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Interview with Wendell Nope

At K9Force, we were thrilled to have such a knowledgeable and experienced judge like Mr. Nope overseeing our three-day event.  His professionalism and friendly demeanor were evident from the start, and it set a positive tone for the entire event. The critiques were direct and to the point yet delivered with kindness and openness. His approachable personality and constructive criticism made a lasting impression on all competitors.


Going forward, we will ask our judges for feedback on a number of aspects of our Trial and publish this feedback in our K9Force magazine.  This is Mr. Nope’s feedback.


1.     What was most impressive

I must answer this question in two parts. What impressed me most on the field was the high number of high scoring dogs and handlers.  But there is in my opinion, an equally important answer that I should give and that is what impressed me tremendously was the first hour that I was in the clubhouse with the club. I saw such camaraderie, friendliness, happiness and excitement.  I'm not sure I've ever experienced such a high level of friendship and camaraderie among members of a club. I was delighted in that first hour and I thought I'm going to have fun this weekend with these wonderful people.

2.     The organization of the trial

This trial consisted of, to my reckoning, 38 dogs over a three-day period, with a large number of BH performers as well as extremely advanced FH performances. To accomplish such a task, a trial would have to be so smooth and so well-orchestrated. The thing that impressed me the most was the organization of the tracks. It was almost to the minute of planning the start of laying the track, to running the track the cross tracks, everything was organized prior to my arrival. I was very impressed by that. I'm not sure I've ever seen a trial organized so well throughout the three-day period. I also did not experience any changes from the scheduling. When there are this many dogs a judge always worries will we get it done in time for me to get to the airplane and I'm very happy to realize that the actual trial took place very closely to the scheduled times and locations and so forth.

3.     The Helpers

I was very pleased with the performance of the helpers. It is not commonly known that during training the helpers serve the dog handlers, but during the trial the helpers serve the judge, meaning that they help the judge make decisions whenever there is a curious point that needs to be clarified.  On two occasions in this trial, I went to the helpers to ask their opinion about a certain situation, and I was 100% satisfied with the honesty and integrity of the two helpers as well as their skill set.

4.     Most impressive dog

The dog that impressed me the most in this trial happens to be the dog handled by Isabella. This a dynamic masculine beautiful specimen of German shepherd dog which reminds me of the old working breed that actually was reintroduced to the modern bloodlines to help increase the working functionality of German shepherds in general. The scores for this particular dog were very high and it is very seldom that I award 100 points in protection. There have been times when there have been minor faults throughout the protection phase, but the quarter points or half points do not cause the score to go down to 99. But with this particular dog in protection, I did not write a single fault against the dog in the entire protection phase. That I think has happened maybe twice before in my considerable career as a sport dog judge. The image of the dog as he displayed himself through the protection exercises was powerful dynamic, yet the trainability was so wonderful that the dog won the hearts of everyone that was viewing the trial, and one need only to look at the video to feel the same excitement that everyone in attendance felt this day.

5.     Potential of dog/handler teams

I'm convinced that there are several dogs in this trial who have the ability and the potential to continue onward and upward to national level trials in Canada or the United States

or whatever their nationality of origin might be. In addition to that, I believe that there are dogs that we will see in the future participating in international German Shepherd Dogs or all breed events who will make us proud.


K9Force (2023, August). Interview with Wendell Nope.

© K9Force WDC 2023. For permission to reproduce any article in this blog, contact

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