JUNIOR HANDLER Q&A
best friends and they all show me unconditional love and affection. They’re my world. Is there a funny story that I can share about my experiences as a Junior Handler? I have quite a few, but my favorite ones are when I was at the Saluki National at Purina Farms. I was gaiting with my dog and, almost in slow motion, my shoe not-so-gracefully landed quite a few feet outside the ring. To my amazement, nobody handed it back to me. So, I ran the rest of the way barefoot. My other favor- ite is that whenever I am in the German Shorthair ring, I seem to always fall at least once that weekend in the ring, no matter which dog I am showing. AUDREY BOYER
most everyone is really nice and a good sport. We sometimes chat ringside before and after the classes. I have made some of my best friends doing Juniors. In the breed ring, most people are really nice as well. Sometimes you can tell that the adults don’t always like get- ting placed behind a kid! What about the judges? Do they seem to enjoy the Juniors ring? I think that most really enjoy judging Juniors, especially those with a smile on their face while they are judging the classes. These are my favorite judges. You can tell that they appreciate our hard work and our love for our dogs. Do I have a mentor in the sport? I do have a few people who have helped me and mentored me in the sport. My mom is my first and biggest mentor. I also have a couple of great teachers, including my dog’s breeder, and conformation instructors Brad Briscoe, Jennifer Underwood, and Nitsa Traylor. They are always encouraging me and pushing me to be my best. Bill and Taffe McFadden have been mentoring me as well, and have allowed me to be part of their camp. They have been teaching me lots about grooming and handling. I especially appreciate the grooming needed for Poodles! Are there any wins for which I am particularly proud? Any memorable losses? I would say that my most memorable wins would be the Whippet Specialty wins. I handled Ginger (the Whippet) to her Championship with a final 4-point major at our local special- ty. Most recently, Yoshi got his first major at the SoCal specialties with a 5-point major over 31 class dogs! I was super proud! I would also say that the most memorable loss was a good one. Disco went Best of Breed at the Anderson shows, and Mr. Donavon Thompson pulled us for the final cut in the Group ring. There were some beau- tiful Hounds in the Group, and I honestly felt like they deserved the wins. I appreciate the fact that he didn’t place us, but he did acknowledge us. How do I accentuate my dog’s breed type in the ring? Whippets are a running breed. They are bred to have efficient gaits, moving smoothly and low to the ground (not lifting up from the front feet). When I show my Whippets, I want to make sure that they are gait- ing next to me, naturally (not pulling their head up). I do my best to run/gait with them, to help keep them at their best speed. For examination, I usually show them on a ramp, but sometimes on a table. I try to let them step into their stack before I start moving their feet, because a well-balanced dog can usually set themselves up correctly. And again, Hounds can be funny about “don’t touch me!” Having GREAT snacks is a must! Are some breeds better suited for Junior Showmanship than oth- ers? I think it is going to depend on the Junior. Everyone has their level of experience and what is going to be best for them. I have seen some Juniors do an incredible job with Dobermans. However, my grandma’s Dobe is still learning. I have tried to use him for Juniors, but he and I still have some training to do before we’re ready. At some point, I would like to use Tyson for Juniors. He’s gorgeous and lots of fun! Is there something that judges should know about judging Juniors? Are all judges the same? I think it’s important for judges to understand that we’re kids! We do this because we enjoy it and it’s fun. When we get really tough criticism, it can feel harsh. We appreciate the feedback, but it’s nice getting it a little softer. I have, however, learned more from my loses (and the feedback from those loses) than from my wins. Have I bred or co-bred a litter? I have not bred/co-bred a litter. However, my dog, Disco, has been a stud to a couple of litters that I had the opportunity to be part of. We kept Yoshi out of his first litter, and we got to visit them as five-week-old puppies. We co-own Ella out of his second litter (but she lives mostly with us), and got to visit her litter even more because my breeder lives pretty close. It was amazing to watch them grow up and to see their personalities develop, even as tiny babies!
My name is Audrey Boyer, and I am 13 years old. Some of you may know me as “Whippet Girl.” I show my dogs in Conformation and Juniors. I also take my dogs to Dock Diving, Straight Track Racing, and limited Lure Cours- ing. We love to take them hiking too. My dogs, Disco, Yoshi, and Ella, are the best Whippets I could ever ask for! I also show Tyson in the Doberman ring. I am looking forward to the upcoming
show season. If you would like to see some of my artwork and hap- penings, you can find me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Whip- petGirlAudreyBoyer and on Instagram @Whippet.Girl I just moved to Cupertino, California, from San Jose this past month. Since school has been virtual, I will be finishing this year at my current school (Ida Price Middle School), but will be going to Monta Vista High School in the fall. Do I have any hobbies or interests apart from purebred dogs? I enjoy drawing and doing digital artwork. I have always enjoyed drawing animals (and, of course, purebred dogs!) on paper. I typi- cally do pencil sketches. However, I have been doing more digital art. Lately, I have been drawing commissions of pet portraits. Have I grown up in a doggy family? What is my breed(s)? I have had dogs all my life. The first dogs we had were Pitbulls, and then we got Bulldogs. As we learned more about breeds, we became a Whippet home. We really love their versatility and goofy personal- ity! They are wonderful dogs because they can do Showmanship/ Juniors as well as some fun dog sports. How was I introduced to Junior Showmanship? When did I start competing? Our breeder, Erin Campbell, DVM, asked us if we were looking for a pet or a show dog. We had not thought about it, but showing sounded like fun! We got Disco when I was eight years old. I did a Pee Wee Class with him, but went right into Juniors at nine years old. What do I remember about the first time I showed as a Junior? My first was in Napa. Mr. Bill Shelton was our judge. He was a really nice judge. Disco and I placed second in our class of five or six kids. I was really proud of that. It was a great experience! How do I prepare my dog and myself for the ring? Before I go into the ring, I prepare by warming up my dog and doing focus exercises with him. Whippets can be funny about paying atten- tion… or NOT! Some days, they have a hard time, especially when it’s really cold or windy. It’s important for me to re-connect with him before asking him to work for me. I do like to wear a necklace that my Uncle Robbie made for me out of black pearl and raw sap- phire. I have had some really nice wins while wearing it, including a 5-point specialty major win with Yoshi! How do I assess my competition? Is everyone usually a good sport? You can typically see who is working their dog outside the ring before ring time. The handlers who do really well are focused with their dog, and have a good connection. In the Juniors ring,
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