Showsight December 2017

Lines From Linda: Candid Candidates Part II


fortune to have an adult leader who was good teacher and mentor. Hopefully the newly added Pee Wee compe- tition will expand and become a regular special attrac- tion at our all-breed shows. These serve as a means for making the show world more family friendly as both the kids and the parents have a great time.I believe we should involve more of the experienced youth in the decisions being made about the sport of dogs. They are the future and if we can get them to feel like they are truly part of the process—they may stick around after aging out of Jr. Showmanship or going to college. Another group that we should market to are the empty nesters. They have the time and often the need to find some activity to replace their former busy schedules as parents. Being active in the sport of dogs is a perfect way to get out of the house, travel around your area, meet new people and stay active. Not to mention the bond and affection you develop with your dog. Another idea I have is a grass roots drive to get more of the people who cur- rently come to shows or events involved. We all have dog friends that are not members of local clubs or the parent clubs. We need to make a concerted effort to try and recruit them into joining the clubs and helping to put on the events they like to attend. This also extends to the young professional handlers of today. Most do not belong to a club because of the potential for lost revenue. We need to talk to them and show that the benefits of giving up a weekend to support the local club and show can far outweigh the fees earned on a weekend of showing dogs. 8. How can we improve AKC’s image among its core constituents and owners of AKC registered dogs? I think an increased transparency and involvement in decisions by more of the core would go a long way in improving the image of the AKC. Currently everyone believes all decisions are merely based on making more money and nothing else. We need to show our constitu- ents that there are other reasons for the decisions and changes being made. One of the hardest areas for us to address is the increased negativity at dog shows and on social media. I’m not certain what would work best to help reduce this issue. I would think that if the AKC, the Board and the Delegate body could be more transparent about their decisions and actions it would help. I would “BEING ACTIVE IN THE SPORT OF DOGS IS A PERFECT WAY TO GET OUT OF THE HOUSE, TRAVEL AROUND YOUR AREA, MEET NEW PEOPLE AND STAY ACTIVE.” -HAROLD “RED” TATRO III

also suggest that the participants be involved more in the process. It might be polls, surveys or asking some to serve on committees tasked with solving some prob- lem—social media being one example—would be a way to try. If the people who are considered the “base” feel they are invested in the process, they would accept and promote the decisions in a more positive light. 9. The conformation sport continues to decline. Do you have any thoughts on how to engage more peo- ple in breeding and showing purpose bred dogs? With the ever-increasing marketing and Internet pres- ence of the AKC we need to truly get the message out that buying a purebred dog is okay! We can still support those that desire to adopt a dog from a shelter or rescue organization but we must tell the world that buying from a preservation breeder is great too! Mass media and the AR groups have capitalized on creating a stigma around breeding purebred dogs—we need to get more informa- tion out to the people outside our base that there are great benefits to owning a purebred dog. Internally, we need to be more supportive of those who are actively breeding and supplying the world with our purpose bred purebred dogs. How to increase the number of people showing in con- formation (or other events) is the million-dollar question! A fellow delegate made the observation recently that quite often the first sign a young family might see upon arriving at a show is “No Baby Strollers.” So like a previ- ous statement—we might consider giving more of the why this is important for the safety of the child and not just required. Targeting the demographic of our society that has the time and money to participate (empty nest- ers) is also something that should be considered. And something that is important to our survival and success is finding a way to showcase the positive aspects of the sport of dogs and to reduce the amount of negativ- ity of those who are attending. Otherwise, while we may add a few new exhibitors we will continue to lose existing ones and the net may be a loss and not a gain. 10. How do you reconcile the fact that often the AKC Board of Directors must make decisions that may not please the Delegate body yet may be necessary to fulfill their fiduciary responsibility to AKC? Having served on several boards I clearly understand the confidentiality that must exist in order for the board to function effectively. These should pertain to the business side of the decisions, which the board is empowered by the By Laws to make. That said I do think the Board should work on their tactics for announcing and rolling out new business ventures and ideas. There are ways of being more transparent in order to provide the back- ground or reasoning for some decisions without violating the needed confidentiality or proprietary nature of the decisions. On the other hand, when the decisions address the “sport” side of things there should be a lot more transparency than currently exists.


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