The Great 10-Dog Weekend

06/17 & 18

     

The Great 10-Dog Weekend

 

 

You’ve heard of three-dog-night, now we have a 10-dog weekend!

 

Not like I needed 10 dogs to keep me warm at night, but a dog bonanza just the same.

 

Yes, this past weekend at this Lakeland Dog Shows was indeed a dog-banner weekend!

 

But, wait don’t go away just yet, thinking that I’m about to boast and brag about winning every ribbon in sight at that show! I’ll start out by saying that we didn’t win diddlysquat!

 

Once again, Yes! You read right nary a point to be made for 2 days of showing with dogs that had been winning at every weekend of shows sine the 2006 show season started 6 months ago.

 

Okay, so right about now you are thinking that this is going to be one of those real sour grape-type tirades or a “not so happy camper vamp”!

 

Wrong, because in reality it was a very enjoyable weekend spent with very nice company, that of course being my family, some of my partners and other nice acquaintances that you meet up with at these shows from time to time. The hotel was excellent and it is situated right next to the convention center, weather was great, dogs performed well albeit not garnering any points, but performances count for something. So what could make me sit in front of a video screen and peck away at the key boards when there are so many other things that I could be doing?

 

Sit a spell and I will spin a yarn or two about 10 dog evaluations that I conducted this past weekend.

 

Okay, let’s stop right here and ask you a question!

 

Have you read the http://www.chambraylabradors.com/HellHathNoFury.htm article?

 

If you haven’t read that article, then maybe you should read that short essay before you read this one, if you did read it before, go back and re-read it again as it will make the following short story more meaningful.

 

Okay, if you are still with me, here is an interesting ratio; 1 out of 10. Put into a percentage that comes out to 10%. Out of 10 dogs brought to me for conformational evaluations, only 1 will make the grade for either breeding or for show. I am probably a little tougher on the show part, since charisma and showability are greatly considered for that venue, virtues not necessarily needed for breeding.

 

Guess what occurred this past weekend? Did the ratio/percentage thing go up? Did we get one of those inverted universe things where things are the other way around from their normal position in the cosmic sense of order? In the course of the weekend, ten dogs were brought to me for show evaluations. Now, how many do you think made the grade?

 

No cheating, no going back over the Hell Hath No Fury article or over the preceding paragraphs above for the answer.

 

If you guessed ONE OUT OF TEN, then you win an all-expense paid trip to Outer Mongolia (minus the airfare, hotel accommodations, food and other expenses)!

 

First of all, it was no coincidence that all those people with their dogs approached me at the Lakeland dog show, as I had set up some of the meetings before hand to meet up with some of these fine folk from Central Florida way ahead in advance.

 

Some of you might be thinking, why would anyone submit themselves or their dog to an evaluation knowing full well what the outcome might be. I make sure that each person about to go through the process reads the “Hell” article to prepare them for the eventualities. Of course I too know the consequences of the end process, because I am the messenger and you know what happens to the messenger with bad news!

 

Let me lay some tracks here for those new to the show business end of this process.

  • I make a living training and handling dogs; the more dogs I train and handle the more mula I make!
  • No one is tearing down doors to find trainers and handlers! It is a dog eat dog world for dog handlers. Yes, there are very few clients out there and there are many hungry handlers.
  • For economic reasons, I wish every single dog brought to me for evaluation was a perfect 10. Yes, that great 1 OUT OF 10 dog that makes the grade would then be a 10 out of 10 dog situation! Then each would become one of my training/handling assignments and all that would make my wife Johanna very happy.
  • All those dog owners would just love me to death because I bestowed a perfect 10 on their Poochie and I would be the most popular guy in town, of course since most dog owners are women and Johanna is a very jealous woman, I have to make sure that they wouldn’t love me to death too obvious.
  • Instead of winning almost every weekend, we would then win every weekend and I would then be writing more boast and brags stories, rather than these informative human-interest babbles.

 

Now that you are armed with all that information, I will answer the question of “Why”.

 

Why do people seek out someone to tell them if there dog is good enough for them to pay to have it trained and then pay for entries to dog shows and then to pay to have the dog presented at these shows? I have some of the answers, but this will make another good babble-on article for the future, so stay tuned for that.

 

Okay, so now you have all the logistics for the events that will follow. So let’s get to the “meat and potatoes” part of the story, of course since this story deals with dogs and to be politically correct we have to make sure that the “meat” has no harmful by-products.

 

It is Saturday morning and I have just finished up at the Labrador ring. None of our dogs won, but some nice dogs won so that makes it okay. I receive a cell phone call and my appointment has arrived at the building and is waiting for me at my setup. When I arrive there, I meet up with three women with 5 Labradors of all ages and sizes and from first glance of varying type. After I introduce myself and briefly talk to them I gathered the following information.

 

All three ladies are relatively new to the dog fancy. One of them has bred several litters, but had no show experience. A second lady has had one of her Labradors professionally handled, but she put him up because he wasn’t doing well at the shows. The third lady has tried her hand at showing her own dogs but had very little luck in the ring.

 

After I ask a few questions, I now remember the male Labrador that was out with a handler. This dog becomes my first evaluation and he is not even present. The owner is interested in “bringing” him back out and she inquires about him joining my management services for training, conditioning and eventual handling.

 

 

Case #1 A 4-year old male black Labrador. He was out with a handler for 9 months to 22 shows at a cost of $2600 for training, entries, traveling and handling and never took a blue ribbon from the Open Black class. Having seen him in the show ring, I was able to deliver a short evaluation for the owner.

He had a lovely head and expression, good ear set with gorgeous burnt sugar brown eyes. He had a good bite with full dentations.

Unfortunately the rest of what I had to say was not of the “favored kind”.

He lacked “type” for the breed. Very short neck and very upright shoulders, very straight front and no fore chest. No spring of rib, giving a very slab sided look when looking at him head on. Very low tail set with a roached loin, no angulation and no turn of stifle and very close quarters from the rear. His movement was very stiff and stilted with very little reach and equally poor rear drive.

Bottom line: Not a candidate for show as he was not of correct conformation for the breed. A generous rating of a 3 in my rating system, see http://www.chambraylabradors.com/WhatIsShowQuality.htm .

 

Of course the owner was not happy with the preceding even though I explained that I would love to have her business, but that the results were not going to be any better than the 22 shows that the dog had been to before.

 

Case #2 a yellow 1-year bitch sired by the above dog, same owner, bred by the 3rd lady with several dogs for evaluation. This female had neither training nor socialization what’s so ever. She was very skittish away from the immediate area of her owner. Upon walking she cowered continuously and never gaited properly for a good movement evaluation. From a general observation, since she totally refused a hands-on from me, I could see that she lacked type, as she was more on the “weedy” side, she was slab-sided as her sire was and had a much longer cast to her body at the loin, making her very long coupled. Her front and rear were both very straight. Her head was very pointy, not at all as nice as the sire was. I could find nothing worthwhile with this specimen as being a contributor to the breed. Definitely not a show dog and certainly not a breeding candidate. No rating at all.

 

Case # 3 A 2-year yellow bitch owned by the 2nd lady. She purchased her at a “fire sale”. Literally, the place burnt down and the breeders had to sell off their dogs for they had no place to house them! This was a very typey bitch from a well-known Georgia breeder’s lines. She was sired by Ghoststones Louie Downtown, a dog I know well as he is the sire of several of the dogs in our Partners Program. My first impression was that maybe we had the 1 out of 10 dog right here! The bitch was oozing type and essence of the breed. She had a lovely head and melting expression, her eyes were perfectly set, size and shape and a beautiful dark brown shade. She had a gorgeous rear end with awesome turn of stifle giving her the second-thigh look. Her tail was to die-for, perfectly straight and thick otter tail as described in the breed standard. I held my breath as I examined the bite and dentations.

 

TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE!

A totally undershot bite greeted me as I opened her mouth. It was like someone punched me in the stomach! The evaluating stopped right there as there was no need to go any further for show purposes.

I asked the owner if she knew that she had a bad bite? She answered that she was not too aware of the breed standard and how the judges applied it.

No rating for show as this is a serious fault as described by the standard. As for breeding, I personally would not breed this individual since I have so many high quality females to choose from.

 

Case # 4, 5 and 6.  All three were 1 year olds sired by the black dog from case #1. There were 2 yellow females and 1 black male from the same litter as Case 2. All were carbon copies of Case #2!!!!! All were very weedy-type individuals, long coupled, thin on bone, no angulation front nor rear. Very long muzzle with pointed Collie type-heads. These 3 individuals were better socialized than the littermate in Case 2.  None were show material, nor would any be considered for a serious breeding program.

I asked the owner about the dam of the litter and she said that she had purchased her from a pet shop.

 

Case 7,8 and 9. I met the owners of these 3 dogs on Sunday following the Golden Retriever competition after I was through handling a very nice Open Golden.

#7 is an 8-month-old yellow Labrador bitch. First impression was very good. She was of the breed type. Nice head and sweet expression. I was familiar with her breeding, as we are currently managing her littermate for another client. She had a nice front, nice reach of neck, nice shoulders, good angulation front and rear, nice turn of stifle, good topline, nice tail. Good movement coming and going. Her demeanor was on the soft side, so her side gait was not fully appreciable.

Could this be the 1 out of 10 dog for the day? Well, let’s check her bite!

Okay, good bite and her teeth all seem in place.

This bitch is definitely worth working with. She needs lots of work, conditioning and training, but she rates a 7 right now. With some improvements through development and eventual maturity, she should be able to garner enough wins to finish her title.

Yes, we had a keeper!!!!!!!!

 

Case #8 . A 4-year black Labrador bitch. From the general impression, I was able to cut the evaluation short for show purposes. At her age there was not enough time to condition, train and handle to finish as she was of average type and substance. Because of her age and untrained-for-show condition, she received no show rating, but I would surmises that she would rate at a 4 to 5 for breeding purposes.

 

Case #9. A 1-year old yellow Labrador bitch. This dog needs lots of work to get into social, physical, psychological and show condition. General impression was okay for breed type. Because of her unsocialized and immature nature, a thorough evaluation was not possible. But from an overall look, she would rate out at possibly a 5 for show purposes. Maybe we could see her sometime in the future.

 

Case # 10. An 18-month old male Golden Retriever. Late in the day on Sunday, the 10th and final dog came for evaluation. At first glance, I thought that I had broken a record with 2 dogs out of 10 making the grade. This Golden boy had a head to die for, oh my gosh!!! He had awesome coat and bone galore. He was a little clumsy in the front end, but it was a very wide and impressive front! Standing still he was imposing all around until you looked at him from the rear!!!!!! Cow hocked does not sufficiently describe his rear assembly when seen from the rear, more like knock-kneed!! To make matters worse, his hocks crisscross underneath him and his feet placement is so east west that there is no remedy for this boy at all. End of evaluation!

 

10%, 1 in 10, it’s all the same.

 

Here is a follow up on the 10-dog weekend.

Succeeding follow up

 

Case #7 came home with us to get her ready for next weekends shows in Orlando. The owners were ecstatic that they had received the 1 out of 10 evaluation.

 

Case #1 found a handler to take him on for showing.

 

Case #10 was seen talking to other handlers as I was leaving the show grounds

 

 Follow up July 1st 2006:

Case #1 will be out with handler at the Greenville shows at the end of July and 12 shows through August and September and will make his way back to Florida for the Deland shows at the end of September. I will keep you posted on how he has faired.

Case #10 will be out at the West Palm Beach Shows on July 22/23 I will be in the ring with it and Open Male against this boy, so I will also keep you posted.

Case #7 Sassy came to Camp Chambray for 4 days of show training after the Lakeland Shows to get her ready for the 3 days of shows at Orlando. Not really enough time to implement a package, but enough to teach her some set ups and basic commands to be able to communicate with her in the ring. She had very little show training and probably no socialization away from her immediate home environment. I personally handled her all 3 days as an in-the-ring-training session.  She was in a very competitive 9 to 12 class of 5 girls. In fact her littermate, who is a graduate of one of our in-kennel training packages was handled by my 16-year old daughter Jessica won the class all three days and took Winners Bitch on Friday for a 3-point major and again Winners Bitch on Saturday, plus Best Of Winners and a Best Of Breed for a 4-point major. Sassy was very skittish as a newbie at the Friday show, however I worked her and she responded by not backing down. Each day I gave her more responsibility and routines in the ring and she went from 2 4th places to a 2nd behind her sister at Sunday's show. With some work from her owners, she should do them proud in succeeding shows.

 

 Follow Up June 2009: A long time has passed and I finally got around to this article to put the finishing touches with the follow ups.

Case #1 The owner continued to put the dog out with different handlers for another 2 years with the same dastardly results, tons of money spend and not one single point won!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Case #10 The Golden Retriever was handled by 3 different handlers in a 6-month period with not one placement in his class. Never saw them again after that.

Case #7 Sassy's sister finished her championship. Sassy never came back to the ring.

All the other cases and their owners were never seen again at the shows.

 

 

 

 

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