AKC Club Development Has Your Back

All breed and specialty clubs throughout the country are struggling. Members are aging, new members are few and far between. Some clubs are struggling financially, others are reaching burnout with only a handful of active members. Some have even closed their doors.

AKC Club Development’s main focus is to help clubs grow. Whether that means providing ideas to recruit new members or offering guidance to organize events in a cost-effective and exhibitor-friendly manner. Success should be defined by the club, said Guy Fisher, Manager of Club Development. In a general sense, Fisher noted, success for a club is creating a fiscally strong organization with the means to support its members and community.

New Department Created in 2017

Glenn Lycan, Director of Event Operations Support and Doug Ljungren, Executive Vice President of Sports and Events, looked around a couple years ago and noted that while the AKC had lots of resources for new clubs just getting started, they didn’t have a structured way to help existing clubs thrive.

“We had a goal to assist clubs to be more successful in every aspect of their development,” Lycan said. “… it’s funny you commented about how people think that the AKC is just businessmen in suits … that’s exactly how clubs looked at it, too. So, Guy’s first task, and what Guy has been excellent at, is letting clubs know that we are dog people, that we have a lot of dog experience, but we also have a lot of AKC experience and our phone is always available. We will help you. So, you hear about the glass ceiling. But AKC had a glass wall between clubs and us. And that was our whole goal for year one was to break that wall down so people felt comfortable coming to us.”

Dog people helping dog people

Fisher:Boxer

Guy Fisher showing a Boxer

Fisher said he was literally born into the sport. His family raised Boxers and the Boxers raised him. A breeder of merit and an active member of his parent club and all-breed and specialty clubs in Michigan, Fisher was a professional handler for 27 years, operating a commercial boarding kennel as well. His children remain active in the sport and in their community with therapy dog work.

FisherKids

Guy’s youngest daughter Samantha Fisher, son Joshua Fisher and wife Diana Fisher and the local dog show recently.

Lycan’s family bred Samoyeds and put him in charge of the kennel at 13 years old. He later went to work for Houston and Toddie Clark, then professional handlers and today well-respected all-breed judges. He apprenticed with them for three years, met his wife who also worked for them, and eventually began their own professional handling career in Georgia. There they were involved with their local all-breed club events and various national clubs as well.

Clubs Are the Backbone

The clubs are our backbone of our sport,” Fisher said. “If we don’t have clubs we have nowhere to facilitate our sports and to participate. So, I always viewed it as a club needs to be a source of breeders owners owner handlers professional handlers to come together and educate their community within their territory.

“… And one of my main questions for clubs was what do you do for your membership. And a lot of clubs didn’t do anything … one of my suggestions was ‘how about trying to make it a little bit more of a fun, welcoming environment for these people’ so that they would want to … give off good positive vibes to the rest of the sport.”

 

 

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Club Outreach Program

The AKC Club Outreach program enables All-Breed, Local Specialty, Agility and Obedience clubs to “opt-in” to sharing contact information and meeting dates with new AKC dog owners. The goal of the program is to give clubs a direct method of communication with potential new club members and assist new dog owners with the access to local clubs and training resources.

For questions regarding the program, please review the Club Outreach Program FAQ.

ClubDevelopment Flyer

Club Development resources and contact information.

Promotion tips for Clubs

Links to help with media promotion for events and club activities.

Media Resources

Club Media Templates and Ideas for Publicity

Publicity Ideas For Clubs

AKC-MarketingClubsBook.pdf

AB Committee membership best practices

 

Best Practices papers

White papers provided by delegate committees to assist club membership

Aging Membership

Revitalizing Membership

Club Brochure

Club Website

AB Committee membership best practices

Special Attractions Or Complimentary Events Applications

These helpful links can offer the extras to a kennel club’s events that could help increase or stabilize the event.

Club Event Materials Order Form

4-6 Month Beginner Puppy Application

AKC Sanctioned Match Application

Checklist for Conformation/Obedience Application

FSS Open Show Application

Special Attractions Form

http://www.akc.org/events/scent-work/

 

 

Club Development – Guy Fisher and Glenn Lycan Transcript

Pure Dog Talk is the voice of pure bred dogs. We talk to the legends of the sport and give you the tips and tools to create an awesome life with your purebred dog. As strong supporters of the American Kennel Club, we talk about everything! From conformation to preservation breeding … from competitive obedience to fieldwork … from agility to therapy dogs and all the fun in between, your passion is our purpose.

OK crew. Before we get into today’s show I am super excited to tell you about something new here at Pure Dog Talk. We know breeders are the lifeblood of our sport. We celebrate and honor our master breeders. So we’re bringing you Breeder’s Voice! Breeder’s Voice sits down with top breeders sharing their secrets, how they got where they are, the joys and maybe even the heartbreaks. If you haven’t had a chance, click the “Don’t Miss An Episode” button so you’ll get these in-depth articles delivered free along with your podcast. Sign up on our Facebook page or at PureDogTalk.com

LAURA REEVES: Welcome to Pure Dog Talk. I’m your host Laura Reeves and I am joined today by a couple guys that I think have a lot of impact right now in our sport and I want to have you guys get an opportunity to hear from them directly. So, this is the American Kennel Club’s Club Development Department. And I have Guy Fisher and Glenn Lycan. This is exciting listeners – this is the first time we’ve got two people on this interview so it’s going to be fun.

LR: And Guy and Glenn are going to talk to us today about some of the things that their department can do for you. Our listeners out there running your all-breed club, running your specialty club, whatever it is, these are the Guys that are here to help you. So welcome gentlemen.

GLENN LYCAN: Hi Laura. This is Glenn Lycan thanks for having us. I am, as you said, in charge of club development. I’m the director of AKC event operations support and club development falls into my realm.

Guy FISHER: I’m Guy Fisher and I’m the manager of club development.

LR: Excellent. OK well I am thrilled to have you boys join us. Sorry – not boys. You know what I mean. <laughter> <GL: Yes I do!> You guys join us … You gentlemen join us …

GL: Boys is just as good as gentlemen! <laughter>

LR: All right. So, give us a little bit of 4-1-1 here, right – You guys were both really actively involved in purebred dogs I’ve known you both for years. So, tell our listeners where you come from what your background is and help them get a sense of what you have to bring them in their clubs.

GL: Sure absolutely. I’ll start. I’ve been involved in dogs and showing dogs since the mid ’60s. My family bred Samoyeds. I was put in charge of the kennel when I was 13 years old, worked my mom’s breeding program for six to ten years, and then I handled her dogs. I wanted to improve on that, so I went to work for Houston and Toddie Clark when you still really had apprentices.

And that’s where my wife worked as well and we worked for them for a little over three years and then we started handling our own dogs in the ’80s. We moved to Griffin, Georgia and we both became members of the Griffin Georgia Kennel Club, and we helped an old friend of mine Tommy Yates. He was the show chair at the time and past president and we would help him with the club. My wife was the assistant show chair several years … I was in charge of parking … those types of things. And we’ve also been members of several parent clubs, so I’ve had a lot of time in the sport, a lot of experience with clubs, a lot of experience with putting on dog shows, crazy experience with attending dog shows all over the country! So, I bring all of that to the table. And still, since I’ve been with AKC since 2002, I’ve continued to learn. Continued to learn from the other side of the equation. How AKC deals with things, how AKC documents things, how AKC keep records of things. So, I’ve got basically 50 years in the sport with a tremendous amount of knowledge and a tremendous concept of where the best resources are for clubs to reach out to. So even if I don’t know it, I know where to send clubs.

LR: Excellent. Well Glenn, I love that. And one of the things I love about it – and Guy I’m going to get to you I promise – Glenn I think people maybe today aren’t as aware of, or as good at practicing, that handlers involved in your all-breed clubs – this is important and we, too, need to give up a weekend to help our all-breed clubs.

GL: Yeah, you’re absolutely right. And it’s funny you say that because I work with several handlers that are very active in clubs around the country and since I’ve built relationships with them over the past 30 – 40 years, they know they can come to me when they have a question about adding, like, barn hunt to their event, when they have a question about adding pee-wee, when have a question about the application, they know where to go. We’re always Johnny-On-The-Spot and I know Guy’s the same way.

LR: I love that. OK Guy – you go.

GF: Well I was literally born into the sport. The day I was brought home I was laid down between two Boxers and became part of the pack. I was also a founding junior member of the St. Clair Kennel Club and have been members of various all-breed Kennel Clubs, independent specialties, as well as various parent clubs over my years in the sport. I was originally from Michigan and held all positions in various all-breed clubs from President all the way down to acting Show Chairman and assistant Show Chairman. So I, too, bring a lot of experience on putting events and clusters together.

LR: Awesome. I love it. The two “working dog” guys. Now how’d that happen … you guys work together — <laughter>

GL: Yeah, it’s funny when you asked about photographs I have a photograph with Guy and myself from back in 1993.

LR: Yes! Glenn you absolutely – I have to have that <laughter> Oh, that’s so cool. All right. So now talk to me about the Club Development Department. OK, because this is pretty new, right?

GL: Absolutely. I’ll touch on it briefly. I’ll make it clear that I’m the Director but Guy does all the grunt work. I tell you what, Guy makes all the phone calls, works with 90 percent of the clubs, puts a lot of blood sweat and tears into helping these clubs. I’ve had several different positions through the AKC and in 2015 I was brought over to the events department to support the co-director at that time and basically I became the liaison for superintendents, with a special focus on supporting clubs. And as we got into this, we thought you know there’s really not a department that is club-centric in the sense of, you have the Club Relations Department that deals with getting a club off the ground, getting it licensed, getting it approved, going over their charter and bylaws, making sure everything’s in order for that respect, but once they become licensed we didn’t really have a department that would actually help clubs continue if they have a membership. Nobody would advise them on how to move forward if they had a show chair question. You know 25% of show chairs every year are brand new. <LR: Right> And a lot of times they don’t know where to go. So in 2017, Doug Ljungren and I talked about forming this department and we formed the Club Development Department. We had a goal to assist clubs to be more successful in every aspect of their development. And the first thing, it’s funny you commented about how people think that the AKC is just business men in suits, and that’s exactly how clubs looked at it, too. So Guy’s first task – and what Guy has been excellent at – is letting clubs know that we are dog people, that we have a lot of dog experience, but we also have a lot of AKC experience and our phone is always available.

We will help you. So you hear about the glass ceiling. Well AKC had a glass wall between clubs and us! And that was our whole goal for year one was to break that wall down so people felt comfortable coming to us. I’ll let it speak to Guy about how he’s done that and how successful he’s been.

LR: Absolutely… Guy?

GF: So I started my task off by proactively reaching out to all show chairmen before, and after, their events. And I received positive, positive feedback. People were amazed that the AKC was reaching out to them asking and making inquiries how their event went and if it was successful. And I would always ask, “What can we do to help make your events better,” and people were very receptive. And the turn around with new show chairmen, as well as existing show chairmen, really thought it was positive and have really come on board and now starting to increase and had additional events in this upcoming year.

LR: I think that’s really cool Guy and I think that, again, this is such a brand new even concept, right. It’s not just that you guys are a new department – it’s a brand new concept for the American Kennel Club right?

GF: I would have to agree. Number one, all clubs are our customers. The clubs are our backbone of our sport. If we don’t have clubs we have nowhere to facilitate our sports and to participate. So I always viewed it as a club needs to be a source of breeders, owners, owner handlers, professional handlers, to come together and educate their community within their territory. And that was one of my selling points to these clubs, too, is to open that up and look at the positives that you can give to your local community and what you can give back. And one of my main questions to clubs was, “What do you do for your membership?” And a lot of clubs didn’t do anything for their membership. And one of my suggestions was how about trying to make it a little bit more of a fun, welcoming environment for these people so that they would want to facilitate and give off good positive vibes to the rest of the sport? And it’s been very well received.

LR: I love that and I think that you are dead on.

GL: You said it’s a new concept and I wanted to touch on that subject briefly because people don’t realize this, but the AKC is continually – and I’ve been here for 16 years – looking at ways to improve clubs’ abilities to perform. But one thing that the AKC has not done is that they’ll come up with a great idea, a great document, a great PowerPoint, a great web page, but then they just set it out there. And what we want to do different, and what we have done different, is we went out and grabbed the clubs. Because the clubs don’t come to the AKC – they’ve always felt like, as I said, this wall – so we had to reach them first. We had let them know we were here. And that’s really the newness of it, is that we’re reaching out to the clubs rather than waiting on them to reach out to us.

LR: And I love that – that proactive interaction I think is invaluable. I know I just show chaired my all-breed show for last year and I was like, “Wow, that is the first – I got Guys e-mail – that’s the first time that’s ever happened!” <laughter>

GL: If you look at the statistics with Guy’s numbers, while Guy is continually making phone calls, over time – every month – we receive more phone calls just from random clubs. So what that shows me is that the word is getting out there that there is a resource at the AKC for clubs to come to. So like the first half of 2017 while Guy reached out to over a thousand clubs and he talked it over 300 of them, we only have like 60 to 80 clubs contact us out of the blue and say, “Hey how can you Guys help me?” The second half we had close to 150 clubs reach out to us. So as Guy said it’s been very positive feedback. And as the director of it, seeing that kind of turnaround shows me that it’s working so that we’re just not sitting on our laurels. Not only are we reaching out but clubs are getting the word and they’re coming to us because somebody else has told them you can trust these guys. They’re going to help you in any way they can.

LR: Well, and that’s what we’re doing here today. More information, get the word out. And Guy you sent me some information, and I particularly like this one – the Best Practices Series that you guys have put together – and it happens to be this one came from Betty Winthers that’s a friend of mine. About revitalizing membership … we’re starting to see clubs that maybe aren’t going to make it and a couple that haven’t made it. So talk to us specifically on this topic because you mentioned it a little bit earlier, but let’s go into this a little bit more in depth, Guy, and talk about what can these clubs do that are struggling? You know, “We’re down to our last three members … they’re all 80 … what do we do?”

GL: Yeah, before Guy touches on that, I do want to give credit where credit is due. And it goes back to my last point. These Best Practices documents were actually created by the AKC delegate all-breed committee. <LR: Oh nice.> And they spent years and years doing this. And then they share it with all the member clubs and we put it in a newsletter and then we put it on the web site. But as we have these turnover rates in clubs, those types of documents get lost. And that’s where Guy picks them up and they’re great resources. Tell them about how successful you’ve been with that.

GF: So basically what I did is I created an email with every key point from the delegates committee Best Practices, the club developed the Best Practices for scheduling, show chairmen are so appreciative of that. The success that we have reached now with revitalizing membership, we are currently working with low membership clubs across the country and out of 85 that I’ve contacted so far, 85 are on board trying to generate new members to their clubs and they’re taking those concepts and they’re taking those ideas and they’re actually applying it to their – … an example – the Kennel Club will remain nameless – but they had a B match inside the center of a mall and they had their club education table and their promotion of their club. And from that event alone they picked up three new members. And then there’s another kennel club that we’ve been working with that are going on board and they’re going to have a meet and greet, and a late hors d’oeuvres, and the club themselves are going to reach out to former members and they asked club development if we could compile a e-mail to generate to dogs that have been registered within a 50 mile radius of their club. So it’s a fabulous idea. And clubs are very appreciative of it and they’re applying it and they’re bringing new people in, because and that’s the name of the game. We have to get new people in.

LR: Well, and I think you guys are definitely on target being able to use the resources that AKC has at their fingertips to say, “Who owns a purebred dog in my town and my county,” what have you, that’s a tremendous value.

GL: It really is. Just the amount of information that the AKC has is tremendous value and people don’t know how to access it. Guy talks to clubs every day and just in talking to one club, you get ideas that you can help another club with. And we want to try to perpetuate that community of conversation, basically. Getting clubs to talk to each other. And if we need to be the conduit to do that, we’re happy to be the conduit to do that. So the other thing about membership that we’ve been working on that Guy’s been very successful at … I don’t know if you’re familiar with the Club Outreach Program.

LR: Yeah, no, talk to me more about that. I was reading about it and your material, so let’s share that with the listeners.

GL: OK so the Club Outreach Program – basically we’ve asked clubs to sign up to allow us to send out an e-mail on their behalf to all new registrants. So if you’re a new registrant in, let’s say, Atlanta area, there are – I don’t know – rough figure – 12 clubs within 50 miles of Atlanta. Any of those clubs have signed up to participate in this will be listed on an e-mail welcoming this person to the AKC, to the sport of dogs, and we provide them the information about these clubs. Now, that actual program has been in existence for many years, but we’re trying to revitalize it – we’re trying to talk to clubs about when they see your information and your web page, and they link on your web page, what is the feeling they get? From Guy’s and my perspective, we obviously can’t change the club’s web page, but we want to try to talk to the clubs about being as welcoming as possible. Have a link there about people might be interested in attending an event, people might be interested in attending a meet and greet, those types of things. If you’re going to participate in this program, you should have a place for them to land when they go, because if they don’t, they’re just going to say well this is all about somebody that owns dogs. Another thing that’s along these lines that we work with, that Guy has been very successful with, is the Parent Club Flyer insert program. What happens there is, if you buy a Springer Spaniel, we insert a flyer that the parent club provides us. I don’t know if the Springer Spaniel signed up for it or not – I just got a picture of a Springer on my desk which made me about that.

LR: I can tell you for a fact the Wirehaired Pointer Club does because I was president of the club when they started it …

GL: <laughing> I just looked at my desk and saw the first picture. But anyway, so what Guy’s been doing, and what we noticed, was that they were excellent flyers to tell somebody about the breed. But a lot of them told nobody about the parent club. So what we’ve been trying to do is revitalize those and make sure that the parent club gets their message out, too, that they are a resource for this breed that a one page flyer really isn’t going to tell you everything you might want to know about a breed. But the parent club can or at least can walk you through – like the AKC – the parent club has more resources about that breed than any other. So those are two really Club Outreach programs that we’ve been really very active with, is the Club Outreach program itself and the Parent Club Flyer program. Guy do you have anything to add on that?

GF: Again it was received very well. The parent clubs really took a strong look at it, and we’ve got numerous changes – more welcoming, more updating. And the beautiful thing is, there’s been parent clubs that were not participating that realized that they were missing the boat and they’re on board now and they’re going to start participating moving forward.

LR: Right. I remember when it first was introduced, and it’s been a while ago, and as I said I was involved with doing it in my club and I just think that’s such a great resource. The other one that I love, and you guys – I don’t know if you’re involved in this or not – that just in the last year or so the American Kennel Club has been so much more proactive about, you know, I had a litter of puppies that I own one and I get an email every month: this is how old your puppy is … this is what you should be doing … this <GL: Oh yeah!> I love that program!

GL: That’s the AKC Pupdate Program! <LR: Love that!> We love that program. And one thing that we really like about that program, is it is so geared to the specific breed, the exact age of your dog at that time, and let’s say your dog’s four months old – we’re able to say maybe you ought to look into a club and look into a training class. It is a great first year program for a puppy owner.

LR: I have to tell you, I mean I don’t always think every single thing that comes from AKC – sorry, I don’t think everything is fabulous – but I love that. <laughter> Well, ok, it’s a fact. I loved that.

GL: No, AKC Pupdate is a great program and it’s been very well received, particularly with new owners. They need that little bit of extra information. I would like to say that we were involved in that but we just piggy backed on that where we can.

LR: And it’s a great piggy back – here’s your local club and they talk to them about their dog show or talk to them about their obedience class or whatever. I just think it’s smart. That was really one of my favorite things I’ve seen out of the American Kennel Club recently.

LR: So OK guys you’re now a little over a year into this department and you’re seeing what sounds like really great numbers, great success. If you had to pick one thing, what’s your favorite piece – as dog owners, as club people – what do you see having the most potential and greatest benefit for our listeners to know about?

GL: For clubs, it’s all about perspective. Because if you have a club in the northeast they’re struggling with competition. They’re struggling with another club 250 miles away holding their event at the same time. So what we want to talk to them about is scheduling the best event that they can. Adding an additional attraction – let’s say they have a nice facility and want to add Fast Cat, want to add scent work, adding something that’s going to bring some new blood into the sport. I was looking at a slide today where 21% of the people that received scent work titles in the first four months of the program were brand new to the AKC – never participated in AKC event. This is their first title. So it’s those types of things that clubs need to start thinking about is, “How can I attract new people? How can I revitalize my event?” But along those lines, “How can I have the best event possible?” I know Guy’s very big at offering things at your event … I mean, just – coffee and donuts in the morning. When I was a kid that was always offered, you know I rarely see that anymore. So for the northeast that’s a big thing. For out west, you get the situation where people think driving 500-600 miles to a dog show is normal. <LR: No big deal, man> <laughter> That always amazes me and I don’t think that’s –

LR: As soon as I’m done here, I’m going to drive 500 miles to go to a dog show.

GL: Yeah! No kidding. So that’s something that really interests me – is how can we help those clubs be more attractive. When you think about it from a exhibitors point of view, if I’m a new dog owner and I live in a town where there’s six shows a year, and the next closest dog show’s 400 miles away, I’m gonna think twice about driving that 400 miles. People have so many options in today’s world. So if we can make our events more attractive, more appealing to more people, that’s how we can have success and that’s what I’m focused on.

LR: Excellent.

GF: I’ll answer now. So my favorite piece of the program, one, is to communicate with the clubs but the second thing is, Glenn came to me about the multi-event concept – to go out and promote to the clubs. And you’ve probably heard that I’ve gone to various parts of the country speaking to clubs. And what we do is we developed what’s called our “little matrix” – a listing of all of the events that you can offer in conjunction with your all-breed conformation event, your specialty, or we even deliver the idea of a standalone weekend. And people are amazed at how many things that they could add because one, they think they don’t have enough membership. But after I start to disclose to them that you’re going to incorporate those other clubs to do the work with you, and everything is negotiable and you work it out, and as long as your club is as transparent with the other people in the club, it really gels together and the unique thing about it is the multi-events – I’m not saying it adds 7 events to your conformation, that that would be so overwhelming for some areas. Number one you have to know your area. You have to know your dog people within your area, and to see what’s driving them. Like Glenn said about the AKC Scent Work – people love this program and they love the Fast Cat. They love doing things with their dogs other than just conformation. But if you do a couple of these events in conjunction with your conformation, there are positives. There are pros. If for example you’re charging a parking fee you’re going to get the extra parking fees etc, etc, that are going to come in for the performance events. And people are going to walk over and they’re going to see these conformation shows going on and they’re going to say, “Wow, I’d really like to get into that. Again it’s that crossover. It’s offering something because in today’s fast paced world that we live in, families are bang-bang-bang they’re going-going-going. So if we can offer it – we can become competitive like that – give the people a little bit more choice, I think clubs are going to see some positive things from that.

LR: Absolutely I would agree. And I think too, let’s think about vendors, right? <GF: Yep> All of that – it just makes a more successful package and I think that that’s amazing. So gentlemen I know you have a busy day ahead of you. I appreciate your time tremendously. Listeners will be providing some links on the Web site so that you can go specifically touch base with these guys if they are able to help your club out, which I really think they can. So good job. Kudos to the American Kennel Club! You guys are doing great!

GL: Thanks so much, Laura

GF: Thank you very much, Laura.

Allison Foley Tip of the Week

LR: Welcome Pure Dog Talk listeners to Allison Foley from the Leading Edge Dog Show Academy. She’s here with her tip of the week for us today. And I think this is one I’m going to agree real strongly with Allison. Thanks Allison. Thanks for joining us.

ALLISON FOLEY: I’m happy to be here Laura.

LR: Excellent. So talk to me about when you’re in the ring and you’re nervous and you just keep brushing your dog.

AF: Well, yeah, I mean, I guess for me … You know I was brought up with Afghan Hounds and Miniature Poodles … you know that lots of brushing, lots of grooming. But the first book I ever read on junior showmanship by Marsha Hill Brown – she just talked about, like, that if you absolutely had to correct some grooming in the ring you could only do it out of sight of the judge. And preferably that would be, you know, she talked about the Golden Rule and junior handling where you never get between your dog and the judge.

But she said if you ever had to groom your dog in the ring, you would only do it with your back to the judge blocking the view, so the judge could not see you actually grooming the dog. So I’m not really sure why that stuck with me so much because I do show a lot of coat-heavy, grooming-heavy breeds. But that has stuck with me for a very long time. And then, early in my professional handling career, it was again, it was reinforced by a judge. And this is what happened.

We were in the Non-Sporting group, and in Canada Shih-Tzu’s are in the Non-Sporting group, and for whatever reason the Shih-Tzu was – I can’t remember what I was showing – but the Shih-Tzu was on the table in front of me. So I watched the judge examine the dog and then get to the, you know, moved down and back. And before the dog was moved down and back the handler basically brushed it out – like they fixed the top knot, they combed the beard, they like, fixed the tail, they brushed it on both sides and they brushed it on both sides again, and they tweaked the top knot again and it was a big production that I most likely would not have noticed, except, that even before that Shih-Tzu went around to the end of the line, and I was waiting to be the next one to go down and back, the judge said to me, “You know – do they think that I have all the time in the world that they can just totally re-groom their dog while I’m waiting?” She said, “That is so rude and I’m so glad that you never do it.” Well, I mean luck was on my side that I didn’t do it, but it just really stuck with me that yes, if you’re grooming your dog in front of the judge you are taking up the judge’s precious time, right? And you know especially these judges are judging 175 dogs in a day and you’re the 170th – they’re tired now, right? So, see if it’s day three, day four on the circuit.

And you know I have this course at Leading Edge Dog Show Academy called The Best Dog In Two Minutes where I explain my theory about dog shows, about how I think dog shows are about the dog that looks the best in those two minutes. You know we have a lifetime to decide how good or bad that dog is. But a judge has two minutes. And really when it comes to undistracted time focusing on your dog it’s probably closer to 40 seconds, right? So if you have 40 seconds of the judge’s undivided time and you’re wasting 20 or 30 seconds grooming your dog, I don’t think that bodes really well for you. So I guess my point is, yes there are times when you are going to have to fix a top knot or a beard or, you know, your dog runs around the ring and it gets a bit of slobber in it or it kicks the leaf in it or you know a piece of bait flies from another ring into your dog, or you know simply their hair just went askew for whatever reason – it was super windy. But, I’m saying that you really need to keep the grooming to a minimum whenever possible. You’re going to have your back to the judge when you do it and especially if the judge has just examined your dog and is waiting for you to do the individual gating pattern, I think that that is probably the worst time to adjust the hair on your dog.

LR: Absolutely. And I find myself, because of course I’m like you, old school, I don’t want to touch them if the judge is looking. And so when I find myself in the worst position is when I’m showing a drop coated brain with a part and you get it …right … and you get them off the table, you get them out of the stack, and what do they do? Promptly shake it all out. Of course they do. <Allison: Right.> And so then I’m torn, and I’m like, “OK I got to fix this. No I can’t!” You know, so yeah. Give us a hint.

AF: I mean I do understand that. You know I have lots of friends that show really beautiful Shih-Tzus, and they have asked me to show their winners dog for them for the breed. And I’m always happy to help, but they probably haven’t asked me in about ten years because I have that knack of I put the drop coated breed on the floor and it shakes and then you can no longer even see its bow. <laughter> Like I have no – they can show it, they can win the class, they can go winners dog, it doesn’t shake – you can always see the bow. Allison shows it for 30 seconds – it no longer has a bow. <LR: Yes!>

AF: I do understand that there are times when it’s absolutely necessary but, when in front of the judge, just really keep it to a minimum.

LR: Yep absolutely agree. Even when my T.T. has completely blown that perfect part <laugther> Oh my gosh thank you so much Allison – we always appreciate your time. And listeners, please don’t forget – cuppa coffee on us when you do “Pure Dog Talk 25” as your check out code on your Leading Edge Dog Show Academy course. Save 25%. Absolutely. All right. Thanks so much Alison.

AF: Thanks Laura.

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