Friday, December 3, 2010

This and that-showing

I figured it would be easier to express my thoughts here then muddle up Garrett's blog with my rambling.

The condensed version of his pondering is basically, when is enough enough for showing a dog. How many shows should it take or should you expect to finish a dog and at times is continuing to show a dog in attempt to finish them justified.

I was blessed with my first two cardigans. Fred finished when he was 13 mos old, Phoebe was 19 or 20 mos old. We spent the summer of that first year going to shows and being the only entries. No points, but figuring I'd paid my money and both the dogs and I needed experience, so might as well go. Inbetween as girls do, Phoebe went in season, then blew coat. By the time Fred was done, the majors started appearing, but naked Phoebe, stayed home. I didn't expect it to go as quickly as it did. I was blessed.

After that we specialed Fred, Phoebe had finished and then hit the whelping box. Tuli stayed out of that litter and it was a totally different beast. Majors were hard to find but the number of total dogs being shown was much greater. I learned about judges then. And in the end, after one litter, Tuli retired. Multiple RWB to majors, lacking just her majors. Unfortunately, her last show was beyond a horrible experience for her with a rude exhibitor running into the table during their down and back, completely wrecking an already fragile dog(she'd been recently attacked by a large dog outside the ring). That was it.

So to my point, we all have decision to make on why we are showing our dog, why we are pushing for those CH letters and we have to be honest with ourselves about why we are doing it. Tuli retired that day, never to see the inside of a show ring again. Was she worthy of finishing, yes I think so. Was I willing to keep pushing, no. As for the following generations, I've been blessed and it's not due totally to having superior quality dogs, that I will admit. But they have their own unique qualities that make their title worthy. I feel a lot of it falls into place with the judges on that day, the other entries and our dog on that day. We have to be honest about how our dogs are doing and why they win on that day. We have to get past the kennel blindness of the dog winning under a judge-what I mean to say is that know why your dog won. Was it for a good quality or bad? For example, the judge put up a group of dogs that are similar, but was it a quality worth rewarding? Was it color, toplines, how big your dog was?

If you want to take the stance of showing only to breeder judges, go for it. But I think breeder judges are harder on their own breed then all breed judges and are much more critical on specific faults then all-breed. Are you willing to get an opinion based on their preferences, of your breeding program? Pros and cons with that. Also, that means you will spend more time showing a dog as the supported entries and breeder judges aren't at every show. And are you only going to show to a judge who shares your views? Is that getting an honest opinion or just scratching someone's back?

Putting time limits on how long and how much you will invest in a dog can have it's draw backs too. I look at it this way when showing new puppies. Unless they are a cookie cutter of a dog a previously have shown to a judge, I will give many a second chance to see me with a different dog. But I also have a list of judges that I won't enter under because of what I've seen them put up on the past, even if I won under them. There are judges that might make good decisions, but have horrible manners, are rude or just not likeable. With the cost of showing now, I'm pickier then I was, which means less shows and yes, more time involved in showing a dog.

So let's look at Pete. I love this little dog. But I'm honest when showing her. She has a head that is not to many's likings. So I have to be careful about who I show her to. And that means she won't get her CH in the magic time frame that the rest of my dogs have been blessed with. Am I in a hurry?? Oh God no. I understand her limitations but I also love her great attributes of good structure and the best moving dog in my house(I just stop and watch her float across the yard some days). Like Alec and I agree, I am in no hurry to finish her, she will in her own sweet time. It's actually fun to not have the pressure of the time limit that everyone else thinks a dog needs to finish in. I'm enjoying showing again and the little Group 4 doesn't hurt either :) this I will add, that there are a lot of people out there that are more then willing to spend the money and the exceedingly long time needed to finish a so so dog. How long is too long? Are you having to create your own major with less then stellar dogs and go to specific judges that have rewarded you with multiple single points over and over again? There's been a few dogs recently that in all honesty, were not made for the show ring. Do you have to justify the dog by the title?

Last I might add this, are you so consumed about showing that you want to win at any cost? That you are willing to go anywhere, do anything, to win? Are you doing it for the sake of the breed or for your ego?

Later gators...

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