Showsight May 2017

QUESTION FOR ALL SHOWSIGHT READERS Is enough being done to attract Juniors to the fancy? What more can we do?

Thank you to everyone who offered opinions on this month’s topic. The following is a selection of the responses. Want to voice your opinion to the fancy? Follow ShowSight’s Facebook page for the monthly question prompt!

Charge $5 dollars for all Junior classes—no more, no less—just enough to cover judging fee. And, the dog does not need to be entered in another class. –Anonymous No, enough is not being done to attract Juniors. The breed clubs may be going above and

campaign, all geared toward Juniors. If we don’t do some- thing, and fast, this is going to be a dying sport. –Kim Papke

100% of the people who

No, there is not enough to encourage Juniors to partici- pate in dog shows. It is just too expensive! Why do the clubs charge so much to enter Juniors? First you have the dogs regu- lar entry fee then an additional Juniors fee! The average kid will not have a pet that would win in the breed ring against the handlers, but the way the fees are set up, they need to enter the breed ring first then they charge another fee or Juniors. That is just too much for the average child. It seems the Juniors ring mostly attracts kids that work for a handler. The dogs first entry is paid by them and since the Junior will be there any way, they can enter the dog in Juniors. Dog shows would not attract the average child because it is too expensive. –Katherine Rager I have long been concerned that the dog show situation for children will not outlive my generation. There are so many ways for families to have hobbies with kids today as travel- ing sports and all kinds of tournaments. The push to adopt pets has negated the need for emphasis on a family pet with 4-H, FFA and others allowing mixed breeds to compete in community contests as an “ugly dog” or simple rally type competitions where heritage of the pure bred or mutt com- peting are not important. Showing dogs is a big commitment for the family when only one child is interested with others ‘competing’ in other activities. Division of families to support all children in their individual activities is far more plausible when busses carry teams of their friends to destinations. It is a lonely activity for a kid to participate in their first show to see new friends for a weekend when they first start out. I have taught many Juniors and some are very successful. It takes a great deal of parent involvement and results for the Junior depend on the support of their parents. Then there is the dog—a certain well trained, preferably champion qual- ity one with considerable expense to obtain one, grooming, crates, leads ad infinitum and distance travel to the show. Consideration about how they get to the shows after all the classes grooming lessons and skills have been mastered. A parent uninterested in showing dogs themselves or a respon- sible trusted adult to send them with are some options.

answered this month’s survey unanimously agreed—not enough is being done.

beyond in some cases, but there are many all breed clubs that still act like Juniors are just another class. –Anonymous

Forget showmanship; teach structure. We have enough beauticians in the show world; what we need is a new generation of young people who are passionate about breeding. –Anonymous 4-H has Junior judging—a much better idea. More difficult to pull off, sure, but far more worthwhile, and think of the future pool of judges. –Pat Rock Is enough being done to attract (and keep) Juniors to the fancy? No. How do we improve this? I don’t know. Today’s youth are being pulled in many directions and instant grati- fication is the name of the game. That doesn’t happen in our sport. Years of hard work are required to learn our craft. Many who start as Junior handlers lose interest when their friends are involved with other sports. Taking care of a dog requires an everyday commitment—you can’t just “put it on the shelf” when you are finished playing with it. –Anonymous

I recommend more seminars and events at shows geared towards Juniors. –Anonymous

No, in my opinion, not nearly enough is being done to attract Juniors to the fancy. First, I believe we need to change the thinking that owning a purebred dog is a bad thing. This idea is taking over the popular perception, and we aren’t doing enough to combat it. We need to make showing more attractive to Juniors, have shows just for Juniors (this is expensive, though!), hold more seminars, maybe a media

148 • S how S ight M agazine , M ay 2017

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