Avoiding Kennel Blindness

From the August 2019 issue of ShowSight. Click to subscribe


Pictured above: Here's kind of a fun one. Where are the front landmarks? Withers (orange), point of shoulder (pink), elbow (yellow), forechest (green). Pictures are before grooming and after grooming. Does the trim influence your decision?

Quality breeding is an uphill battle

We’re all taught if we work hard our efforts will be rewarded…which may be true in many aspects of life but not necessarily in conformation dog shows.

No matter how much you work with a dog that barely resembles the breed standard you will never make it a top winning dog.

If you want your hard work to pay dividends then you have to start with a quality dog.

We all love our dogs but we need to learn to put that aside and honestly evaluate them. If you can't do that then find someone who will give you an objective, honest evaluation—if they happen to tell you that your dog isn't the world beater you think it is please don't take it as a personal affront. Ask questions, learn—keep learning, grow, and never stop asking questions! Stay curious!

I have a general favour to ask. Can we just stop shaming people who make thoughtful decisions that are different than yours? Please?

If you decide to stay home from the shows because you don’t think you or your dogs can handle the heat, or the cold, or rain, or whatever, then good on you! You’ve thought this through and feel it’s the best decision for you and your dogs.

If you decide to go to the shows because you know that you can keep your dogs comfortable and are prepared for whatever is thrown at you. Good on you! You’ve thought this through and feel it’s the best decision for you and your dogs.

If you picked one or the other scenario then you were right, because it worked for you….but it gives you no right to condemn or shame anyone that chose differently. Just stop it.

And last but not least: If your first “show” dog doesn’t make the grade please don’t give up. Poor examples of the breed can still be great dogs to learn on—they can teach you a lot—and you will be that much more experienced when you’re ready for a dog that’s closer to the breed standard that you can win with.

Many of us spent years working to perfect our trims and handling skills before we started to see any big wins with our own dogs—then we wanted to achieve those wins with our own home bred dog and that opens a whole new world for us.

The sport of dogs encourages long term involvement, where young and old can participate, so I hope to see you at the shows! 

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