ADVICE/PERSPECTIVE ON DOG SHOWS
By Patricia H. Gilbert
Recently on one of the web lists a participant wrote: “I have also encountered some professionals in the recent past with years of experience breeding/handling/showing that seem to have forgotten just how they got their start.”
Response: Perhaps where you and I are different is in our definitions of a true professional. Could it be in your approach? By and large the people I know are competitive and do have time to help out. You just have to make an appointment with the right people. I ignore the nasty ones. Who needs them?
“Some had dogs given to them without having to pay for them, having no prior experience or knowledge. Their passion for the breed saw them through. But they have selective memory and don't admit it because they won't sell to someone who is not experienced.”
Response: One of my in my heart forever dogs was a Saluki named Hadjji. He went through a fire and came to me. He became a top show dog. I will never forget that in the true spirit of the Saluki that he was not sold but given to me. That was in l972.
My memory is not selective and excellent. (Much to some people's chagrin). I do have some things that are absolutely essential for someone to get a dog from me. Each person is different and has their qualifications.
There is a point when you have to make a leap of faith with a newbie. I go on instinct. Also, I keep contact with that person so I know how things are progressing. If a breeder does not do the minimum for contact, then I do not consider them professional.
”These same owner/breeder/handlers seem to have a double standard for new
people. They feel new people to the breed will ruin it. If it hasn't been ruined
for thousands of years, I doubt that it will be ruined by a newbie trying to
do their best. There has to have been feral Afghan hounds who ran loose and
bred indiscriminately through the centuries. The breed is no worse off for it.”
Response: There can be no double standard. Some people's standards are extremely high. Some are unreasonable and some throw the leash at you as you walk out the door. I look for the true dog people that are reasonable with high standards for breeding.
Maybe not worse off for the feral dogs but they didn't carry the kennel name of the breeder. The feral dog gene pool was kept clean by Mother Nature who is unforgiving in the natural environment. We (the dog people) do it to ourselves. We (the dog people) have pointed fingers and vilified anyone who dares to have more dogs than we personally think appropriate. We (the dog people) decide how and when you should keep dogs. How to feed. How to groom. How to clean up. How to house. Etc. We got seriously sucked into the animal rights agenda. We turn on each other and eat each other. We are so worried that our names may be trashed that we make it virtually impossible for anyone to buy a dog from us or for us to breed any litter for that matter.
We ruin the breeds because we cannot have a real breeding program anymore. We produce a large litter and agonize over where each dog should go. If we heaven forbid make a human mistake, the dog world crucifies us. The dog may end up in the world of RESCUE with the dog world ruining our reputations. Then worse of the worse, we cannot get the dog back from rescue. If we get the dog back, a very fine quality animal may be by mandate spayed or neutered. The decision of what should be done with our personal breeding is removed from our hands. Others make the decisions about OUR dogs sold to someone whose situation many have changed (death in family, divorce, sickness) and to hell with the fact that we have legal contracts to protect our dogs. What do we do? We give up and don't breed anymore or breed once every three or four years.
That is what happens to breeders. Can you now understand why it is difficult for a newbie to break through the wall?
”The hypocrisy, double standard, condescending attitude especially from those
who also cross the line with severely clipping, painting, dying, etc. I have
encountered has felt very discriminating.”
Response: The world has always been full of the "do as I say, not as I do" people. It is not exclusive to the dog world. You are only responsible for yourself and your actions. I do not cross the line.
”I got my puppy from a good breeder/owner/handler who may have checked my
references ( I don't know and don't care - I had nothing to hide and offered
them up front) who heard my passion and felt I was a good risk. It was the
easiest transaction I could have hoped for.”
Response: If you got your puppy from a good breeder, I can absolutely guarantee you that they checked your references.
”I have no plans to show because I would want to show my dog in a natural
state and what would be the point of following the standard to the letter? It
isn't followed by the winners these days. I've seen these dogs up close at dog
shows and the natural dog doesn't win.”
Response: I beg to differ with you, I am fairly sure that I see more shows and Afghan Hounds than you do. There is a difference in cleaning up a dog and sculpting a dog. A cleaned up dog with some fuzz taken off the face and saddle and other parts is as far as I am concerned natural.
A dog that is dyed, scissored, sculpted, sprayed, and whatever is not natural.
I wrote an article on “Do Judges Now Need a Master's Grooming Degree.” Many judges do not have the background in extensive grooming. So the faked dogs get past them in the two minutes they are allotted to judge the animal. Who pays for it? The breed!! If you cannot be true to your breed, what can I say?
Presentation is another faked thing with bait being waved and flung far and wide. Is that natural? No! The King of Dogs IS NOT a slobbering drooling cross eyed servant begging and jumping for bait. Why bait? People do not know how to train a dog to stand and move on a loose lead with head and tail held high anymore. They do not know how, or take the time, to bring out the natural beauty and arrogance of the Afghan Hound. They take the short cut to food in front of the face. As far as I am concerned, this is as offensive to me as clipped and dyed.
People today don't want to put the time in. They want the instant fix and gratification. They want the ribbons, wins and titles. It is much faster to fake and bait then it is to do it the proper way to be true to the breed.
I choose my comfort level as an exhibitor, breeder, handler and a judge. I alone am responsible for my actions. I have won though the years and continue to win with my natural dogs. My dogs have won specialties and Best in Shows. So--- I am comfortable in saying "do as I say, and do as I do".
Please give this advice and perspective some thought and consideration.