Showsight December 2017

Becoming: Encouraging Young People to Compete


how to breed it and where to find dogs that have the characteristics that will reproduce what they need. If we want to speed things up, then it makes sense to drop out the part of the process that consumes the most time – breeding for correctness. Or we could still expect quality dogs, but accept less–than-great grooming and training. However, this would require that judges also be educated in the finer points of the breeds, and how grooming can enhance or mask those qualities. Much as the purist in me hates to admit, maybe it’s easier to give up on quality breed- ing than to try teaching judges to look past grooming. It could be a partial competition equalizer if judges could accept less-than-perfect grooming in their class judging. Perhaps we could even encourage more peo- ple to show terriers if they didn’t have to spend so

Young people are used to learning at institutions, not through apprenticeships. Academies for Junior Breeders and Groomers may be the only way to reach a young generation. Grooming is well on its way in that direction with competitive groomers learning complicated trims and techniques at seminars and competitions. Breeding institutions have a long way to go to catch up – or start. In the meantime much infor- mation is being lost as the generations who studied with mentors retires. Nor does breeding generate rev- enue as quickly or consistently as grooming. That’s an obstacle that will need to be seriously addressed soon- er rather than later. We also need to encourage young people to join clubs, and give them real work to do to keep them interested. My local Rotary Club found a great way to encourage young people to join. We

much time learning how to groom their dogs to perfection, or pay high fees to professional groomers every time they want to exhibit. I think we are already well down the path of lesser quality breeding and higher quality grooming, because it’s the path of least resis- tance. Unfortunately it has also led us down the exclusionary path of giving great advantage to dogs that are professionally groomed and exhibited – and that is another dis- couraging factor for the Fast New World generation. They can still buy a pretty good dog, but the process of learning how to groom and show it to perfection can take a long time if it is not their primary occupation, and it seldom is. Given the new set of rules pre- sented by the Fast New World gen- eration, I am struggling with ideas to encourage more exhibitors.

recruited a 23-year old member to become president, and let him go forward with whatever he wanted to try. It’s been rejuvenating for all members, and has certainly helped to recruit more young members. If conformation competition is going to survive it will have to change from the bottom up, and appeal more to the Fast World gen- eration. I think the change will be determined more by the people who will be carrying it forward than the people like me who learned under a different system. I hate to see the wisdom of the older breed- ers lost, but it’s entirely possible that the younger generation just doesn’t want to function in that world, and doesn’t care what’s lost. Perhaps all we need to do now is find all of those young Fast World generation people who love dogs, and just get out of their way. ■

Given the new set of rules presented by the Fast New World generation, I am struggling with ideas to encourage more exhibitors. Nothing about the breeding, conditioning, train- ing and grooming of dogs comes quickly or easily. All of it takes time...

Nothing about the breeding, conditioning, training and grooming of dogs comes quickly or easily. All of it takes time – a commodity this new generation does not want to spend on their dogs. This young generation does not want to spend a lot of time “paying dues” to an archaic system that mostly rewards longevity and connections. That’s why performance events are becoming so popular while conformation declines. If they spend time with their dogs, they want it to be fun, not work. I don’t know how to make breeding and grooming sound like fun. The rewards are always deferred. I do know that they need to feel a sense of accomplishment much sooner than I did when I entered the system. I don’t see any young people wanting to wait 10 years to begin having credibility. That’s not how they work.

Jackie Fogel got her first purebred basset in 1969, but her real education in the world of AKC dogs and shows started in 1979 when she moved to Wisconsin and whelped her first home-bred champion. In 1995 Jackie got a bedlington terrier from David Ramsey of the famous Willow Wind line. She has bred and shown numerous #1 bedlingtons, and continues to actively breed both bassets and bedlingtons. In 2007 Jackie began judging, and is approved to judge 6 breeds. She owns and manages Cedar Creek Pet Resort, and is active in the Kettle Moraine Kennel Club, Keep Your Pets, Inc., (a non-profit she founded), and the local Rotary club. Jackie writes for ShowSight Magazine, the basset column in the Gazette, and a pet column in a local magazine.


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