Showsight Express - July 1, 2021

JUNIOR HANDLER Q&A

LIHI RUVIO

How do I prepare my dog and myself for the ring? My dog always gets groomed before the ring. Right before we go in, I touch up any misplaced hair and I always take a few deep breaths. My good luck charm has always been a kiss on the dog’s head right before the ring and before the go-around after the exam. How do I assess my competition? Is everyone usually a good sport? I usually try to get up to the ring so that I can watch the other Juniors and talk to friends. Juniors can be great sports; we always try to cheer each other on. What about the judges? Do they seem to enjoy the Juniors ring? The judges can be amazing. Some have great comments and love seeing the next generation of handlers in the ring. Do I have a mentor in the sport? Have I assisted any Professional Handlers? I currently don’t have a mentor, but I am always asking for suggestions on things to work on or do better. I have worked for a few professional handlers across the country. I have learned so much from my amazing breeders, Nikkie Kinziger (RiLee’s Tibet- an Terriers) and Kim Bullard (Journey English Springer Spaniels). They are truly amazing people and are the best at what they do. My show mom is Lori King. She has taught me so much and has been a great support. Holley Eldred is amazing to work for and is a great person. I have known her for a long time. (She is practically my real Aunt.) I am currently working for Devon Kipp, and she is the best. I love learning from her, considering she is a former Junior, and she is just a great person! Are there any wins for which I am particularly proud? Win- ning Best Junior at the 2019 English Springer Spaniel National, Best Junior at the Tibetan Terrier Regional, and Select Bitch at the Tibetan Terrier National have been some of the best experiences and I’m so proud of them! How do I accentuate my dog’s breed type in the ring? Breeds usually have a type/look that they are known for. By talking with others in the breed, you can learn to accentuate those features. For Springers, when the judge is going over the body, I always pull up the ears to accentuate the neck and give the judge a clean visual of the whole body. Are some breeds better suited for Junior Showmanship than oth- ers? All breeds can be shown in Juniors, but having a well-trained and flashy dog is best. Making sure that you work and train your dog is a lot more helpful to you. Is there something that judges should know about judging Juniors? Are all judges the same? One main thing that judges should know is how breeds are presented. Judges are supposed to judge the Juniors’ handling skills, so knowing how their breeds are presented can benefit both. Some judges can be similar by looking for specific things or different things. Have I bred or co-bred a litter? I have not yet, but I will soon. I have helped with raising and taking care of puppies though. Is breeding something that I’d like to pursue? I would love to carry on the breeding of my breeds. I think it’s very important to preserve the breeds; to keep the true standard going. What are my goals for the future? Do I see myself continuing in the sport once I’ve aged-out? My future goals are to go and graduate college—and I would still love to handle dogs! I would love to keep the generations going in my family. Can I share a word or two about my relationship with my cur- rent dog? All the dogs I have, I love with my whole heart. They are amazing, and I love working and doing things with them. They are the best! ! Is there a funny story that I can share about my experiences as a Junior Handler? I always have fun in the ring, but there was one time when my typically very well-behaved dog got super excited about doing well, and started jumping all over me.

I live in Williamston, Michi- gan. It’s a small town where every- one knows everyone. I go to Wil- liamston High School and I’m currently in the 10th grade. Do I have any hobbies or inter- ests apart from purebred dogs? Do I have a job? I have been swimming competitively since I was six years old. I have a lot of passion for the sport. I was also the captain of the

© Amber Jade

swim team when I was in Junior high. I also love working with dogs on things other than showing them. Our dogs are therapy dogs, and my mom and I volunteer with them regularly. I love seeing how my dogs bring joy to other people. Have I grown up in a doggy family? What is my breed(s)? I have grown up with Cane Corsos my entire life. I don’t just show them, I am also training them for other sports like Schutzhund and Obedi- ence. I enjoy training as well as showing my soul mate, Royal. He is our breeding (Black Pearl Cane Corso kennel) and was born at my home. I’ve loved him from the moment he was born. How was I introduced to Junior Showmanship? When did I start competing? Our dogs have competed in the show ring for as long as I can remember. I started showing dogs at 10 years old. I showed Royal’s mother, Mar E Sol’s Allora. She was amazing! What do I remember about the first time I showed as a Junior? My first time in the AKC ring was not as a Junior. We were at an AKC show where Phil Booth, our professional handler at the time, had a ring conflict. So, I went in with Royal and we won Best of Breed. I didn’t really know what I was doing, and I was very ner- vous. But Phil, who watched me show Royal, encouraged me to continue showing him and that’s how I got started. I will always be grateful for him. How do I prepare my dog and myself for the ring? Royal and I train a lot. Even when you have one dog, he changes, and you need to change your showing technique. We always play before we go into the ring. I want him to be happy. We play in the ring too. Royal has a lucky MSU blanket that one of my friends made for him. We take it with us everywhere. How do I assess my competition? Is everyone usually a good sport? I think that, like in every situation, some people are nice and some are not as nice. You learn to deal with different types of people when you show. I try to stay with the nice ones, and avoid those who are a bit more difficult. What about the judges? Do they seem to enjoy the Juniors ring? Judges are normally very nice to Juniors; very patient too. Some are more strict than others, but this teaches you to do better. I like those judges who challenge us. Do I have a mentor in the sport? Have I assisted any Professional Handlers? I was very fortunate to be encouraged and inspired by Phil and Amy Booth. They were our Professional Handlers before they moved away from Michigan. They are great handlers and wonderful people. It was an honor to have the opportunity to learn from them. Are there any wins for which I am particularly proud? Royal and I are ranked #1 NOHS for the past three years, and #1 all- time NOHS. We also ended 2020 ranked #... These are all achieve- ments that I am very proud of. My dream is to win some placement at Westminster. How do I accentuate my dog’s breed type in the ring? The Cane Corso is a Working breed. I make sure that Royal is conditioned and fit when we show. When you look at a Corso, it needs to be clear that he is athletic and capable to perform his intended tasks.

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