses that have an off-course that wiil bring the running dog right into the dog at the start line, so I hope the judge will take things like that into consideration.
Title: Re: Gate Stewarding
Post by: Karen Echternacht on March 01, 2014, 04:58:05 PM
Sharon, not to beat a dead horse because I understand and agree with getting to the line....but for clarification are you saying it is up to the gate to let the Judge know that there was an intentional "lagging" to get into the ring if the next dog is not set up and ready to go?  I guess I'm asking whose responsibility is it...the gate to proactively let the judge know or the judge to ask why there is not a dog ready to go?

Title: Re: Gate Stewarding
Post by: Sheila & the Shelties on March 01, 2014, 10:04:53 PM
This is a quote from Sharon:

If a handler does not enter the ring when asked, they can be and should be eliminated.   If entering a ring puts them in a dangerous situation then either that team should not be competing or the team that ran right before them should not be competing.

A judge tells the gate steward when they want the next team to enter the ring.  If the team refuses to enter when told, they are supposed to indicate to the judge that the team refused to enter.  The team should be eliminated for not entering the ring.  If the handler explains that they are afraid of the previous team, then the judge will talk to that team to find out just which dog of the two teams seems "dangerous".

If a dog and handler cannot enter the ring in a controlled manner and be safe doing so, then NADAC is not the best pick as a venue.  NADAC is very strict about aggressive dogs, dangerous dogs and out of control dogs not being allowed to compete.

If a competitor feels that their dog is at risk because of another dog at the trial, then they should send a letter of concern to NADAC and we will contact the other team and let them know that there are some concerns about their dog's potential behavior.  Sometimes everyone stays quiet when they know for a fact that a particular dog is dangerous to others at the finish or the start.  The competitors should also help in reporting the dogs in question and maybe the owners will work on getting more control over their dogs.  If no one ever says anything, then more and more dangerous dogs will be competing.

At a NADAC trial it is "mandatory" that the entering dog must be in the ring before the finishing dog leaves the ring.  They are not to remove their leash until directed to do so by the "Good luck" indicator, but they must be inside the ring area before the previous dog leaves the ring.  Anyone not complying may choose to wait and enter late after the previous dog leaves, but at that time they have chosen an elimination for their run.

Sharon
Title: Re: Gate Stewarding
Post by: Amber Fountain on March 02, 2014, 04:12:54 PM
Sharon,

What if the dog is the first after a jump height change? Braddock is often first in 8", and I will sometimes wait until the ring crew at least starts changing the jumps before we walk out. If a dog is the first after a jump height change, should the still head out while the other team is finishing up?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Gate Stewarding
Post by: Sharon Nelson on March 02, 2014, 10:18:57 PM
Sharon --

I have a question regarding entering the ring while the other dog is running. I also sometimes hold back when I'm running Case. He barks loudly and consistently until I have him sitting at the start. Unless I know the dog in front of me and know that s/he is super stable and focused, I wait so that Case doesn't disrupt their run with his barking. I set up quickly and go, but my purpose in waiting is the previous dog's run. It doesn't seem fair for them to handle the course and a barking dog. (And yes, I have done all I can to stop him and he now stops once he sits, but that doesn't help the previous team.) He is in no way aggressive or threatening, but I suspect he is annoying. And I have seen running dogs turn to look, which is why I started.

Still go ahead when I'm running NADAC?

If the gate steward instructs you to, yes......... you might tell them that your dog barks loudly and they will probably hold you and then indicate to the judge that you are okay and not refusing to enter the ring.

Sharon
Title: Re: Gate Stewarding
Post by: Sharon Nelson on March 02, 2014, 10:23:28 PM
Sharon, not to beat a dead horse because I understand and agree with getting to the line....but for clarification are you saying it is up to the gate to let the Judge know that there was an intentional "lagging" to get into the ring if the next dog is not set up and ready to go?  I guess I'm asking whose responsibility is it...the gate to proactively let the judge know or the judge to ask why there is not a dog ready to go?

The gate steward should let the judge if a competitor is refusing to enter the ring.  There can be many situations where the handler is not in the ring, but it is not because they are refusing to enter when told.

Sharon