Kalyn Erickson just turned 10 years old in November. She has had dogs all her life. They have been her playmates and her best friends! She started showing at around seven years old, helping with mom and grandma’s Sealyham Terriers. She would take the winners of the class back in and lead them around the ring. When she turned nine, Kalyn was able to go in Juniors, so she needed a dog—and wanted a dog that could beat her mom! So, Kalyn’s mother got on Facebook and started looking for a good Juniors and BOB dog that wasn’t one of her own breed. She spotted “Ben” ( Smooth Fox Terrier ) and reached out to the owner, Christine Martin, about Ben. Kalyn and her mom, Erica Dunlavey, now co-own Ben together with Christine Martin and Jamie Taylor. This past February, they went to Chicago to pick up Ben, and snuggled all the way home. Ben and Kalyn connected (she loved him right away!) and Kalyn started showing him right away. In April, they got their first Owner-Handled placement and, on May 29th, Ben and Kalyn got Best in Show, Owner-Handled. On July 11, Kalyn got a Group 1 in the regular Terrier Group. Kalyn’s grandma, Michelle Erickson, was in the Group ring with her… and almost lost her dog. Kalyn got her first Best Junior on August 19th.
Kalyn likes showing dogs and will show any dog, for anyone…if they ask her! She cannot wait for the Orlando Show, with mom & grandma!
1. When were you first introduced to the sport of purebred dogs? To your breed?
About three years ago in Fort Dodge, Iowa, I showed Sealyham Terriers in the Breed class! I got “Ben” in February!
2. How many years in dogs? How many as an Owner Handler?
My whole life has been with dogs. I started Owner-Handled this past March, with my first win on April 4th. Mom had to learn how to groom Ben. She got help from Rosario Betancourt (!) and Rosario gave me some help on how to handle Ben in the ring.
3. Do you attend show handling classes? Have you attended any handling seminars?
Nope! Just my mom, my brother, David Erickson (14), and my cousin, Skylar Kolosik(14). My mom would have us show our dogs and then tell us what we did wrong and pick the best—and I was! No, not yet on any seminars.
4. Have you found virtual learning tools to be helpful? Classes? Videos? Websites? Social Media?
I am not allowed. (I am only 10!)
5. Do you compete in the National Owner-Handled Series? Are rankings important to you?
Yes & Yes, because I want to be Number One. I have the Number One Owner-Handled Smooth Fox Terrier in the country for this past year. I am currently the Number Two Smooth Fox Terrier in Junior Handling.
6. In which class(es) are you most likely to enter your dog(s)? Why?
Breed, Juniors, Owner-Handled & FastCat. (Because that is all I can enter him in right now!)
7. Is it a challenge to compete with your breed(s) as an Owner Handler?
Yes, it is very competitive in our breed. (It is even harder in
8. Are you intimidated by the professional handlers? By the judges?
Yes, a little bit because they are good! Most of the judges are really nice to me.
9. Who have been your mentor(s) as an Owner Handler?
My brother, David, my mom, Erica Dunlavey, and my Me-ma, Michelle Erickson.
10. How important is the Owner Handler to the future of the dog sport?
I don’t know how to answer this question. I just know that it is important to the owner and breeders, and I like showing in this class.
11. What are your goals as an Owner Handler? Is there a victory that has eluded you?
To be Number One!
(When I don’t beat my mom & Me-ma!)
12. Is there a funny story that you can share about your experiences as an Owner Handler?
When I am in the ring with my mom, I steal her bait… and then I beat her!!
From Michelle Erickson:
We had to explain some of the words to Kalyn. (She just turned ten years old.) The judges love watching her in the ring and she makes them smile. Kalyn makes us all smile, and she doesn’t know how good she really is—and how hard this can be—because she is a natural.
Smooth Fox Terrier | Kalyn Erickson