AKC judge opens owner-handler mentoring program October 30, 2016



August 24, 2016

Lee Whittier, Founder





AKC judge opens owner-handler mentoring program October 30, 2016

Vancouver, WA – Many dog world insiders are lamenting the sad state of American Kennel Club dog shows, and while Judge Lee Whittier recognizes the issues, she also rejoices in the ever-increasing number of owner-handlers exhibiting in the ring. Over the last several years, Whittier has heard the persistent talk among “dog people” about the high attrition rate of beginner and intermediate dog show fanciers, and the frustration that little has been done about it.

Whittier commented that the lack of understanding of the dog show culture and the hard work involved in showing dogs are key issues. The outcome is poor win records and frustrated exhibitors. They don’t know where to invest their time and money in order to improve their win rate.

Although AKC has implemented the National Owner-Handler Series competition, Whittier says that unfortunately there are few complementary services available to these exhibitors. After speaking privately with a number of owner-handlers who aspire to excellence in the sport of purebred dogs, Whittier realized that there was an unmet need in the dog show community.

Whittier also recognized that the enviable skillset held by the professional handler is more than training; rather it is the long-time knowledge and understanding of the ring and of the judges’ criteria because of their experience. She wondered how

owner-handlers could bridge that gap and gain the knowledge to present their dogs professionally.

“I’m a judge and an owner-handler myself, she said, and I noticed that people were missing out on the joy of showing their own dogs because they didn’t know the right questions to ask and the right action to take. I thought, I’m only one person, what can I do about it?”

After months of research and preparation, on October 30 Whittier will open DogShowMentor.com, the sport’s first comprehensive program specifically for the owner-handler. Whittier says she anticipates that this will reignite the sport by bringing the knowledge base of judges, professionals, and successful owner-handlers together. Not only will the owner-handlers benefit, but judges will have better-informed exhibitors as well. The end result is to extend the longevity of hundreds of exhibitors and raise the bar of competition.

“I look at this as an opportunity for those of us who know what we’re doing and who love the sport deeply to act. This program extends a hand to an under-served but growing segment of our population so that they can become contributors of excellence to our sport,” Whittier concludes.

About: Dog Show Mentor

Registration in Dog Show Mentor.com is limited. For more information go to DogShowMentor.com/owner-handlerprogram


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