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4-to-6 Month Beginner Puppy Competition

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76 – June, 2018

by Sandy Weaver – AKC Judge

If you’re on Facebook, you may have seen a post that went viral. It’s a picture of a sign posted at the entrance to the 4-6 month puppy competition in Perry, GA. The post, at this writing, has over 800 shares and dozens of positive comments, which speaks to what exhibitors and some (many? most?) judges feel this competition should be. Disclaimer: it was my ring and my sign. I love this competition and created the sign because the puppies need to have a good experience, so I want the handlers to have as much fun as I’m having.

This competition is for very green, very young puppies. It often attracts very green, very novice owners, partly because of the word “beginner” in the competition name. AKC sends out emails to owners of puppies in the area of a 4-6 month puppy competition, alerting them to the chance to try out showing their dog. Also, professional handlers, their families and their assistants aren’t allowed to handle in this competition, so often owners who rarely go into the ring will be on a promising puppy. The humans are often stressed-out, which in turn stresses out the puppy. That’s why I created a list of “I don’t care’s” and will post it every time I judge this competition.

For a judge, this is a time-consum- ing competition – how much time can be given to teaching the novice handlers the ropes, and how much time can you take trying to go over an untrained, overly enthusiastic or overly wary puppy? AKC understands and only expects judges to pass on 20 dogs per hour. That means there’s more time to guide wayward puppies and their handlers. (Psst…it also means there’s more time to enjoy the process of judging the babies!) Click the link below to read a few things for both judges and exhibitors to consider:

Click here to read the complete article
76 – June, 2018

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