In the Ring With Owner Handler Jeri Kissling

Owner Handler Jeri Kissling with her Keeshond dogs


Interview with an Owner Handler, Jeri Kissling


Where do I live? How many years have you been an Owner Handler?

Jeri Kissling: I live in Indianapolis, Indiana. I have shown dogs for 42 years and I’ve participated in the National Owner-Handled Series for the past five years.


How did I get my start in your breed? In the sport?

Jeri Kissling: I started off with German Shepherd Dogs, doing Schutzhund and then Obedience and then Conformation. I went to my first show with a group of ladies to compete in Obedience and I watched the Conformation competition—and I was hooked. I went to a Specialty the next weekend and decided that I wanted to be part of this awesome sport.

My first homebred champion was a German Shepherd. A few years later, I saw a Keeshond at a show and fell in love with the breed. I decided to contact a breeder and dive in. I now have 70 champions to my credit. In the past few years, I have also become interested in Russell Terriers and have my first two champions.


Have I always loved to show dogs? Have I always been a dog person?

Jeri Kissling: My family has always been an “animal family,” with a dog being in the mix. I taught our dogs tricks as a child and just loved our purebreds and mutts.


Is there a story behind my decision to show my own dog?

Jeri Kissling: I have used handlers off and on, but I’ve primarily handled my own dogs. My first Best in Show on one of my homebred Keeshonds was with a handler. While it was a great accomplishment and I was thrilled, my competitive personality showed me that I was happier about the win when I was on the end of the lead.


What makes showing my own dog so special to me?

Jeri Kissling: There is no better feeling than when you have a big-winning dog that you have raised, conditioned, trained, and shown yourself.


In my opinion, is there a secret to having a great dog/handler partnership?

Jeri Kissling: My dogs love pleasing people, and the connection we make while showing them is irreplaceable. I make training fun (never forced) and this is their one-on-one time with me! I always love on them and tell them how good they did, even if they don’t win; they are excited to go do it again the next day.


Do I compete in the National Owner-Handled Series? If so, for how many years?

Jeri Kissling: I have competed in the NOHS for five years.


What goals did I set for myself and for my dog in 2022? What about 2023?

Jeri Kissling: In 2022, my dog ended up No. 3. He had blown coat early in the year and I wasn’t able to show him until later in the year.

I’m hoping to show him to No. 1 again in 2023; he currently is No. 1. He is the Lifetime OH Keeshond by over 1,000 points.


Am I going to Orlando? If so, what’s it like to have a top NOHS dog this year?

Jeri Kissling: We aren’t going to Orlando this year, as we have a new list of puppies to care for… hopefully, next year!


Just for laughs, do I have a funny story that I can share about my experiences as an Owner Handler?

Jeri Kissling: When my boy won his first OHBIS, I looked over to my tough husband only to see his eyes tearing up. What could be better than this feeling with your dog?!

  • I live in Indianapolis, Indiana. I have shown dogs for 42 years and I’ve participated in the National Owner-Handled Series for the past five years.

  • Show Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

comment *

  • name *

  • email *

  • website *

You May Also Like

Top 3 Mistakes Exhibitors Make in the Ring

Have you ever left the ring wishing you could have done something differently? Did ...

Breeder/Owner Handler Denise Hummel winning best of breed variety at a dog show

Interview With Breeder/Owner Handler Denise Hummel

  Interview With Breeder/Owner Handler Denise Hummel How were you first introduced to the ...

dog show handling classes owner handler photo

Dog Show Handling Classes Can Make or Break the Owner Handler

Dog show handling classes are not created equal, the choice of which classes to ...

Are You A Successful Dog Show Snob ?

Are You A Successful Dog Show Snob ?

In the wide world of sports, the pursuit of excellence has its rewards. Every ...

Tammy Breckenridge at a dog show

Interview with Owner Handler Tammy Breckenridge

Insights from an Owner Handler, Tammy Breckenridge. Read about her opinions on various topics ...

Ring Procedures

Join Hosts Dan Sayers & Lee Whittier, The Dog Show Mentor as they discuss ...

Your Cart

No Item Found
Subtotal $0.00
Shipping $0.00
Tax $0.00
Total $0.00