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SCOA Approved Mentors - Codes of Conduct & Ethics

Contact [email protected] to arrange for an SCOA approved mentor:

Debby Forry CO
Patty Johnson IN
John Brading NC
Michelle Brustein NY
Karen Luckey NY
Dan Graff PA
Dana Graff PA
Liz Bodell RI
Bonnie Blink TX
Suzanne Hudson WA









Mentoring - Code of Conduct    (printable pdf)

As an SCOA Mentor and/or Presenter you are regarded as a breed expert, and as such (printableare expected to conduct yourself with dignity and respect for those interested in learning more about our breed and for those whose dogs you are studying.  As in all other aspects of the dog sport, you are expected to behave with good sportsmanship and in a professional manner.


• Commit themselves to the values of honesty, integrity, respect and courtesy.

• Refuse to compromise their commitment and obligation to the sport of purebred dogs by injecting personal advantage or consideration into their mentoring role.

• Spurn any opportunity to take personal advantage of their position as a Mentor, including promoting of one’s own kennel or dogs.

• Focus on the merits of the dogs being considered, as related to the breed standard, rather than criticizing and fault finding.

• Refrain from criticizing or commenting on the quality of judging being observed in the ring, and remember that the focus should always be on the dogs, not on the judging.

• Refuse to embarrass the sport, the AKC, SCOA, or themselves while taking part in mentoring.

• Respect the AKC and SCOA bylaws, rules, regulations and policies governing the sport of purebred dogs.

• Dress and present themselves appropriately. • Always consider as paramount the welfare of the dogs involved.


• Listen more than they talk and remember this is a position as an educator which means engaging in dialogue as well as obtaining an understanding of the background, level of understanding, personality and learning style of the individual that is being mentored. 

• Do not “teach” movement to judges. They illustrate (point out) correct movement for our breed.

• Know that there is no perfect dog, but every dog has something correct about it. Find what is correct about each exhibit and share that. 

• Ask the mentorees questions. What did you think was nice about that dog? What part of that dog was correct to the breed standard? How would you place this class and why?

• Know that judges being  mentored may have much more experience and knowledge with a variety of breeds than most mentors. Ask these judges what they need from you.

• Do not try to impress judges with their knowledge…they share their knowledge in an easily understandable and engaging manner.

• Share their passion for the breed. • Understand that judges can only use the breed standard when judging. Sharing “breeder” preferences or any information that is not contained in the breed standard is not appropriate when mentoring.

• Have a copy of the breed standard on hand at all times.

• Understand that ringside mentoring is only to discuss dogs in the ring at this time. Outside materials ( videos/photos/International experiences) are not to be used during ringside mentoring . These can be used at another mentoring session, but not during ringside mentoring. 

• Know that sometimes the best mentoring is silence for a period of time. An overbearing, authoritative approach is not conducive to a good learning environment.

Code of Ethics for Presenters and Mentors  (printable pdf)

1. Self-examination for the mentor/presenter is of utmost importance. While we all learn from our experiences in the show ring and our experiences with our own dogs, we must have the ability to separate ourselves from the desire to promote "ours" even in the most subtle or "accidental" way. While blatant targeting or promoting of any dog could have us all removed from the position of mentoring and educating, a more subtle self-promotion or targeting is equally as unethical. We are working for the Spinone Club of America.
2. There should be no mention or discussion of your personal dogs.  
3. There should be no mention or discussion of show records of your own or any other dogs.   4. There should be no mention of specific kennel or owners’ names.
5. No dog, kennel, or person should ever be singled out or targeted while mentoring or in JED presentations.
6. It is best to use a positive approach for educational purposes; however, positive is not always possible.  Being vague is not educational for judges. So, for example, if one "rear" is in question, a good idea might be to point to a different "rear" in the ring and ask the judge to evaluate and compare the two on his/her own and then discuss what is seen.
7. Type issues in this breed are of paramount importance; however, it is also important to remember there are different "styles" that are correct type also. Personal preference is to be avoided and the highest consideration given to what does fit in the standard and what does not fit in the standard.  
8. Fault judging should be considered an easier, but less than adequate way to judge, especially in this breed. Always encourage looking at the dog as a whole first.  
9. Publicly disagreeing, either blatantly or subtly, with the SCOA presentation or other presenters is to be avoided at all costs. JEC welcomes discussion and questions and changes if needed.  However, a subtle or blatant disagreement, either in private conversations with judges or to the judges’ group as a whole, is detrimental to the work and progress that SCOA and the JEC are attempting to achieve for the breed. A team effort and a consistent presentation in every seminar by every presenter is of the highest importance. Disagreements or suggestions for changes in the presentation should be handled privately with the JEC and/or the SCOA board.