All About The Show Dog
How to use a Show Lead, Free Baiting, Table Training, Gaiting, Handler Tricks, Stacking, and Show Ring protocol
WHY DO WE HAVE DOG SHOWS?
August 2001 - That sounds simple enough. People with no background in dogs are more than welcome in this sport. In fact, it is the only sport where a total novice can buy a little equipment (dog and leash) and become a dog breeder, or a dog show handler, or a club officer.
That can have a downside though. A 2001 post from Pat Szymanski, Akasta Japanese Akitas, sums it up. Pat said “…dedicated breeders seem to be forgotten and lost in the quest by all the new EXPERTS. AKC and the National Clubs had better wake up and take a stand instead of just worrying about giving a show. People that have never bred and don't intend to should not have a say in the future of a breed, ANY BREED.
"Let them enjoy their dogs. I, along with other good breeders, appreciate and depend on these people to provide a good home for my pet dogs, but I certainly don't want them telling me how to breed simply because they are a member of a National Club. How can a big mouth and paying yearly dues replace sitting up with a bitch in whelp, nursing a weak puppy, traveling all night to a show, the hours of conditioning and training, the responsibility of proper placements, and worst of all watching your old show dog age and wonder if it's time to part with them? These things can only be felt and learned by experience, and not by someone with a spayed or neutered pet. It just makes no sense to me. I certainly wouldn't pilot a plane just because I flew in one…."
Pat’s point is raised every time a national breed club becomes saturated with pet owners and novices, tipping the balance from a breeders club to an owner’s club. This happens when board members want to insure re-election by easily-led followers. Bill Andrews, a guy whose comments are always succinct and piercing except when I’m watching the end of a movie, said “only in dogs can a person go out and buy a female dog and instantly be a breeder with the same rights and privileges as those who have been working hard at it for ten years."
As always, Bill was right. So what is the solution? Dog clubs were created to hold dog shows. Many fail to hold the interest of people interested in dogs! Judges were approved to judge dog shows. But just like stacking club membership rosters, AKC uses the judging approval process as a political tool. Nowadays knowing dogs has little to do with becoming a judge. It is more about who you know and how easily you are kept in line and how successfully you can “network” for assignments.
This results in an uncomfortable number of upwardly mobile people who stand center ring selecting dogs even though they were never able to purchase a top winner, much less breed one! By what right do they take money and dreams from trusting exhibitors? By what decree do they judge the life’s work of breeders like Pat Craige-Trotter?
We need the influx of novices, new breeders, and new judges but we don’t need a system that allows them to turn shows into an ego trip instead of a quest for excellence in breeding stock. We don’t need unsuccessful breeders or handlers passing judgment on the work of experts. We don’t need a game show that attracts mercenaries instead of dog people.
We have become little more than a multi-billion dollar industry feeding on dogs. Where are the rewards for excellence in genetic selection and careful rearing and conditioning? If dedication and excellence fails to be rewarded, we will lose new people and exhibiting dogs will no longer be a hobby for the average family. Novices may be attracted by the glitzy world of dog shows but those who could contribute to sport soon realize it is less about dogs and more about games, money, and egos.
How long can the organization we have spent a lifetime supporting get by with breaking its own rules and purpose for existence. How many remember what dog shows are for? This is open book so the answer is: To compare breeding stock in a social atmosphere affordable to all who want to learn or improve their kennels.
Why do we anxiously await the first sign of estrus in our bitch, having planned a breeding down to the inth detail when for a small fee, AKC lets any slipshod breeder register “accidental” breedings? AKC cannot serve two masters. When it panders to politics and goes into merchandising products and “expanded” services, is it serving the sport of dogs?
I flunked history but wasn’t there agoverning body that once said “Let Them Eat Cake.” What ever happened to that monarch?
reprinted from August 2001 Magazine
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