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It’s Not What’s Wrong With Dog Showing… It’s Who’s Wrong!

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176 – April, 2015

From the archives of The Canine Chronicle, April, 2015

By Marlene Groves

Dog showing is an interesting sport, or game, or as many call it, a fancy. It brings together a melting pot of people who are rather obsessed with dogs and in particular their breed and their dogs. It showcases fabulous dogs and you get to meet friends who share your crazy passion. It sure is something which can be tons of furry fun!

But then there is the other side, you know, the darker side of things; bringing out the cruel and unkind and for whatever reason this part of the fancy is gaining momentum and ugliness. Lately I keep hearing, “it is not what is wrong with dog showing, but who is wrong”.

Imagine if you will a ring full of dogs and someone outside the ring, rambling off ugly comments about a dog (yours or anyone’s), or adults glaring at another competitor, or some of the yelling matches we have all witnessed. This is not a fantasy world, it’s a sad reality; and it really needs to stop!

So ask yourself, what to do? Most people say nothing or do nothing when they witness poor behavior, and to them I say, you know the phrase if you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem (yep, I think it applies).

There are Codes of Ethics in the AKC and in each Breed Club; there are Codes of Ethics in the various Professional Handlers Associations… But are they helping or being enforced? In my personal opinion, I am thinking not so much.

Now I will take this to another level, and that is when “adults” target or aim their cruelty toward our “youth”… Think it does not happen, well, think again. Then apply it to your child, your grandchild, or to yourself as a young child. We need to encourage every junior (and new person) that even tries our sport or is remotely interested. So ask yourself, are you an encourager?

Personal story number one: I was at a dog show out of my area, ringside at juniors, and there were a few “adults” tearing down an out of town “junior” (not mine). Sorry, people, but don’t go there or act like that with me around. I turned to both these “adults”, and said, yes this “junior” is from XYZ, as am I, and this “junior” is a fabulous handler with a fantastic dog”. This stopped the conservation, or at least stopped it around me. Good Lord! Am I the only person who thinks, and knows, this is wrong!

Personal story number two: At a local fun match where a “junior” was showing and she took breed and went on to the group. An “adult” competitor was ringside haranguing the “junior” and her dog. What she did not know is that the junior’s mother was in earshot. Honestly, the junior’s parents nearly pulled her from this sport of dog showing that she loves as they do not want her subjected to these types of “adults” (bullies) and their ugliness. Again, this is beyond ridiculous; it’s completely unacceptable! But it is tolerated by the masses, including professional handlers, especially if someone has a large wallet or a top dog.

We are all told you need “thick skin” to be in this sport, but really? Why? Are we just giving these people a “free pass” to practice ugly behavior?

And then, of course, there is social media, where dog clubs, including most national breed clubs and the American Kennel Club don’t think unsportsmanlike behavior in these formats is under their control or influence in essence giving people another free pass to berate and belittle someone. Hmmm, are these things not “unsportsmanlike behavior”? We all know they certainly are!

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176 – April, 2015

Short URL: http://caninechronicle.com/?p=74510

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