Gallery Considerations

Spectators at tracking events are important for our sport. The people who come to watch the test are often friends and family of the exhibitors, dog owners who may be there to see if tracking might be something that they would like to do with their dog, and club members who are volunteering their time in support of the test. Any of these reasons for attending would place these people in the “VIP” category and it is important that we treat them as such.

Spectators form their opinion of the sport through seeing the actions of the judge, handler, and dog. Care must be taken to avoid any action that might reflect poorly on the sport. Judges should work to maintain spectator appeal in the sport while keeping foremost in mind the welfare and convenience of the exhibitor and the dog.

When plotting tracks, the judges should always consider the staging of exhibitors and gallery. Especially in urban tracking, smart use of the parking areas is imperative. If parking lots are at a premium and must be utilized for non-vegetative yardage and “Moment of Truth” turns, using a centrally located parking area for test parking and starting a couple of tracks in different directions from that lot can really help with test day organization.

It is also important to give clear instruction to the handlers and gallery at the draw meeting. To ensure that the spectators do not interfere with the dog’s work, indicate the location of direction of the track or contaminate unused tracks, these instructions should include:

· Introducing a test committee member who has been authorized to lead the caravan to the staging areas and move spectators into an area where they can safely observe the team. Make sure that this Gallery Control Chief has been advised of the judge’s instructions for each track.

· All those present should be mandated to stay with the group as they move to the track area and use only the specified areas for parking, exercising their dogs and available restrooms.

· Spectators should be reminded to keep talking volume low and noise to a minimum. If they wish to walk the track behind the team and judges, the gallery must stay in a tight group and only move with permission of the judges or gallery person. This includes controlling the gallery as they walk back to the start area after the dog has failed or passes.

It is the judge’s responsibility to make certain that spectators remain more than 50 yards away from the start flag until the dog, handler and judges have moved out of the starting area.

Dogs should be trained to accept and ignore the presence of people in the tracking areas at all levels of testing. Sometimes, handlers request that a gallery not be permitted to watch their track. Observation by the gallery is integral to the test, and such a request would not be granted unless unusual circumstances occurred. We can, however, assure the handler that the gallery will be controlled and will not interfere with the dog’s work.

The tracking fraternity is known for its friendliness, hospitality, and encouragement of all current and future participants.

Happy Tracking!