What is a Judge?
Beyond the obvious role of preparing a course and judging the event, the Judge has a very important role to play, both at an event and outside that venue. The judge is at all times an ambassador for CARO.
CARO came into being because many people felt the need for something different, something not as rigid as, and something more FUN than, traditional obedience competitions. As CARO matures, more rules and regulations may come into play. However, it is "attitude" that makes the handler/dog team’s performance outstanding or just average. Rally Style obedience is meant to be performed with animation and enthusiasm, along with briskness in the movement of the team. Handlers are allowed to talk to their dogs and give hand signals. Accommodation is made for handlers or dogs that have physical challenges, and they must be encouraged to participate. All dogs can compete, not just the purebred – there is a place for the "neighborhood kid and his all-Canadian dog" to come, have fun and be proud of his accomplishments.
And so the role of the judge, both in the ring and outside, is to promote this spirit. In the ring, while the judge must necessarily watch for "faults" or "errors", he/she must also watch for this positive attitude. The judge can also foster this attitude by his/her own display of enthusiasm and encouragement, as each team comes into the ring.
Outside of the ring, the judge continues to be a CARO ambassador, explaining the philosophy to any and all who will listen. As most judges are also trainers, they have an excellent venue to promote the sport.