Showsight April 2023


throughout my journey. I have done some assisting for handlers and it’s definitely a fun way to learn all about the breeds, how they are groomed, and the planning that goes into it as well. I will recommend for kids, if they want to help out, to be at least 14 years old, simply because it’s a lot of work and it can get stressful at times. It is lots of fun and I do like to help others out whenever I possibly can. I usually have my mom help me build the schedule to help friends. (We’ve made many new friends this way!) 8. What do you think about the Judges? Do they seem to enjoy the Juniors ring? I think this depends on the judge, for sure. I think most judges really do like Juniors. You can tell right away when you see them smiling when you walk into the ring. I have met so many nice judges; those are the ones I remember the most. They will smile at me when they see me at other shows because they remembered ME. That’s really cool. The judges who are very serious, I do watch myself around. I know they are concentrating on doing their job, so I do my best to do mine. One time, a judge told me not to smile in the ring because I looked fake. It did hurt my feelings a little. I will now smile at MY DOG, because I think they like it and it keeps my energy up. We should be happy in the ring with our dogs. 9. Are there any wins for which you are particularly proud? Any memorable losses? I would have to say my most memorable win was last year in February 2022 when I went California Junior Handler of the Year under judge Pat Trotter. The event was on so I was really nervous, but I did my best to stay calm. It was an honor to have been chosen for such an amazing award! The Sun Maid Kennel Club in Fresno did such an amazing job of making us Juniors feel really special at that show. They awarded me with a four-foot ribbon and a $2,000 academic scholarship, which I will most certainly use for college. I don’t think you could have wiped the smile off my face for a week!

Audrey and Diamond. photo by Dolores Ferrero, Banjo’s owner

10. How is your breed shown? How do you accentuate your dog’s breed type in the ring? Whippets are a medium-sized dog with an elegant, smooth stride and a sleek outline. As handlers, we want to accentuate this by letting them walk into their free-stacks, as appropri- ate, and use our hands when necessary to truly show off the best parts about them. In Whippets, we want to emphasize their smooth and flowing curves. I do this when hand-stack- ing by bringing their head up and then down to create this beautiful arch in the neck as well as letting them stand on their own to properly show the cleanest outline you can give. A well-balanced dog can do this easily, and that is something I always love to showcase. They should also glide when gait- ing, using a “daisy clipping” movement with nice reach and drive, and showing an efficient stride. I stay in step with my dogs, so we can stay connected as a team and so they don’t go too fast or slow. 11. Is your breed generally well-suited for a Junior Showmanship career? It can depend on who you ask, because their personalities vary deeply in the breed, but I find that Whippets are a great Juniors dog. They are not hard to control, not too small where you have to fidget, and most will go and show for just about anyone. They can be a sensitive and aloof breed, so you’ll have to be sure to always encourage your dog and use posi- tive training with your Whippet. They do not like the cold, so some days they can be harder to work with (especially at 8 a.m. in October-March), but this just helps you learn how to work with your dog better.

Audrey and Diamond at the Cascade Specialties


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