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Killa and Tekno
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Discussion Starter #1
I have a strong interest in conformation showing (as well as obedience but that鈥檚 another thread馃檪) I have about 7+ years of pet grooming experience (not currently a groomer but have all my supplies), lots of dog knowledge and training skills but no direct showing experience. What do you think it would take for me to finish a male toy to champion? Leaving this a little open ended on purpose :)

oh also Im in the LA area and would want to do it locally (shows within 200 miles)
 

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I have a strong interest in conformation showing (as well as obedience but that鈥檚 another thread馃檪) I have about 7+ years of pet grooming experience (not currently a groomer but have all my supplies), lots of dog knowledge and training skills but no direct showing experience. What do you think it would take for me to finish a male toy to champion? Leaving this a little open ended on purpose :)

oh also Im in the LA area and would want to do it locally (shows within 200 miles)

From my observational experience in AKC the chances of finishing are slim to none for owner handlers, but UKC is much more likely.
 

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To get an AKC championship, you would need a professional handler. There are so many insiders, and internal politics that a newbie would be overwhelmed. As far as obedience, though, absolutely you can shine as a beginner.
 

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We used to have a member here with 2 toy poodles (I鈥檓 blanking on her name, but she introduced us to PeggyTheParti) and she showed her dog Matisse to his AKC championship with help from her breeder. So try asking that fab breeder of yours to mentor you or introduce you to someone who will.

Also, the UKC idea is a good one. Everyone is an owner-handler per the rules. Best of all they have a Total Dog award for dogs that qualify in conformation and performance events at the same trial. Neutered/spayed dogs have their own category, so you can continue on regardless of repro choices.

AKC is hard for owner-handlers, but don鈥檛 let that stop you. As long as you are having fun- whynot go for it? Maybe check out New To Showing Poodles on FB.
 

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Newport鈥檚 right. You miss 100% of the shots you don鈥檛 take

My observations that make owner handled challenging are below.

1. Dogs on the road with pro handlers get way more practice than we do. That means more time in front of judges, more time to know your competition, more time to perfect your presentation of the dog. This is their job and they are good at it.
2. Show grooming is hard, but I鈥檓 also not a professional groomer. You gotta know your dog鈥檚 structure and the breed standard both in detail to get it right. We don鈥檛 always get it right. Where do I shave the neck down to? How much hair on the chest is too much? Oh hey look we鈥檙e waiting to walk in the ring and I forgot to groom the tail (true story).
3. Expense. We have containers full of crap, show leashes this length, that length, some color I bought and actually hate on my dog (let鈥檚 just throw $50 on the ground and pee on it), martingale, snake chain, nylon collars... just because we didn鈥檛 know really what worked best for us. We have an expensive stand dryer that pets don鈥檛 need.
4. Time. If you鈥檙e trying to finish your championship quickly, all your hotel/gas/RV/training/entry fees will be in a short period of time, so that could present a cash flow problem. If you take a long time to finish your championship (thank you corona) you鈥檒l be maintaining show coat for a VERY long time. Like, you better think brushing and banding is a fun hobby. Oh you wanted to try that super cute modern clip in the Kalstone book? Nope, sorry, you have 2 choices until you鈥檙e done with CH.
5. Finding majors. Sometimes it鈥檚 hard to identify shows close enough for you to compete for the points you need, especially your major wins. A pro handler not limited by location could travel wherever to compete for points.
6. Quality. Make sure a dog that鈥檚 shown OH is worthy of a championship title before you go spending time and money on work that won鈥檛 pay off. Obviously we don鈥檛 want any dogs shown that aren鈥檛 worthy, but especially for OH since even if you don鈥檛 鈥渟how鈥 well, the dog still deserves it

All that said, we鈥檙e having a good time. Maybe ask yourself why you鈥檙e interested in showing OH. If it鈥檚 to educate yourself and have fun with your dog, cool, try it. If it鈥檚 to get a CH for your dog ASAP so you can do other things, leave it to a pro. If you try it out and it鈥檚 not for you, no shame in calling a pro in!


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Killa and Tekno
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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you all, I so appreciate your honesty. I think if I do end up with a show prospect, we鈥檙e going to train train train but use that time for fun and bonding. I don鈥檛 want to traumatize my puppy or have them miss out on their childhood lol. I think after a year of training and entering a couple of shows, Ill have an idea if showing is my forte and if not Ill call in the professionals who will then have a more mature and ready dog to work with, saving us all to time (and me money lol).
Im a self taught programmer and have a masters degree though so doing hard things doesnt scare me. Im sure the harder I find showing the more determined I will be to master it. 馃槀
 

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While it is quicker and easier to hire a professional handler, you just might be a good candidate for doing it yourself. You will need to very carefully observe the professional handlers to see what the current "style" is. Daniel Chavez is a professional handler in your area - take a close look at how he presents his dogs.

It will take time to learn what different judges prefer so you do not waste money on someone who does not like the type of your dog or the way you present it. Work with your dog until you can stand in front of him/her and keep rapt attention. A really well-trained show dog knows to move a leg if you shift your weight or take a tiny step forward or backward (or just shift your weight). Have someone watch you gait your dog so you can figure out just how fast to move to get the dog's best stride. If you do not move smoothly yourself, work on your own movement to make it smooth. See if any of the clubs in your area offer conformation classes where you learn to show your own dog to best advantage.

Handling a toy poodle is much, much easier than handling a standard because you do not have to develop a smooth, long-striding run. Instead, you need to walk with long, smooth strides. Believe me when I tell you that if you walk with a short, choppy gait your dog will imitate you! Also practice picking up your dog and putting it on the table without messing up that carefully sprayed coat. Did you know that if, after setting the dog's front feet close to the front of the table, you gently pull backward on the tail, s/he will lean forward a bit? That makes the dog look really nice - firmer back, better rear angulation.

So practice and go for it!
 

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Also, the UKC idea is a good one. Everyone is an owner-handler per the rules. Best of all they have a Total Dog award for dogs that qualify in conformation and performance events at the same trial. Neutered/spayed dogs have their own category, so you can continue on regardless of repro choices.
I found a total of 3 UKC events in a 400 mile radius of Albuquerque. UKC is not very popular in the West.
 

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Killa and Tekno
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Discussion Starter #9
I found a total of 3 UKC events in a 400 mile radius of Albuquerque. UKC is not very popular in the West.
Yes UKC seems to not have a presence out here. I also don't believe the breeder is going to agree to UKC, I would be afraid to even ask her about haha
 
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