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Showing question

Discussion in 'Getting Started in Conformation' started by SheepOfBlue, Aug 13, 2015.

  1. SheepOfBlue

    SheepOfBlue Premium Member

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    OK don't worry the barbarian horde is going to stay with Flyball but I saw another thread and became curious.

    Is there a beginner level in conformation? Seems to me there should be a level where the handlers are inexperienced and the dogs less than perfect. It would lower the cost of entry and up the 'win' potential. Of course the dog would not progress to the higher level with potential success like the handler.

    Just curious as most things have a novice level.
     
  2. tofu pup

    tofu pup Moderator

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    Short answer: kind-of, sort-of.

    Here in the US, there are informal shows called matches. They are put on by a local club (specialty or all-breed), and usually they're held in a park or in someone's backyard. The judges are breeders or handlers who have experience, but aren't licensed judges, and there are often entry restrictions like "professional handlers may only show their own dogs" and "no dogs with majors" (that is, dogs that have demonstrated success at actual shows). The entry fee might be $5. No records are kept and no points are awarded.

    The whole atmosphere is very relaxed, and often clubs will organize a potluck picnic to feed everybody. It's a great way to build community, and to give exhibitors a low-stakes chance to train puppies and build confidence.

    However, in recent years, matches have become fewer and farther between. People don't want to travel for a "show" without a chance to earn points, and clubs would rather save their energy and funds for licensed shows, which offer more potential for revenue.

    (As an aside, I am very proud that the two Sheltie clubs that I'm a member of hold annual matches/picnics! I'm working on the ad for the Connecticut club's match as I write this.)

    Other than matches, there really isn't a "novice" level for exhibitors. I think it is a definite issue for the fancy, because our barriers to entry are already fairly high.
     
  3. SheepOfBlue

    SheepOfBlue Premium Member

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    Thanks, interesting on the match thing.

    The entry of flyball is training as it takes a lot for most dogs to go through the jumps, get the ball and not chase the other lane (or in Sca's case do power laps around the ring once he did everything else right :eek:)
     
  4. Ann

    Ann Moderator

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    As a former agility competitor who started conformation showing late in life, I agree with Megan that it can be a tough world to break into. The general perception is that all you have to do is run your dog around the ring on a leash, so what's so hard about that? :confused2:

    The answer is that if the details don't get you, competing against professional handlers will. One learns quickly by watching that there are ways to handle your dog to make it look better, smoother, improve the topline, gait etc. and you need to know what you're doing to make that happen. And then there's the grooming...show grooming a Sheltie is an art form. It took me two years of following Megan's mother, missjennygirl, around to dog shows and pestering her with questions while I watched before I set foot in a ring. I don't know how anyone could break into showing without the help and guidance of a solid mentor. There's just too much to learn.

    I believe the AKC tried offering classes for novice handlers a while back, but that petered out because no one entered them. You couldn't win from the novice classes. So if you want to learn to show your dog, you have to take your chances and jump in with both feet. Sometimes it works!
     
  5. SheepOfBlue

    SheepOfBlue Premium Member

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    Thanks we will stick to Flyball for Sca and being spoiled for Spitfire (maybe one day he will earn a point) Always curious though. I do hear gossip from the Norwich and Saluki world of showing though as some team members do that.
     

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