Showsight May 2017

says Is enough being done to attract Juniors to the fancy? What more can we do?

For the very fortunate kid who is able to have all these sup- ports and learn them well including good sportsmanship and losing, as well as winning gracefully, will have a future in the dog fancy. Those of us who have been in this wonderful presentations of our dogs in conformation, obedience, agility plus any other of the new activates have the responsibility to make this happen for any child who sincerely wants to enter in the fun. Not the grunt work only...we need to pass on a qualified pup or preferably retired show dog of our own and make it available to an interested kid to learn on and show eventually when they have accomplished reasonable skills. We know what it takes. Watching kids pick up and run with our own goals is indeed possible and a big blessing to any of us who are willing to take the time to enjoy watching the next generation of the show fancy get going. –Joan Krumm • Free entries, even if not entered in any regular class or performance event. • Rosettes and ribbons for all—including participants. (Kids are so proud when they have a ribbon to show off to their friends.) • More Pee Wee classes (with ribbons for them, too). • Decent trophies for Best and Reserve Junior—something useful. My club gives grooming tables, dryers, clippers and towels large for 1 through 4 and hand towels for all participants—or water buckets, brushes, combs, slickers. We surveyed the kids and they wanted grooming articles. • Have matches and shows for Juniors only. • Free seminars where handlers teach the kids. (We do a Junior Jubilee and it is all day with handlers giving gen- eral lessons and then other handlers do 1:1—or more if they have the same problem—to correct what the Junior is doing wrong. We give score sheets to show where they need improvement—not a grade/number rating but “needs improvement, satisfactory, good, excellent”. That score sheet is passed on to the handlers to see where the Juniors need the most help.) • Fund the seminars with support from other clubs. • Work with 4-H. • Register the kids with AKC. • Clothes exchange—bring a clean clothing article and get an exchange (includes shoes). • Offer free lunches if it’s an all day seminar. Classes in am and match (in show clothes) in afternoon. • Get real Junior judges (not judges looking to increase their entry count)—one who make the kids show the bites and does not go over the dogs as if they were show dogs (some are just pets). • Encourage the kids and keep the parents back (except in Pee Wee—obviously). –Chantal Andrew More fun matches featuring various classes for Juniors in not just conformation, but also obedience, rally and other areas. Have matches both independently locally and

in connection with all-breed (and specialty) shows/trials. Make these matches for learning as well as competition. Allow for entries on the day, at as low a cost as possible—or even free. –Anonymous Put less emphasis on professionalism and more on learn- ing and getting experience—and having fun with their dogs! Let older folks loan dogs if need be. 4-H is a good model—kids learning and working alongside their peers, with guidance from adults. –Marcia Schlehr To attract new Juniors to the sport we must begin to understand what makes kids tick. Their whole lives are about learning, getting feedback on their skills/behavior and feeling confident that they know what they need to do to improve. These kids work hard getting their dogs ready, they enter the ring and they do their best. If they win they have confi- dence that they did it right-but not really much indication of what made the difference for them to get a ribbon. If they don’t win, they leave the ring, often without so much as a clue as to what they might have done different or better to have received a ribbon for their efforts. The same kids win over and over in our great sport; and, I suspect many of those kids have handler mentors who provide feedback to help them be great. For the kids who don’t have those han- dlers to provide feedback it seems futile to keep going back to the ring and never know what improvements to make to be a contender. The kids who have handler mentors are the next generation of handlers but without new people enter- ing the sport, it cannot survive. Success drives all people to continue. We all know the judge can’t manage feedback for every Junior in the ring on a particular day; although, some judges do make an effort to tell kids how they might improve for next time. Perhaps a real value could come from a panel of volunteers who sit ringside and make notes and provide feed- back allowing the kids to take away constructive criticism as well as valid compliments on their skills—giving kids what they are used to in the rest of their lives and a feeling of suc- cess even if they aren’t a ribbon winner. –Anonymous My daughter enjoyed the Juniors ring, and after 8 years of only being able to guess at what was required to be a winner- she gave up the sport altogether. I assume that many other kids will do the same if we don’t provide them with the foun- dation they need to be competitive and more important a foundation to be successful. –Anonymous

Arrange Junior show times so kids don’t have conflicts with breed or groups. –Anonymous

In short, no. I don’t see why clubs are not going into every school in their areas to do presentations on the fun of show- ing and raising dogs. – Anonymous

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

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