Showsight September 2022


I have coached some of the most competitive and successful dog show owner handlers for over six years now. Among them, there have been “owner handlers,” “breeder owner handlers,” “NOHS exhibi- tors,” and “exhibitors.” Notable is some crossover in nomenclature, particularly when you add the “professional handlers” who are also “breeder owner handlers.” For this article, I will call exhibitors who compete in any/all conformation events, whether they are officially classified by the AKC as professional han- dlers or NOHS exhibitors, as DSOH (Dog Show Owner Handlers). The terms owner handler and professional handler are not mutually exclusive, regardless of what some community members think. THE PATH TO… Let's look at possible paths taken by DSOH to be competitive. In life, we have individual decision-making processes. The way anyone becomes competi- tive is to work up to deciding on one’s direction. We don't always consider this to be goal-setting, particularly when it happens organically and incrementally. When it happens like a thunderbolt, our mind often cements the goal, and it is filtered through the lens of attaining that particular objective. In both scenarios, there are goals, or you can think of them simply as deci- sions. The Thunderbolt looks like: “I have decided that I am going to be a high-level professional handler,” or “I have decided that I am going to breed and show the best English Setters in the US and show them myself.” In the second case, the decisions are incremental. “I want my dog to win a blue ribbon.” When you get the first blue ribbon, you then decide, “I am going to keep showing until he wins a purple one.” And then you vow to keep show- ing until your dog gets his championship. Once that happens, you decide you want your dog to win a purple ribbon, purple and gold, and so on. One step. Another step. In both of these scenarios, I coach the exhibitor from where they are to the level that they desire. I call it the “gap.” Their highest aspirations are my high- est aspirations. What does this have to do with the Decision and the Goal?



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