Okay... I'm back into training for Utility.
Question... in between exercises can I touch Ruger? I like to "pinch" him quickly on the neck to get him revved up for the go-outs. Just wondering if in between "Exercise finished" and "Are you ready?" if I can do my little pinch
Yes you can touch them with some stipulations.
1) You cannot touch their collar ever
2) Do not touch their ears or do anything that could be construed as an ear pinch.* Even if you didn't train with an ear pinch, the judge doesn't know this and some judges think you are trying to remind the dog of the pinch.
3) Also do not do anything that would cause the dog to become "out of control" in the judges mind (ie, butt tucking, jumping up on you excitedly, etc). Some judges are really cracking down on this type of behavior.
I'd be very careful doing the pinch as you described since it is near the head. You could always try it and if the judge doesn't see it or say anything then you are fine. Just be aware that you could be NQd for it if one particular judge doesn't like it. Personally, I think the dog's attitude is more important to me than the Q (as I stated in my show reports this weekend) so I'd probably try it and modify it if/when necessary.
Lydia, thanks for the reply. I may have to move my "pinch" as it might look like I'm grabbing his collar (which I don't do but he has a good amount of hair around his neck and you can't even see his collar there).
Then again, if the judge is not looking, I may attempt it anyway