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How to Show and Handle a Dog as a Junior

Becoming a Junior Handler is a great way to get involved with your dog! Not only will you benefit from the time you spend with your dog, but you can make new friends and new memories from the experience. There are so many dog sports to chose from, why not get started now?!

What to expect when you enter your first junior handling competition

1. Wear your ring number on a show clip, on your arm, or clipped on with a safety pin.

2. You will enter the ring with the other competitors and stand in a line with the dog stacked in front of you. The dog's side faces forward and its head positioned next to your right hand. Now is when the dog should be stacked. The judge will maybe ask everyone to move their dog around in a circle. Make sure to always leave enough room between the dog in front and you-three feet is a good goal. Move your dog at the right pace-you will need to trot a large dog so wait for the dog in front to go round a bit before you start.

3. The steward will ask the first person to go to the front and stack their dog. If you are new to the sport do not go first but watch what the exhibitors in front of you do. When the dog in front of you starts moving, it is time for you to set your dog up for the judge. The judge will look over your dog and ask you to do a pattern. When you return to him stand your dog again, say "Thank you" to the judge, and go to the back of the line

4. When the last person is doing their pattern, you need to stack your dog.

5. If you are lucky enough to be placed, go where the steward designates, and stand your dog. You will then be given a rosette. If you do not win, don't lose heart, but say thank you to the judge and congratulate the winner. Always remember there will be another show and winning one isn't really a big deal in the general scheme of things.

6. Soon you will gain confidence and will enter larger shows.

Tips

  • Try to handle a variety of breeds of dog. Going to a training class is great for this as you can meet new people and they might let you handle their dogs especially if yours is very excitable.It is easier to do well with an experienced dog if you are learning. When you get better, you can use yours.
  • Have fun with your dog, smile at it, BUT DO NOT just look at the dog, and make eye contact with the judge occasionally
  • Go along to companion shows and enter even if you are not incredibly sure what you are doing, as long as you can stack the dog you'll be fine,you won't win but it will give you confidence and show you how others do it.
  • Go to bigger open shows and championship shows to watch how your breed is handled.
  • Play with the dog a few minutes before the show so he/she calms down.

Warnings

  • Make sure you take the dog to the toilet before the competition.
  • Some people may not be nice to beginners, they can be a bit snobby. Don't take any notice of them and aim to be better than them!
  • Don't get too close to the dog in front. Your dog may be friendly but the dog in front may not be.
  • If you dog starts jumping around when doing patterns or starts going too fast give them a sharp "No!" and start from beginning of the pattern.