The Winning Edge! Panel Discussion With the Masters
Host Laura Reeves moderates a Friday Night Forum Panel Discussion on the topic of the “Winning Edge” with Judges Rick Gschwender and Pluis Davern and Professional Handler Bill McFadden.
It is not the judge’s job to find a “diamond in the rough,” Reeves posits. “Polish your “gem stone” for your best chance of success.”
Gschwender starts the discussion by asking the audience about their habits with the dogs they exhibit.
“How many of you train your dog? Road work him? Take video to see what the judge sees? Clean their teeth?” Gschwender queried. “I see people all the time, they’re paying $30 to enter the dog and haven’t even cleaned teeth.”
Gschwender adds, “Watch the judges. If you pay attention, you will see consistency in what they put up. You might not like it, but you will figure out what I like and come back and show that to me.”
Motivated by motion
Davern noted, in a fascinating observation, that people are *predators.* Which means “we are motivated by motion. What are judges looking at?” Davern asked rhetorically. “Motion. It catches the eye. You can *subtly* move your hand to show a pretty head, for example.
“You’re in the ring, you’re all showing the same “product.” There’s 20 boxes of cornflakes. What makes yours better than the others?”
Owner handlers have a huge advantage, Davern said. They are spending time with the dog they love.
“This is a great sport! Nobody takes a golf club to bed at night,” Davern said. “Life is not all about winning.”
“Take a deep breath and don’t rush,” McFadden advises. He also notes that in some cases, owner handlers who are long time breeders are “experts showing to novices.” Judges are life-long learners and may be new to a breed. “Present your breed the way it should be shown.”
Most importantly, McFadden said, be prepared. “Make sure your dog is in condition, physically, mentally, emotionally.”
“You’ll have successes and failures you deserve and ones you don’t. It happens to handlers too. We show 20 dogs and might win with two,” McFadden added.
For more insight from a couple of these panelists, you can listen back to:
A new public perspective and perhaps public outreach opportunity is offered by Gail Miller Bisher, the Director of Communications for Westminster Kennel Club, in this episode of Pure Dog Talk.
Winning Westminster Dog Show, or affectionately known as, the Garden, has been the dream of many breeders and exhibitors. Any change to the perceived purity of the "Garden" may be met with resistance from the sport.
But as we listen to Gail Bisher, consider this... Westminster has the public's eyes and ears. Who better than Westminster to be the positive voice, to bring heartwarming stories of the love and dedication of our purebred dogs and fanciers.
While the Garden will always be... the Garden, maybe the show of shows has a greater role to play.
Greener Pastures for the Garden - Westminster Kennel Club
Here are a few highlights for 2018:
- $10,000 Scholarship for Best Junior Handler
- $10,000 Scholarship for Agility
- $10,000 Scholarship for Obedience
- Art Contest - $15,000 total ($5,000 each) - to be awarded to 3 Parent Breed Clubs for Rescue
Gail Miller Bisher - Westminster Kennel Club - Director of Communications
Gail Miller Bisher (pronounced By-sher) is a second-generation dog person with more than 35 years of experience in the sport as a handler, breeder, trainer, writer and spokesperson.
As with many exhibitors in the sport, her experience started as a family affair. Bisher was a team with her parents. While they handled most of the breeding (and her mother was a parent club president for many years) Gail did the grooming, training, conditioning and handling. In addition to conformation, she has earned titles on dogs in obedience, rally, advanced CGC and earthdog.
Bisher handled her first dog to its championship when she was just 12 years old. From her WD win at the first BCCA Specialty in 1979, she continued to handle her dogs and clients’ dogs to National Specialty BOB and BOS and All-Breed Best in Show wins, numerous top ranked positions and Junior Showmanship history. Gail was the first junior handler to qualify for the Westminster Kennel Club’s Junior Showmanship competition with a Beardie and the first to place, capturing second.
Since 1988 she has been judging regional specialties and supported entries and now is an AKC-licensed judge of Bearded Collies, Shetland Sheepdogs and Junior Showmanship competition. In 2015 she judged the BCCA National Specialty. Although time does not allow for much other than a limited number of judging assignments while raising her daughter, Gail has stayed involved by earning four titles each on both of her miniature dachshunds, who recently passed away.
Her club work includes serving the BCCA as a former breed columnist and club-approved breed mentor, specialty conformation chairperson and she is currently the club historian. Additionally, she is a member of the Dachshund Club of America, Morris & Essex, Greenwich Kennel Club and the Dog Writers Association of America.
She has nearly 10 years of experience directing the marketing, brand development and public relations for the American Kennel Club and Webvet.com. In 2003 AKC hired her to be an on-air spokesperson appearing on national media outlets to promote the sport and purebred dogs.
Bisher credits her Junior Showmanship experience for creating the foundation for a successful professional career where she has gained recognition in advertising, marketing and the public relations industries. She is a Clio and Mobius Award winning broadcast producer with 12 years of experience in the advertising industry; has managed licensing programs to LIMA awards and produced a TV PSA that was featured on America’s Funniest Commercials. Additionally, she is an ACE-certified personal trainer, has earned a Master of Arts degree in Communications and created the Super Fit Fido Club to educate pet dog owners about the importance of canine fitness.
A Dog Show Should Be Fun
Listen to Episode #38 of Pure Dog Talk as Betty-Anne Stenmark shares lessons learned of how to throw a party with a premium list; a dog show that all enjoy and attracts specialty clubs to party too.
Show Chairs, Club Members, Exhibitors and Aspiring Judges will all benefit from these words of wisdom.
If you missed Episode #31 - Not a Gene Pool...A Gene Puddle , or want to hear again the humor and wisdom of AKC Judge and Breeder of Dandie Dinmont Terriers, Mrs. Betty-Anne Stenmark, listen here.
Seattle Kennel Club Dog Show Rocks!
Katie Campbell is a second-generation dog breeder and has been exhibiting and breeding under her own TAJI prefix since 1991. Though known worldwide for her highly acclaimed Basenjis, she is also a Breeder of Merit in Ibizan Hounds and Poodles. She has also judged across the USA and around the globe. Like many of us, Katie is an active member in an ensemble of purebred dog clubs, tirelessly aspiring to keep members active and replenishing their rosters. She does so with an inspirational message that mentors not only new owners and aspiring judges, but effectively reaches the public to share our pure bred dog message. As a member of the Seattle Kennel Club Board of Directors and show committee for Seattle Kennel Club’s upcoming large, diverse, and very public oriented show, Katie shares with us how the Seattle Kennel Club uses media to attract gate and potential new pure bred dog enthusiasts and club members.