For years now, we’ve read about our diminishing population of breed enthusiasts. We are losing our dog show population for a variety of reasons. Aging, burn-out, and finances are just a few of the reasons why we lose people. But these are the long-term people who, for their own reasons, stop breeding and showing. What about the new people who don’t make it five years? Why do they walk away?
There are many reasons that contribute to our “newbies” deciding that dog shows (and/or their chosen breed) is not meeting their expectations. It’s a lot of work, time, dedication, and money. Career and family obligations can get in the way. There are tons of reasons to walk away, but the one reason that should never be on this list is the seller of their puppy.
We have all seen that show puppy with a novice from a well-established kennel and we scratch our head wondering why anyone would sell this as a show prospect. Please remember, the greenest novice is representing you and your breeding program in the ring, so sell them a dog that you’d take in the ring.
Please remember, the greenest novice is representing you and your breeding program in the ring, so sell them a dog that you’d take in the ring.
Next, in my opinion, is the worst thing that can happen to a novice exhibitor. Their breeder does not mentor them. How can we expect a novice to learn how to present a dog, maintain coat and condition, learn the history of the breed, understand line-breeding vs. outcross-breeding, and more?
I am not saying you need to be this person’s best friend, but I firmly believe you have an obligation not only to your novice but to the sport and to your breed to mentor a new person in the sport. Teach them what they need to do to represent you and your breeding program appropriately. And to a point, this includes your pet people. Teach them how to correctly care for their dog.
Bottom line, people: Take care of your dogs and the sport, and it will take care of you. It’s the very least you can do.