GROOMING PERSPECTIVES – THE RIGHT WAY
By Patricia Gilbert
A reader in Oz wrote: “As far as MOST of us are concerned here in Oz, we try to do the
tidying the "right" way, i.e. the "invisible" way, the Michael Canalizo way.”
I agree 100% with this assessment. The Canalizo way is a very natural way to presentation of the Afghan Hound. While there is hair removed and trained, it does not offend the eye or hand. It enhances in a natural way.
I have judged in many parts of the world including Australia and yes, there is some very offensive overgrooming that is also badly done. The poor grooming is not exclusive to Australia. It is more and more rampant everywhere. Why? Because no one is teaching the right way.
By and large I believe that people are really trying to get it right throughout the world.
People see something done in one breed and carry it over to the Afghan Hound. The poor Poodle people really get the brunt of everything gone wrong in any breed, don't they? The really good Poodle people know what they are doing and actually grow correct hair.
Afghan Hounds should look natural. That does not mean filthy with mats. Let's give that concept a rest.
Handler - Groomer - my personal perspective.
Lose the clippers and scissors. They are not needed to properly clean up and present the Afghan Hound for the show ring. Shaved, clipped, and scissored will NEVER look natural.
Learn how to work coat with your fingers. If you are not sure, hire a hard coat Terrier handler for a few hours to give you a crash course on stripping and plucking. You can shorten hair in certain areas such as the tail by snapping the coat. Go find out what snapping is or ask me.
Learn how and what a good dog looks like and most importantly, what it feels like. Learn what the Afghan Hound is at different ages. Read, understand and learn the Standard. Then apply it to the dog you are working with both on the table and on the ground.
Learn that the really good groomers share their talent. Those that guard their so-called secrets are small minded people and not worth the effort. There are no secrets or shortcuts to hard work.
Understand that your ability will not come overnight. You must maintain a show look. Read some of the articles on our website.
I continue to train people at various levels of experience. We don't teach the tricks of the trade. We teach the trade.
My biggest accomplishment is when a student surpasses me. It is a win-win situation for me. I have done my job well.
Judge's perspective - my personal view.
I am a Master Groomer so I see things most other judges won't ever see without my training.
The Parent Club's judges' education really does not extensively get into grooming. Judges are trained with what is presented at the hands-on. The onus is on the judge to continue learning and seek more knowledge.
If I have the choice of a naturally presented dog and one clearly overdone, and they are close to equal in my mind, not yours, the natural dog will win every time in my, not your ring.
I am not responsible for other judge's mistakes.
Do I personally penalize everything I see? How can I? I prefer to look positively at things and see the total package.
Do I penalize an otherwise really good dog for a bad grooming job, which really is man made? It depends on the level of the exhibitor. Is it clearly someone who was misguided and a total novice? I know. I ask. I have quiet words of encouragement for them to learn proper presentation.
If you come into my ring with badly clipped Afghan Hounds, we will have a discussion. Check my record. My book is marked "excused not in accordance with the breed standard". If you are a so-called professional handler wearing the organization's pin on your lapel AND you bring me a clipped Afghan Hound with no whiskers and more, you will get an earful and the walk of shame.
Have I awarded trimmed dogs? Yes, all the time. So, the snickers can stop about me not seeing something done. I see it and I do my best to overlook it. I can only judge what is presented. Again, how can I penalize an otherwise good dog for a man made fault? I still remember the days when we tried to achieve the "natural look" to get it past Babbie Tongren and giggled when we did. I now realize many years later, that she really did know and chose to overlook some of our games.
I have found my comfort level as a judge. That level is my 1 plus 1 equals 11.
Breeders personal point of view
1. Be true to your personal standard and be true to the Afghan Hound Standard. We don't need to change the standard. We need to change education so that people without the animal husbandry backgrounds of yesterday can understand our breed today.
2. Whatever I do to enhance the look of my Afghan Hounds for the show ring, will be undone and visible in the whelping box.
3. The most important name on a pedigree is the breeder's.