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Work with your dog. Its more fun than complaining, I promise.

Posted By Drea on March 31, 2014

You know, back in the day before everyone was complaining about handlers doing all of the winning, we used to just put our ears to the ground, shut up, learned, studied, and practiced to be better handlers. Maybe its just the old Junior Handler in me that pitted my handling ability against others. Instead of judging the dogs I was judged. That experience taught me that you can have the best dog in the world and due to handling make it look the worst.

I once watched a BIS doberman bought for a young girl look like it was some weird pack mule in the juniors ring. If I were judging the breed ring, it would be no shock that the dog that was on top would easily be looked by for a different dog.

You could have the worst dog in the world and do some pretty spiffy handling to make it look acceptable. I watched a young kid with a beagle who did everything to make the dog look less like it had come from a hunting line- and even though the dog never looked like an impressive beagle, that boy made his dog look impressive for what he was, in his long nosed, long eared, long legged glory. Maybe he wouldn’t have ever won anything in breed, no matter how good his handling was. But we all know that the breed ring is not as obvious as that most of the time. That’s what Juniors taught me.

It is just as hard to show a dog as it is to do any performance sport. I spent years honing my craft. So why is it that people think its normal to spend an hour a day focusing on learning obedience and training their dog, but handling class is done sporadically, once every other week?

Also, why are people so afraid to hear what they are doing wrong? Sure, my mommy made me cry a couple times at shows by pointing things out (its honestly not that hard to make me cry). But I put my big girl panties on and moved forward to show her I could do better and it drove me to continue to improve. Hell, god knows I couldn’t count on all my fingers and toes the amount of times mom has come out of the ring and I reamed her out for one thing or another. Or I came out of the ring and mom reamed me out (usually for whatever I did in regards to grooming that wasn’t up to par). I hope everyone has a relationship like that. A little reaming between peers keeps us on top of our game.

My point is simply that if people did as much practicing, training and working as they did complaining that maybe they would get somewhere. Where’d the work ethic go?

Now for my newbie friends looking at this, its not to make you feel discouraged, but to give you a hand, any time, to answer your handling questions. Any time you want to talk about handling, grooming, whatever, I’m an open book. I offer my short lifetime of knowledge for free. I love the newbies. But if I feel like you are wasting my time, my knowledge and you start pitying yourself before you have spent the time to learn… Well… you can probably tell by this post that I am not really interested in having a pity party with you. I’ll probably pick you up by your bootstraps (or your shiny show shoes), throw you out the door and tell you to work with your dog.


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