The Newcomer

Let us take the time to think back to our own introduction to dog breeding and showing... Remember the pitfalls in which we faltered and the mistakes, sometimes most embarrassing, that we all made at one time or another during those apprenticeship years... Remember the butterflies in the pit of the stomach that felt like elephant beetles?;... The dog that would NEVER walk a straight line?;... That first dog we were told could never be beaten that we so proudly dragged around the ring?;... The two left feet we kept tripping over and the oh so apparent fools we must have made of ourselves?

If age has dimmed your memory, or you have a tendency towards selective memories, let me assure you that the above would have happened, like it or not.

Pity the newcomer.. I feel sure we can afford a little constructive advice that might possibly help the newcomer from experiencing the same pitfalls and from making the same mistakes we did.

Perhaps the best advice we could offer anyone contemplating purchasing their first show dog, be it an eight week old pup or an older dog or bitch, would be to employ the time worn phrase,"caveat emptor" or, "buyer beware".

Tell them the truth..Tell them not to jump in and buy the first dog they see. Tell them there are unscrupulous breeders out there..Tell them what to look for.. Help them understad the standard..Explain that we were nervous the first time in the ring..Tell them we had a lot to learn and experience.. Tell them they need to have a lot of patience..Tell them to stop worrying about their own performance and to watch the more experienced handlers show their dogs..Tell them to listen to all advice as there is always something to be gained from any advice be it good or bad. Listen, but in the end, make their own decisions.

The newcomer to the breed and/or show ring today,should be made aware of a all the pitfalls the older and more experienced breeders have experienced. These pitfalls are there today, just as they were back when we started out..These newcomers will be the ones who will hopefully carry the breed through the years after we are gone. If they are offered the wisdom of hindsight, which has taken us years to acquire, the experiences they will encounter along the way may be made that easier. Why not? Are we so selfish and priggish that we can't accept there could be better breeders and exhibitors amongst these newcomers?

Warn them they will not make money showing dogs..Warn them they will never recoup the costs of entries and traveling..Warn them it could cost heaps for Vet fees, vehicle maintainance, dog food etc.,. Warn them that the show goes on regardless of weather conditions.

If, after all these warnings, the newcomer has not bolted and is still listening, then wish him the best of luck, because, as we know, it certainly helps.. Luck is quite often a well earned reward in the world of the owner/breeder/exhibitor.. Sometimes you win - sometimes you lose, but you always take home the best dog...

Submitted by John Chandler

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