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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Does anyone have any owner-handler conformation success stories in Goldens, especially about owner handlers who have finished their own dogs in the last few years? The competition seems unbelievably tough. How realistic is it these days for an owner handler to finish her own dog in Goldens? If someone wants to handle her own dog, would it better to try a different breed first? Any and all honest advice/thoughts/observations appreciated. :)
 

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Kate
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I think you should work on handling the girlie in shows right now. Learn to handle/show with her.

It might take 2-5+ years to learn how to handle and compete well with the dog you have. There is no "perfect" dog - and certain guarantee is that many of the goldens you see in the ring right now have something not great about them. But handling skills can make up for where the dog lacks... and help show off what the dog has.

If you want to win right now and have a CH by the end of the year - hire a pro.

If you want to get into showing and really get in with both feet running - start now with the dog you have. That is do everything or learn how to do everything - and stick to it.

If you have a pro handler mentoring you and letting you set up with them and teaching you how to handle and groom - that will give you a faster break than the typically 2-5+ years it takes on your own or with a breeder mentoring you.
 

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Kate
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Was going to change my answer as you changed the question, however the response is still pretty much the same as far as the bigger question on how to get started in showing.

To your revised question - yes, I know of owner handlers who have finished their dogs.

GRF has a member whose daughter got into conformation with their golden. Early posts about this golden had been regarding obedience training and problem solving mouthy behavior and leash manners and so on. They got into conformation and did wonderful. Dog is finished - all owner handled.

She is not the only GRF member who started out as a very green owner handler in conformation - and finished their first show dog.

Separately or outside of GRF, I've met many owner handlers who did wonderful with their dogs and finished them. See what I posted above as far as learning directly from pro handlers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I think you should work on handling the girlie in shows right now. Learn to handle/show with her.

It might take 2-5+ years to learn how to handle and compete well with the dog you have. There is no "perfect" dog - and certain guarantee is that many of the goldens you see in the ring right now have something not great about them. But handling skills can make up for where the dog lacks... and help show off what the dog has.

If you want to win right now and have a CH by the end of the year - hire a pro.

If you want to get into showing and really get in with both feet running - start now with the dog you have. That is do everything or learn how to do everything - and stick to it.

If you have a pro handler mentoring you and letting you set up with them and teaching you how to handle and groom - that will give you a faster break than the typically 2-5+ years it takes on your own or with a breeder mentoring you.
 

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Yes, I've got one of those "success" stories.

I finished my young boy, Deuce, owner handled. He was the first dog I had ever tried to finish. Before that I had showed dogs only in matches and sweepstakes, and hired a professional handler for the real competition.

I won't lie, it's not easy. The ring is filled to the brim with professional handlers who know how to best present their dogs, and how to hide or distract from their faults. They do it all the time, maybe 20 dogs a show, every show, every weekend, all year long. They are very good at what they do. You won't be able to beat them on technique. You'll have to beat them with a good dog. That's the only way I was able to do it: I had a very worthy dog, and I just tried to let him do his job and not screw him up too much. :D

Even still, I handed him off to a pro at the National, and he has a pro as a special now, and you can see the difference in how he is shown. First, two photos of me on him, and then two photos of a pro on him. See if you can spot the difference. LOL!

Here is how I presented him:

882749


882750


And here is how a couple pros presented him:

As a puppy at the National...
882751


And recently...
882752


He's older and all grown up in that last photo, but you can see the obvious difference between my meager capabilities and the pro handlers' mastery. I basically just held the end of the lead and tried not to fall down. I finished him because he's a good, honest dog, and I had a pro handler spend several sessions working with me.

Here's one of my practice sessions with the pro who helped me figure out how to stack a dog.

882756


I thought that was a pretty good stack, but I got all sorts of criticism from the pro who was mentoring me. There are so many subtle things that can make or break it. You just want to focus on getting the fundamentals down, and let the dog take care of the rest.

So yes, it can be done! And by an idiot like me, even. :) You just need to work at it and have a dog that is truly worthy. Good judges will find your dog if he/she is worthy.

Do it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks, Kate! I am lucky to live in an area that has an active kennel club. I've received lots of help and advice from pros in other breeds. My breeder is also wonderful, has bred many champions, and is willing to help me however she can. When I got my first dog from her, who is gorgeous but hates shows, neither she or I realized how much I would want to do conformation. My boy is a certified therapy dog now and can go to school with me and live a great pet life. My girl is "nice" and loves shows. She'll be two in a couple months. She recently earned her novice Rally and trick dog titles as well as her CGC. We're working on CGCA, TKI, and playing around a little with agility. I've entered six or seven shows over a period of eighteen months or so and have gone to a few more shows to hang out, learn, and help two different breeder/handlers. But I turned 49 this week and was also looking at the AKC point schedule for various breeds and was thinking that if I could love another breed as much as I love Goldens, the road to success might be a wee bit easier. I know that no breed would be easy without a good dog, time, and money, but Goldens are soooooooooooooooooo tough.

Again, huge thanks for taking the time to respond. I will try to be patient and keep playing with my girl.

I think I'm also feeling the pressure of getting it right with the next dog. Otherwise, I'm going to end up with a house full of dogs and no husband. LOL
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Was going to change my answer as you changed the question, however the response is still pretty much the same as far as the bigger question on how to get started in showing.

To your revised question - yes, I know of owner handlers who have finished their dogs.

GRF has a member whose daughter got into conformation with their golden. Early posts about this golden had been regarding obedience training and problem solving mouthy behavior and leash manners and so on. They got into conformation and did wonderful. Dog is finished - all owner handled.

She is not the only GRF member who started out as a very green owner handler in conformation - and finished their first show dog.

Separately or outside of GRF, I've met many owner handlers who did wonderful with their dogs and finished them. See what I posted above as far as learning directly from pro handlers.
Thanks again, Kate. :)
 

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Esquire Golden Retrievers
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I think I'm also feeling the pressure of getting it right with the next dog. Otherwise, I'm going to end up with a house full of dogs and no husband. LOL
And the problem is?...

:D
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yes, I've got one of those "success" stories.

I finished my young boy, Deuce, owner handled. He was the first dog I had ever tried to finish. Before that I had showed dogs only in matches and sweepstakes, and hired a professional handler for the real competition.

I won't lie, it's not easy. The ring is filled to the brim with professional handlers who know how to best present their dogs, and how to hide or distract from their faults. They do it all the time, maybe 20 dogs a show, every show, every weekend, all year long. They are very good at what they do. You won't be able to beat them on technique. You'll have to beat them with a good dog. That's the only way I was able to do it: I had a very worthy dog, and I just tried to let him do his job and not screw him up too much. :D

Even still, I handed him off to a pro at the National, and he has a pro as a special now, and you can see the difference in how he is shown. First, two photos of me on him, and then two photos of a pro on him. See if you can spot the difference. LOL!

Here is how I presented him:

View attachment 882749

View attachment 882750

And here is how a couple pros presented him:

As a puppy at the National...
View attachment 882751

And recently...
View attachment 882752

He's older and all grown up in that last photo, but you can see the obvious difference between my meager capabilities and the pro handlers' mastery. I basically just held the end of the lead and tried not to fall down. I finished him because he's a good, honest dog, and I had a pro handler spend several sessions working with me.

Here's one of my practice sessions with the pro who helped me figure out how to stack a dog.

View attachment 882756

I thought that was a pretty good stack, but I got all sorts of criticism from the pro who was mentoring me. There are so many subtle things that can make or break it. You just want to focus on getting the fundamentals down, and let the dog take care of the rest.

So yes, it can be done! And by an idiot like me, even. :) You just need to work at it and have a dog that is truly worthy. Good judges will find your dog if he/she is worthy.

Do it!
Thanks, Dana! Deuce is a gorgeous boy!

I think my problem is that I turned 49 this week. I showed horses as a kid and have always wanted to show dogs. Now that I actually have the time and money to try it, I feel like I'm too old to get started in such a competitive breed. I am lucky to have several knowledgeable people willing to help me. But I've also noticed lots of Golden people seem to have a "second" breed, which is what got me to thinking about trying to fall in love with another breed that might be easier for me to show myself.

Plus, I can only have so many Goldens at home before my husband gets irritated. LOL I have a gorgeous boy, but he hates shows. I have a "nice" bitch who thinks she's the world's greatest gift to the show ring, but she's probably not spectacular enough to win, especially not with me handling her.

Thanks again. It's so nice to have those with experience willing to chime in and give advice and moral support. :)
 

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I’m not going to call myself a success story, but I do handle my own girl and have put points on her. If you want to read about my latest escapade in the show ring head on over to this thread: Winning Open and Losing the Points

If you want to show your own dog, then do it! No matter how much I might bitch and moan, it is fun and there is nothing quite like the feeling you get when you win. Take classes or lessons from a pro and learn how to properly present your dog. Dress like a pro, groom like a pro, and act like a pro and you’ll finish your own dog. That last part is a lot easier said than done, but there is something to the whole “fake it til you make it” thing.
 
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the party's crashing us
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Yes. I've finished four Golden males and one Boykin :D
My goldens finished in 2008, 2011, 2015 and 2018
All had both majors from golden breeder judges and at specialties or supported entries. My latest CH was finished with only 4 specialty majors 3-4-4-5
For the first two, the point scale was MUCH higher (24 dogs for a 3 point major back then)
It takes a lot of work and skill to develop. I also do obedience & field and have dabbled in tracking, rally and agility.

Fisher - CH Deauxquest Hard Day's Knight UDT RAE MH WCX OS DDHF VCX CCA
Blade - CH Top Hat's First Tour of Duty JH WC
Bally - GCH Richwood Wing-T Workin' Like A Dog CD MH WCX** OS DDHF VCX
Brix - GCH Malagold Wing-T We Can Work It Out MH WCX DDHF
Leon - CH Hollow Creek Leon Redbone Rock the Boat (Boykin)

You can get an easier breed and have a CH easier but it won't help you in the golden ring. If your dog's success doesn't depend on handling and grooming skills, you'll never be pushed to get better. That's what you see in the rare breeds, poor handling & grooming gets by.
 

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Kate
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You can get an easier breed and have a CH easier but it won't help you in the golden ring. If your dog's success doesn't depend on handling and grooming skills, you'll never be pushed to get better. That's what you see in the rare breeds, poor handling & grooming gets by.
I had the same thought....

Sometimes you sit by the ring and watch a different breed... good example would be tervs... and you see handling that golden people could not get away with.
 

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Does anyone have any owner-handler conformation success stories in Goldens, especially about owner handlers who have finished their own dogs in the last few years? The competition seems unbelievably tough. How realistic is it these days for an owner handler to finish her own dog in Goldens? If someone wants to handle her own dog, would it better to try a different breed first? Any and all honest advice/thoughts/observations appreciated. :)
I know someone who just started showing in conformation a few years ago and got a 5 point major last weekend.
 

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Yes. I've finished four Golden males and one Boykin :D
My goldens finished in 2008, 2011, 2015 and 2018
All had both majors from golden breeder judges and at specialties or supported entries. My latest CH was finished with only 4 specialty majors 3-4-4-5
For the first two, the point scale was MUCH higher (24 dogs for a 3 point major back then)
It takes a lot of work and skill to develop. I also do obedience & field and have dabbled in tracking, rally and agility.

Fisher - CH Deauxquest Hard Day's Knight UDT RAE MH WCX OS DDHF VCX CCA
Blade - CH Top Hat's First Tour of Duty JH WC
Bally - GCH Richwood Wing-T Workin' Like A Dog CD MH WCX** OS DDHF VCX
Brix - GCH Malagold Wing-T We Can Work It Out MH WCX DDHF
Leon - CH Hollow Creek Leon Redbone Rock the Boat (Boykin)

You can get an easier breed and have a CH easier but it won't help you in the golden ring. If your dog's success doesn't depend on handling and grooming skills, you'll never be pushed to get better. That's what you see in the rare breeds, poor handling & grooming gets by.
I was thinking of you when I saw that question! I came across Blade's page the other day looking for a certain girlie from this area. Turns out she doesn't have a page.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Yes. I've finished four Golden males and one Boykin :D
My goldens finished in 2008, 2011, 2015 and 2018
All had both majors from golden breeder judges and at specialties or supported entries. My latest CH was finished with only 4 specialty majors 3-4-4-5
For the first two, the point scale was MUCH higher (24 dogs for a 3 point major back then)
It takes a lot of work and skill to develop. I also do obedience & field and have dabbled in tracking, rally and agility.

Fisher - CH Deauxquest Hard Day's Knight UDT RAE MH WCX OS DDHF VCX CCA
Blade - CH Top Hat's First Tour of Duty JH WC
Bally - GCH Richwood Wing-T Workin' Like A Dog CD MH WCX** OS DDHF VCX
Brix - GCH Malagold Wing-T We Can Work It Out MH WCX DDHF
Leon - CH Hollow Creek Leon Redbone Rock the Boat (Boykin)

You can get an easier breed and have a CH easier but it won't help you in the golden ring. If your dog's success doesn't depend on handling and grooming skills, you'll never be pushed to get better. That's what you see in the rare breeds, poor handling & grooming gets by.
Thanks, Anney! I'm not a quitter, so I guess I'll just keep going to handling classes, watching grooming videos, and trying to be patient until the "just right" Golden comes along. And I'll keep training my sweet girl. She tests for CGCA and TKA in a couple weeks.

On a side note, I've purchased and love your decals. I'm friends with Kittey Cathey, who says you're the only person to get decals, etc. from. :)
 
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