495 — Amanda On… Owner Handlers, Winning, Losing and Fun

Protecting Our Breeds into Exctinction

Amanda On… Owner Handlers, Winning, Losing and Fun

Amanda Kelly, breeder-owner-handler of Fwaggle Toy Manchester Terriers in Canada, joins host Laura Reeves for a pragmatic, insightful and realistic discussion on the challenges and assets owner handlers bring to the competition.

“You really need to examine how are you viewing winning and losing as a first step,” Kelly noted. “And secondly, in addition to how you’re viewing winning and losing, you also, I think, need to start with realistic goals of what you want to achieve.

“You are not being realistic if you have your very first show dog … you’ve never groomed a dog, you’ve never shown a dog, but you want to be the number one Cocker spaniel in the United States … that’s not going to happen. It’s just not. It could be the greatest Cocker Spaniel that ever lived and it’s not gonna happen.

“We all recognize that there’s a kind of an innate imbalance there (between professional handlers and owner handlers). Let’s talk about how people can fix it. Because if you didn’t have any hope of ever being able to overcome it, then why would you bother to enter and go to the show?

“I think the best thing that you can do is to find yourself a really great class. Find yourself a really great mentor. If there’s no classes in your area, there are tons of online classes and opportunities to be mentored by professionals at a distance.

FUN is job #1

“Your number one job is to make sure that, whatever it is that you choose to do in the ring with your dog, that it’s fun for your dog. I see so many people who are so concentrated on their dog being perfect that they practice them to death by boredom. The dogs just start to hate it. So my own tip for people whenever they ask me, ‘what can I do to help make my dog stand out,’ I always say make sure that your dog has an arsenal of tricks.

“Behavior training for the ring is just trick training. Every single thing that we want them to do when you walk into the ring is no different than you teaching your dog to sit, or rollover or sit up and beg or spinning a circle. They’re all tricks, (even if) some of them are a little bit more complicated tricks.

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time…

“The greatest gift you can give yourself is, first of all, patience with yourself and the greatest thing (you can give your dog) is patience with your dog. The second thing you can give yourself is to find a good teacher who can help you teach yourself and your dog the behaviors that are involved in showing in bite sized pieces that you can actually eat and have some success with. If you try to do everything all at once you are going to get discouraged and you’re going to stop.”


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