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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm a relative newbie to conformation showing with only (2) champions. I've always used a professional handler every time my guys went into the ring even though I've taken a few courses on conformation handling.

I'm 100% happy with how my handler (Graeme Burdon) not only handles but treats my boys while they're in his care. My guys are happy when they're with Graeme and it shows in the ring. I normally travel to all shows, hand the dog over to Graeme, help out where needed, and then take the dog home/motel @ the end of the day. Only once have I left one of the boys with Graeme for the weekend & it went great - Nyg was very happy and it was obvious that he had been treated well. Graeme does take his "charges" to his motel room with him and exercises all of them.

On that note, I do have my dogs all ready to hand over to the groomer. Razz has been totally bathed/groomed and a final brushing and all ready to go when he's handed over. When it's time to go onto the grooming table, they're very used to it and allow Graeme to do his thing without any protest. As well, my guys have been exposed to training for the ring since birth and they know how to move, free stack and are used to being handled/touched. They've also been "out in the world", exposed to obedience training and familiar with many of the distractions that are experienced @ a show.

On the other hand, I've seen treatment by professional handlers that makes me cringe and very angry. I've seen dogs dragged around the ring, jerked in an abusive manner, dragged into the ring on 2 hind feet, karate chopped under the belly and even totally ignored when they're on the grooming table. Some of these dogs are left in their crate all day without even a bathroom break. On that note, some of the crates used are so small that I'm surprised the dog can even walk after being curled up in their crate for such long periods of time. Many of these dogs are left behind in their crates @ the show venue until the next morning.

How do you rate your professional handler?
 

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I do not have a handler and hope that I never need one. I really want to owner handle, but it is my first dog so we will see. I did talk to this wonderful professional handler at our first show and when I started to mention that if Scout got older and I felt I needed a handler I would consider it....he said don't! In his opinion there were a lot of crappy ones that you should never trust your dog too.

And I saw it too. There was a poodle puppy taken into a ring that took a long piss after being crated all day without even a potty break before show time. The big handlers with tons of dogs are running in and out of rings and had so many dogs you wonder how they could attend to all of them. On top of it, I thought quite a few of them weren't even that great of handlers (could be my area).

But on the other hand I know of some people that use handlers and love 'em. And I did see a few that were IMO, really, really good. And of course, they had the really good dogs ;) I imagine though it is something you can't be too careful about!
 

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Old Gold is the Best Gold
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I would never EVER be okay with anyone taking my dog anywhere without me, and people walking my dog outside of a fenced area totally makes me go into panic attack mode. Clearly, I could never deal with this. Ringside pick up is all I could ever do, and I'd watch the entire time (even if I had to hide, like I did with Rigby! ;))

I think if you are not as much of a worrier as I am, and you have someone you trust, that's awesome!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Personally, I would like to see judges become more active in disciplining anyone in the ring who abuses their dog. I did once see a judge verbally chastise a professional handler after his dog had a huge bowel movement in the ring. The judge said that the dog obviously had not been given the opportunity to do his business outside of the ring & that it must have been very painful for him. She further said that the dog was very upset by what had happened & that it was the handler's fault! YEAHHHHH When the cleaning crew came, the judge had them leave their equipment, she took the dog and made the handler clean up the mess!!!!! The handler was a little red in the face :--ashamed: I applaud that judge!
 
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Hiring a handler should be no different than hiring someone to do day care for your child. Too many people consider handlers to be some sort of god, and forget that THEY are in YOUR employ. Ask questions, get references, check their rig and set up at shows, visit their facilities at home. Membership in handler organizations, or now, AKC registered handlers, is a good place to start. Watch them with their charges both in AND out of the ring. Observe their assistants closely, as well. And, let friends and colleagues know that if you are not at a show where your dog is being handled by a pro, you want to know if there was anything at all - good or bad - that you should be aware of and then discuss it with the handler. There are excellent, caring handlers out there, as well as those who I would not allow to scoop my dogs poop.

Here's what I like to see -
In '97, I'd flown out to CA with Pebbles for the LA Specialty and then shows in Long Beach. We were set up with Bruce and Gretchen Schult and Moe Miyagawa. We'd all brought food for a potluck lunch. Bruce and Gretchen had these tall director's chairs with "Camp Schultz" embroidered on them - a gift from Rick & Jane Fish. During the lunch break, Bruce was sitting in his chair, balancing a plate full of food AND a Border Collie that he was showing, the dog playing licky face all over him, wagging his tail, and in general making it clear that there was a bond between them. As well as the rest of their dogs, who ALL got "lap/face time" with both he and Gretchen.
 

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...On the other hand, I've seen treatment by professional handlers that makes me cringe and very angry. I've seen dogs dragged around the ring, jerked in an abusive manner, dragged into the ring on 2 hind feet, karate chopped under the belly and even totally ignored when they're on the grooming table. Some of these dogs are left in their crate all day without even a bathroom break. On that note, some of the crates used are so small that I'm surprised the dog can even walk after being curled up in their crate for such long periods of time. Many of these dogs are left behind in their crates @ the show venue until the next morning.

How do you rate your professional handler?
I'm really glad you have a handler you can trust. The things you have observed are appalling! Aren't there guidelines, or requirements for how dogs are handled? Leaving them at the venue over night is acceptable?? I would be livid if someone handled my dog the way you describe!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Here are the Canadian Guidelines: Canadian Professional Handlers Association

Code of Ethics




I will familiarize myself with the rules and regulations of the CPHA, the CKC and this Code of Ethics. I will abide by these rules to the utmost of my ability and I will deem it my duty to report to the Board of Directors of the CPHA any infraction of these rules by a member of the CPHA.
I will not accept any dogs from any other CPHA members’ client until that member has been apprised of the situation and all his/her accounts have been satisfied in full.
I will conduct myself in a professional manner at all times. I will always be courteous and sportsman-like whenever I show dogs, no matter what the outcome of the awards may be.
I will not maliciously criticize or discuss the abilities or ineptitudes of my fellow handlers or exhibitors nor any of the dogs they may be showing.
I will, to the best of my ability, aid any fellow handler, who lives by this code, in the handling of his/her dogs should the occasion arise where they are unable to handle them, providing it does not jeopardize any of my clients or their dogs.
I will deal with my clients in a professional and business like manner, and I will advise them of all show results, wins or placings and tender them all ribbons and trophies won by their dog/s within a reasonable time period.
I dedicate myself to continuously strive to improve my knowledge and skills in the practice of my profession for the benefit of those who employ me.
I will not, in any manner, belittle or berate any judge of their decisions in the ring.
The fees for my services will be fair and just to my clients and shall be commensurate with the services rendered. An itemized bill will be supplied monthly to each client.
Unless prior arrangements have been made with a client, a client’s dog will be given priority in the ring over any dogs owned by the handler.
As a member of the CPHA, I realize I am their representative whenever I am in the public eye, and will conduct myself within the confines of this code and pledge to uphold it’s principles and intent. I swear to abide by the above Code of Ethics and to the validity of all statements contained in the application for membership in the CPHA.

[Main Page] [Membership] [Requirements] [Application] [Contact] [Code of Ethics]​
 

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This whole subject is crucial to me right now, and I keep wavering and worrying about it.

I am staying tuned for any/all responses with huge interest.

Thanks for starting this thread!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
This whole subject is crucial to me right now, and I keep wavering and worrying about it.

I am staying tuned for any/all responses with huge interest.

Thanks for starting this thread!
My handler came highly recommended by my breeder. When I met Graeme, my first thought was "Hey, you were on the TV show "Going to the Dogs".

I guess that the most important judge of a handler was what my boys thought of him. Well, when they see Graeme, they get very excited - happy excited - but they listen to him. I also see that teamwork when they're in the ring together.


Graeme has handed both of my boys off to other handlers due to scheduling conflicts but that's ok. My guys have adjusted just fine to this and handle for anyone - hey, they even beat Graeme in the Group ring! Most of the time, it is Graeme's daughter, Emily, who fills in & she's most competent!
 

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I guess I have to consider myself very lucky as Kimberley (my daughter) has always handled our guys or if she needs a back-up then it's one of the Jr's that's very gentle also. I just watched a video taken at our recent Maritime Golden Retriever Specialty where Tye who's name in this video should be Tigger (ha) who was jumping and excited over bait (which is something Kimberley said she cannot take in the ring with him again) but, I smiled when I seen how she got him under control in her own way and he continued to Best Puppy In Specialty Show. He is a very happy boy to begin with. :)

Yeah for that judge who made her do the clean up! Only once have I ever seen a person get a really good scolding from a judge to the point where he was almost asked to leave the ring or keep his mouth quiet and dog under control and that was not in the golden ring.

There are excellent handlers in our area but I am still happy that mine go with either myself or Kimberley.
 

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Chantilly Goldens
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I trust my handler completely and did spend a lot of time watching her before having her take my dogs out. She is absolutely wonderful and I feel very lucky. I would not allow my dogs to go with someone I did not fully trust either. Besides doing a flawless job with them my dogs don't/can't lie. They will pull me off my feet to go and see her often smiling, talking with complete wiggle butts....
 

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I have to say I am very anti letting my dogs out of my care. Only once have I allowed one of mine to go to a show with a handler. Lucky for me it was with good friend, mentor and at the time co-owner of my girl. So I knew she would be well taken care of.

The funniest thing is that the handler's husband had to take my girl across the road to X her as she only did grass. Even funnier is, he was happy to take her and complimented her on how well behaved she was.

I think if you aren't completely comfortable with your handler and think they will treat your dogs as good or better then you do, don't send them out. Personally I have much more fun showing and working with my guys, so a handler isn't very important to me.
 

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Mac, how did you learn to do so well handling your own dogs?? I remember how well you did at last year's national! I keep hearing that goldens are so competitive, that it's not actually feasible/realistic for a novice to pull off showing her own dog. Do you think that's true?
 

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Jill, I was lucky to have an outstanding pup last year. I had many people I did not know come up and comment how much they liked him. I was told I did a really good job up until the last go around, but I am still learning!

I have breeder friends who, with their really nice dogs, finish them by themselves. Some dogs don't show well with their owners and others show better with their owners. All I can say is the more practice you get in the ring the less nervous you become and the easier it is to properly present your dog. That being said, it helps to have a person knowledgeable in structure and gait to help you determine the best speed at which to move the dog and stacking properly to show off your dogs strongest points!

But like I said up top it helps to have an outstanding example of the breed! Hogan did just about everything naturally. Although I did have to teach him to stack, which he learned in Sweeps.

The only other dog I did well with was Putter. He had quite a few reserves under his belt before the age of 1 and retired. Putter not only had great structure, but showed better then any other dog I have owned. In fact I think he loved to show more then almost every dog I have watched.
 

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I trust my handler (Diana Mason) 110%! I've worked with her at shows, I've taken grooming lessons with her at her kennel. All my dogs LOVE her, they get so excited when I tell them it's time to go see Diana and they know as soon as we are in her driveway! She creates a special bond with each dog she shows, I think that's why she does so well.
 

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I have experienced both! the good and the bad. As Gwen has said Graeme & Emily are the best, my dogs thrive in their care! I trust them 200 % and don't worry when I send them off for a weekend away! In a perfect world I could handle my own, and win :p:;) Darn WORK!!!!! Blue is scheduled for just such a weekend the end of this month!.....:crossfing he comes home a NEW CH!!!!!
 

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I trust my handler (Diana Mason) 110%! I've worked with her at shows, I've taken grooming lessons with her at her kennel. All my dogs LOVE her, they get so excited when I tell them it's time to go see Diana and they know as soon as we are in her driveway! She creates a special bond with each dog she shows, I think that's why she does so well.
Ive never seen Diana be harsh with any dog in her care...she also seems to have a good relationship with other prof handlers - its nice to see....
 

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Magica Goldens
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Graeme and Emily handled Teller for me. They're totally trustworthy and the dogs love them. But - I wouldn't put my dog with any other handler - some of the PHA ones in the US make my skin crawl with what they do to the dogs in their care.

I still only do ringside drop off though because I'm particular, I have a dog who needs to RUN before he's shown - a game of retrieve or blasting around a field with another dog. It's not possible for the handlers to do that with all of the dogs that they are showing, grooming and caring for. I also feel better knowing I've dropped off a dog that is "empty" too. I also have a dog that will work for anyone, so the drop-offs work for him too - it's nice to be able to sit ringside and enjoy the show :)

Erica
 

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SunKissed Goldens
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Ive never seen Diana be harsh with any dog in her care...she also seems to have a good relationship with other prof handlers - its nice to see....
It's great, and she stays out of the crap (ya'll know what I mean) !! Her focus is completely on the dogs she has, they are her first priority.

MurphyTeller said:
I still only do ringside drop off though because I'm particular, I have a dog who needs to RUN before he's shown - a game of retrieve or blasting around a field with another dog.
Diva is the same way, figures! If she doesn't get enough walks, runs, or plain attention before her turn in the ring, she's a naughty girl! ;) She always gets long walks both the night before and the morning of the show. And it's even better when Diana has two of my dogs, cause they get to play! That's Diva's favorite! :)
 
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