S'Dandi Shih Tzu
All Rights Reserved
2000 - 2008
Sally and Dick Watkeys
8235 Outer Drive South
Traverse City, MI 49684
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S'Dandi Shih Tzu
Just BePaws . . .
Nobodies Can Be Somebodies
Remember that old saying, “If you don’t play the game, you can’t win?” Trying to keep that in mind as one walks away without the ribbon again isn’t easy. Especially, when it is blatant politics and everyone ringside knows it. I have watched it happen too many times. The “handler” is there with his/her dogs. When a particular dog doesn’t walk, isn’t groomed much at all and the handler comes away with the ribbons, who’s winning, the dog or the handler?

Most of the handlers in our breed do a great job. They work hard, present the dog well, and groom to perfection. That is their job, and they do it well. But, when a handler is negligent in his/her duties, it really doesn’t sit too well when they win anyway.

Many shows ago, I participated, watched and was in shock when the poorest example of the breed was given its finishing points. Even one of the most popular handlers in our breed couldn’t hide the shock as I watched the expression on his/her face when the winner was selected. It was by far the worst dog in the ring. Now, I didn’t have my hands on the dog, I’ll grant you, but I watched it, saw how it was presented and groomed, saw the lack of training and watched the movement-which left a great deal to be desired. Still, it was proclaimed the winner. There were several other dogs in the ring, any of which would have been a better choice for the judge. What does this championship accomplish in the long run? Nothing in my humble opinion! We now have another champion in our midst that shouldn’t be a champion. Another owner that thinks this winner is an asset to a breeding program that will produce more of its “quality.” Who is the winner here? Not our breed!!!!

My list of “ONA” (oh, never again) judges grows with experiences like these. Judges need to give each individual dog the time it deserves as an entry. And…that means for the judge to actually watch each dog carefully. It is not fun to show your dog to a judge that doesn’t give you equal consideration with the dogs handled by the professional. Sometimes, I just want to scream, “I paid my entries. At least have the courtesy to look at my dog!” Case in point is being in between two handlers and be the dog that is ignored. Watching the judge look at the first dog, ignore the one in the middle, who is owner/handled, then look at the third dog gets old quickly. I realize that the professionals make their living at this, but I also know that owner/handlers pay their own entries with no compensation for showing their dogs. That makes this a very expensive sport. We, at least, deserve to have the consideration of our 2 minutes of time in the ring.

There have been many other times when I haven’t always agreed with the choice of the judge, but if the dog is being judged and selected the winner in spite of the handler on the other end of lead, I can live with the result. After all, this is supposed to be a “Dog Show” where the dog’s attributes are the characteristics being evaluated.

In the September, 2002 issue of ShowSight Magazine, pg. 154, Lines From Linda states in her introduction that “owner-handled or locally shown canines are many times the cream of the crop with quality exceeding that of the Best In Show dog of the day.” And, “there were two really exceptional examples of two of the breeds I had time to observe. Both dogs could easily get the nod for any BIS on the lead of a professional handle. Yet both were overlooked when being shown very well by their unknown local exhibitor. How sad it is not to see some of these wonderful dogs earn the highest rewards.”

Some of us really like showing our own dogs so I hope that the judges will get the message that if it weren’t for the “extra” entries provided by breeder/owner/handlers, there just might not be enough dogs in the ring to make those coveted points? More and more exhibitors are dropping like flies leaving our breed with extremely small entries throughout the country.

When I exhibit to a judge that has a pleasant manner, is kind and gentle with the dogs-especially puppies, will give each entry equal consideration or at least act as if he/she is, I’ll hurry back to show to that judge again whether I win or lose. However, I am getting more and more selective about wasting my money on those that blatantly pass right over my entry because they have no idea who I am. Many of us “newer people” who are exhibiting just might be the person to add something special to our wonderful breed. Maybe that something special is helping another novice get started or getting on the “soapbox” for rescue, health issues, testing, educating and breeding to better the breed.

Take notice, judges!!! There are some nice quality dogs out there, and they don’t always have to be on the lead of a handler.
Owner/handlers, get your wonderful dogs out there and show them to the max. They can’t be ignored forever! Just make sure they look their best and are trained to show off!!!!!!
In conclusion, remember one of my favorite quotes, “A somebody was once a nobody who wanted to and did!!!!”