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I haven't seen that one...I have often wondered about the passing the handling job on to someone else myself though...seems sad to me...


My new favorite show on Animal Planet is "Who gets the dog?"
It is a reality based show where they have a pound dog that needs a home. They screen the applicants and pick three. The dog is taken to their home...they have to perform some tasks/teach the dog some tricks...and the judges evaluate how the dog interacts etc. with the family. The dog must spend one night with the family. They are scored in 3-4 different areas (don't remember the break-down)...and at the end, the dog gets to go home with the family that is the best match! I thought it was a really cute show...a good idea too...to help get some of the pound dogs to good homes.
 

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Originally posted by Nichole@Jan 24 2005, 11:20 AM
Did anyone happen to see the show on Animal Planet last night called "Gone to the Dogs" (I think that is what it was called)?  It was a reality based show about the behind the scenes lives of handler and owners of dogs.  It certainly was interesting and opened my eyes to how much of a commitment it takes to do that.  Some of those handlers were like pageant moms who were obsessed with "the win." 
 

My question is, after watching that show, why do "owners" of dogs turn the dogs over to handlers to show?  Why don't the owners do the showing? 

At that point, the dog is no longer a pet, but rather property that is just passed around.  It seems almost cruel to let the dog get attached to the handler and then the owner has the right to take the dog back.

Is there money to be made in this dog showing world?  One lady (and I don't know if this was "the norm") was the owner of a Schnauzer and also owned a car dealership, so she gave the handlers an RV to tote the dog around the country in as well as $3000 a month for expenses!  That's $36,000 a year for a DOG!

Hmmm...maybe I am in the wrong field. 

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Nichole, my guess as to why there are "handlers" and "owners" is that being a good handler is an art and the owner may not be a natural at it. I think some people are just better at showing a dog at its best. Also, the owner may not have any interest or desire to be a handler nor want the peripatetic life that goes along with it.
 

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If you are going to be breeding dogs, it is necessary to assure that they are of a quality that meets the standard. To do this, you need to have objective opinions. In purebred dogs, conformation showing is how this is done. The dog has to be judged by a number of different judges who have to find it to be a good representative of the breed. The dog is also required to win in competition so it is being compared and rated against other examples of the same breed.

This requires, especially for a coated breed, much knowledge of grooming and presenting dogs. If a breeder (usually the owner is the breeder or purchased the pup with intentions to add it to their breeding program) cannot be an expert at this, which is very hard to be if you have to grow show coat on a Maltese and compete against professional handlers, then they may utilize the services of a professional handler. The handler usually only has the dog for a few months or may even just take the dog for show weekends. The dogs that live with the handler for long periods of time are "specials" who are being campaigned. For these dogs, think of the owner as more of a financial backer the the handler as the traditional owner as far as loving and caring for the dog goes. If you have a dog of incredible quality, specialing them helps to demonstrate this quality as well as to get the dog out there for many people to see. In Maltese, Tonia Holibaugh is a prime example. If you have ever seen her with one of her specials, Bandit or now Thriller, you can see that she adores the dogs and they adore her.

Having raised dogs and trained them for the show ring, my dogs LOVE the ring. They enjoy nothing more than being the center of attention and traveling with Mom. If you have ever seen a dog that is just handed off ringside to the handler, they immediately turn on and are bright and excited. They love playing the game of showing with the handler and being the center of attention. Unhappy dogs do not win. If the dog was not happy to be in the ring, it would show.

So, if you want to breed the right way, sending your dog to a handler may be a necessary thing. I've never met a breeder who didn't miss there dog dearly while they were gone, but honestly, the way good handlers interact and care for these dogs, I've never seen a dog unhappy with the handler.

Having finished Mikey and shown a variety of different breeds, giving up 3 days a week just to travel and show is not easy to do, even if I'm not grooming the dog!

Most handlers don't have an RV given to them and most owners cannot finance a long campaign. That is a very rare case where the owner is much more an owner on paper and a financial backer than what you think of as the caretaker of the dog.
 

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I know very little about this subject except what I've learned from my breeder and from a friend who raises Vizlas. From what I can gather people who are really into raising dogs are pretty much always looking for the best example of the breed. After all, if Maltese are going to continue to be well bred, and bred to the AKC standard, someone is going to have to produce great dogs. One of the accepted ways to insure that these dogs meet standards is to show them and aim for Championship. Getting a championship could indicate that the dog or bitch, when bred with the right mate, may continue to produce quality puppies, also meeting breed standard. There are threads on this site where it is said that one of the "qualifications" to breed a dog is whether that dog has been shown and finished. Like Sher says, there may be an art to showing dogs. Some owners choose to handle their own dogs in the show ring. Others get nervous, don't like it, don't do well, etc. My friend with the Vizlas shows some of her dogs, but early in their breeding program they used a handler because they wanted to quickly get the dog out there, earning points. In their case, they wanted the dog to be away from home as short a time as possible and a handler was the way to do it. There is no question that show dogs don't have nearly as carefree a life as pet dogs. They don't go out to play because of their coats. They may not even be able to romp with the other dogs inside for fear of ruining their coats. But once they finish their championship points then they don't have to be kept in full coat and they can be used to breed other dogs.

I agree that it seems kind of mean, but it will probably be for a fairly short time and many of us wouldn't have our particular dogs if these dogs didn't go onto the show circuit with their owners or a handler. It would not be my kind of life, but having had a bad experience years ago, I wouldn't have gotten a dog from any other type of breeder. I guess that's when you have to get to know your breeders and find out what type of environment their show dogs are in. I think my breeder did a really great job and that is why I like a smaller show breeder rather than a big operation.

PS. I didn't see JMM's reply when I wrote mine. She said what I was trying to say much more clearly.
 

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Originally posted by tlunn@Jan 24 2005, 11:45 AM
I haven't seen that one...I have often wondered about the passing the handling job on to someone else myself though...seems sad to me...


My new favorite show on Animal Planet is "Who gets the dog?"
It is a reality based show where they have a pound dog that needs a home. They screen the applicants and pick three. The dog is taken to their home...they have to perform some tasks/teach the dog some tricks...and the judges evaluate how the dog interacts etc. with the family. The dog must spend one night with the family.  They are scored in 3-4 different areas (don't remember the break-down)...and at the end, the dog gets to go home with the family that is the best match! I thought it was a really cute show...a good idea too...to help get some of the pound dogs to good homes.
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They give out IAMS dog food though...
 
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