Interview with the Belgian Judge

Marleen van Hees, Belgium

How many dogs do you have , which breeds and what do you do with them?
I have 5 dogs at the moment:
3 Bernese Mountain Dogs, 1 Australian Shepherd and 1 Sheltie.
3 of my dogs are dancing at Advanced level.

Working Stock Adventure Gino is a 9 year old Australian Shepherd. Gino qualified 4 times for Crufts, 3 times to represent Belgium in the International Freestyle Competition in 2007 - 2008 - 2009 and he also qualified for Crufts British Heelwork To Music Final in 2007 which no other International dog had done and made me very proud of my Aussie boy. At the moment Gino is not competing because of his health problems so we are just training for fun by doing some Frisbee and freestyle trick training which he loves.


Amordoro's Dannouella is a 6 years old Bernese Mountain Dog. She is also Qualifield to dance at Advanced level and is really a funny dog, she is quite athletic for a Bernese Mountain dog and she has the brains of a Border Collie. Dannou does also do some Obedience training and of course trick training.

Cedi Little Fantasy is my little Sheltie who at 7 years old is doing Obedience,
Fun Agility and also some Freestyle trick training. Cedi is also an Advanced level dog.
Cedi is not an easy boy to work with, I have to motivate him much more than my other dogs, but he is a great little dog.

6 months ago I Adopted a 2 year old Bernese Mountain dog named Ginizidane L'Hamiau du Mont known as Siebe. He is a problem dog with a lot of fear of people. He lived for 2 years in a kennel and did not see much of the world. Because he was not socialised properly nobody could touch him and the first 2 months where terrible! At first he did not know how to do anything, he did not know what I wanted from him so I had to teach him very slowly, but after 6 months he really likes to work and at the moment I am teaching him some tricks and he loves it.

Finally there is my young Bernese Mountain dog. His name is Ishtar Easy Living, pet name Bamse. He is 6 months old he's doing some Obedience and Freestyle tricks maybe in the future we will enter some Freestyle Competitions.

Why do you like HTM?
I started the sport because I used to have big problems with my Bernese Ximba.
When I was training Ximba to do HTM and teaching him tricks he really loved it and he improved so much.

I probably would never have come in contact with this lovely sport of HTM / Freestyle if it were not for Ximba.

We did our first competition after 10 months and from that time I was hooked on Freestyle.

I love dancing, I love music and I love to train my dogs. HTM/Freestyle is all of those things together; it is just fun to do!


When did you start judging?
In 2005 I judged my first competition

Why do you judge?
I started judging in the first place because there were no judges in Belgium with experience and then I began to love it.

What do you consider to be a HTM judge's greatest responsibility?
I think as a judge you have to be absolutely neutral. Whether it is your best friend or your worst enemy, you have to judge the dog /handler as a team. This is very important.

Can you tell us about a judging experience that made a great impression on you?
All my judged experience are wonderful, but when I was asked to judge the Czech Republic Championship last year I was really proud and everything about the competition was so fantastic, the atmosphere, all the handlers, a great experience for me and I always admire the handlers when their dogs don't work well on the day, but they still manage to keep up a big smile on there faces. Well done to them, I think we can learn a lot from these people

What do you think it will be like to judge a World Championship?
A very hard job to do but I am looking forward to seeing all those lovely routines.
I am also very proud and see this as a great honour that I have been asked to judge the first World Championship in Freestyle and Heelwork To Music.

Any other thoughts you would like to share with the WC handlers?
I would like to say to all handlers, Have a Great Time, danced like you never danced before and remember being at the World Championships means you all are super handlers already!

1 comment:

  1. I whish Marleen the whisdom of " and old lady" ,
    the eyes of a " border collie " and the
    spirit of a " great magician " by judging
    the first World Championship htm/freestyle in
    Danmark .
    Simonne .