Gilberts' K-9 Seminars News & Review
Copyright (c) 2004-2009 Gilberts' K-9 Seminars
By Edward M. Gilbert Jr.

A reader wrote: “I would like your opinion on what we can do to make the dog show and match situation better.
I so agree and have a hard time finding a match for breed and obedience. I am too tired after an all day of showing and doing a booth to take a puppy and work or an obedience dog and try to work. I am too tired and have to be up early and back at the show early the next day.
This has been discussed at the cluster meetings, board meetings etc... No one seems to have an answer. If we do a match separate from the show our entries are low and it is a lot of work.
Help! We need ideas!

Kaye - Pat wrote the article - but I, Ed, am answering. The solution that I have recommended ever since the advent of the back-to-backs would never happen. Yet it is simple, reduce the number of back to backs. Limit them to only hardship cases such as the upper peninsula in Michigan, Alaska and Hawaii. Limit clusters to a maximum of four days with a one week interval between shows in the same area. Note that AKC put the Classic right in the middle of the Florida marathon.
Do not let a club have a second show until they put on an independent match.
The AKC Delegates and the Board would never support this upheaval and neither would the clubs.
Presently in the majority of the country there are no free weekends for a match - you need to break up the present system. Along with that you need to change the mileage distance and days between shows for the judges. This would provide new faces all over the country and give the new judges a chance.
The Professional Handlers would revolt along with their big money backers.
So the sport goes downhill as there is no new blood in any area - breeders, exhibitors, trainers, and workers for the shows. But worst of all the dogs suffer due to lack of proper training and worst of all an 18 hour day for puppies and young dogs at the after BIS match.
There needs to be a new approach to save the sport as a family sport. But I repeat, none of my suggested solutions could occur in today’s dog world. The cancer of Back to Backs and clusters is still spreading and only radical surgery and chemotherapy can save it.
Are there other solutions that are less radical? I wish I knew.
Another possibility is to require each club that puts on two shows to have at least 30 conformation training classes a year. We need new blood.
Kaye even you state: "If we do a match separate from the show our entries are low and it is a lot of work." Matches require a lot of work as does anything worth while. In the 60's I chaired matches of 800 to 1200 dogs. That no longer happens. But California only had 26 All-breed dog clubs then, now it is 65 with more applying. There are only 52 weekends in a year - that is a limiting factor.
In the 70's we said that there would come the day when shows would be held on Christmas and New Years - we are about there.
Look at how agility has taken off - they provide training and so far it is kept as a fun sport in pure-bred dogs.
Another idea is to have evening matches during the week in the Summer - one or two groups at a match. You can only do this if it is for members only. Cover all groups over a period of weeks. We used to do that at Orange Empire Dog Club in So. Calif. We got 100 or more dogs at each Match, not counting the Obedience entry. But we had 500 members - you couldn't beat our dues of $1.00 a year. Match entry was 50 cents for conformation and 50 cents for obedience. We sold hamburgers and hot dogs and corn on the cob and a green salad along with cold drinks. But we had our own clubhouse and grounds for the match and the food. Everybody enjoyed it all and learned what a dog show should be about. BIS in Match went inside, as it started getting dark by that time. Generally we had 8 to 10 rings going - we also had obedience.

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