Golden Retriever Dog Forums banner
1 - 20 of 39 Posts

· Registered
Joined
·
21,310 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It's really bad when your conformation trainer (a well known handler for many, many years) tells you to get a handler. And he's totally serious. Sort of like your hairdresser telling you to go buy a wig. He has a variety of reasons for telling me this, all of them quite valid. His main 2 are:
1. He says I simply cannot do the dog justice "in such a competitive breed". He claims Tito is too good of a dog to not finish. Says a handler could finish him in "no time at all" (HA!) and would save me a lot of money in the long run.
2. He says that, since I do so many other things with Tito, I need to "get the pretty boy stuff out of the way" before he gets injured or something. He says if I'm going to do dock diving with him, why not take up jaywalking, too??
Also
At the show this past Sunday, the person who heads our local kennel club's conformation program came ringside to watch Tito's horrible performance, which was my fault (posted elsewhere). When we came out of the ring, she told me (now she said it very nicely, although it isn't going to sound like it in writing, and she was 100% correct) that the judge REALLY liked Tito (she did keep going over him) but there was NO WAY she could justify putting up a dog that was so poorly presented. Yep.
Ok, so, I have some questions about this whole handler thing. I have *sort of* picked out a handler that I'd like to, at some point, hire for Tito. I know that I will need to talk to her directly and ask all these questions, but I don't want to sound like a complete idiot so I want to ask them here first to see if what I want is even within the realm of possible on this planet???
First....I am NOT sending Tito out. He's my obedience/agility/dock diving/field dog. I don't want him gone. Do handlers take dogs "day of show" and/or "ringside" on a regular basis? Day of show would be better, if I could dump him, errr, drop him off, first thing in the morning for fluff and puff, and then take him back after he's been in the ring. Is this done?
Second....does the handler tell you what judges will like your dog, and what shows to enter? Or, do they just keep entering show after show until your dog finally wins something?
Third....does the handler often handle more than one Open class dog, since they might not be entered in the same shows? (did that make sense?) I probably would only enter Tito in shows within a couple hundred miles of here. Although I would *prefer* the big name handler take him in, I understand that she has assistants and he would probably end up with an assistant most of the time because, well, I'm not a big paying client and she does have several of those.
Ok, and the open ended...
Does anyone have any suggestions/advice, etc. about hiring handlers? I know less than zero about this.
 

· ...
Joined
·
16,051 Posts
Dogs that are ringside pickups will not take precedence over dogs that are "out" with a handler. And you could end up with an assistant handling rather than the handler.
Most dogs that are ring side pickups are entered by the owner, because your schedule is not likely to match the handler's, who is going to a show every weekend, and likely doing more travel than you. The handler will tell you who are good judges for them.
Have an honest discusssion with the handler. You may find that she may think he could be with them for a couple of months and finish fast, which could be a better bet in the long run. Remember, too, that aside from board costs, you still will split expenses with this handler's other charges, so it's not just a handling fee. She'll be able to make suggestions for you.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
199 Posts
(sorry sort of long)

Everything PointGold said is absolutely correct.

Relatively newbie - I will share with you my experience with Bailey -- Her sire's owner showed her as a puppy, I showed her twice in sweeps - I can't do her justice, not at all, so my continuing to show her was out of the question for many reasons.

I asked an all-breed handler to show her (12-18 class) without asking my mentors because I had been told to "put her up and let her mature and grow coat" when she was 12 months. It was our home show and dang it- I wanted her shown. (And, Bailey never has a lot of coat and did her best winning completely out of coat - go figure) I had seen this handler show a lot and had talked to a couple of people who he shows dogs for.

2nd time he showed her she got her first two points. I never sent her with him, but I travelled to where he was and always got her ready to go in the ring. I made sure that I could have her groomed and ready - spent time before that learning how to groom, but then his assistant would also help me (experience I am forever grateful for)... If it were not for chasing down majors only to find them not to hold - she luckily finished realtively quickly. I was lucky enough to be able to help the handler out and learn a lot of things about many other breeds and now I consider him family.

What I did learn - Bailey - my heart dog, my first golden, my first of many things - hates to show, finds the ring quite beneath her! She is simply spoiled. I always found that by the end of the weekend, she changed some her attitude improved. Why would she want to go show and do her best when she was such a spoiled diva. She would much rather be chasing balls, etc.

I did watch all those dogs travelling with him - they had an attitude of showmanship, fun, eagerness and they simply adored the handler. It is a bond they have. I ended up spending more time with the handler helping him out, getting to really know how he treats all the dogs and there is a reason those dogs adore him. Even Bailey came to want to run to see him whenever she knew he was close by - and yes, I think it has a lot more to do with his bond than treats as he won't give treats unless they are really working.

All-breed handler - runs the risk of conflicts with other breeds, ring side pick ups will never be a priority and so others may show your dog. Bailey's last major, i was disappointed because the handler was in the breed ring with a special and Bailey had to go in with his brand new assistant - in Florida in a ring with all handlers. I hated to show the young girl my disappointment so I just said, go have fun, its ok, no matter what. First go round the judge had his eye on Bailey -- won open and took the major. I was ring side to watch, cry my tears of joy which lasted all the rest of the weekend.

Lesson I learned... I spent a lot of money on handling, hotels, gas and it ultimately would have been cheaper for me to send her out. But then again, I wouldn't have that joy of watching her in the ring. Those dogs with the handler who travel and stay with him - all adore him, they seem happy. I am not sure the dog would mind going - I think it is all us - we don't want them to go, we will be the ones lost and lonely. :)

Coda - when he is ready, I may send him. That important bond they will develop with the handler to improve their showing I believe will grow faster and stronger.

Biggest thing is to have long talk with the handler, talk to other people who have had their dogs out with him/her and see what comments you get. Watch them interact with the dogs at a show. Don't send him if you don't feel completely comfortable.

People keep telling me I should show Coda myself, I bred him and should be the one showing him. I would if I could. But, I believe in my dogs enough to know that they deserve to be shown by the best. I can't do that. Handling is such an art. I did Bailey's obedience & rally and now starting agility -- but conformation - I just cannot do them justice. I did just put a point on Coda myself - but luckily, he showed himself!

My vote is for the handler to show him, ring side pick up or send him for a while. Ring side pick up can be done, but I just honestly don't think it gives them the most competitive edge that is possible. Bailey's 1/2 brother was always a ring side pick up, finished easily and quickly got his SDHF, was a top twenty golden - all as ring side pick up.

Talk to everyone you can, go with what is in your heart.
 

· the party's crashing us
Joined
·
4,948 Posts
Hi --
Okay. If you really want to finish your dog in a reasonable amount of time you need to forget about this:

<<I am NOT sending Tito out. He's my obedience/agility/dock diving/field dog. I don't want him gone.>>

No -- if you want him finished he is NOT your obedience/agility/DD/field dog. He's your show dog. You need to give him the best shot of being competitive in the breed ring while he's being shown and that means that other stuff does not take precedence over the breed ring.

<<Do handlers take dogs "day of show" and/or "ringside" on a regular basis?>>

Some do, some don't.

To be honest it can be VERY DIFFICULT for a handler to form a rapport and TRAIN a dog they only see for 10 minutes in the ring OR a few hours of the dog sitting in a crate or on a table before going in the ring. The dog spends the whole time freaking out wondering where Mom is, who this weirdo is handling them, and what the hell they're doing here. The handler has no opportunity to figure out the dog's temperament, train him to show, learn what looks best, groom him to his best, etc. Yes the dog will get the handler's polished grooming and handling but it won't be tailored to the dog's certain needs. It'll be better than 75% of the dogs in the ring but it won't be 100%.
You want that 100%? You want the dog to have absolutely the best shot at winning? Send the dog on the road with the handler. Realize that you won't see the dog for 2-4 months but during that time he has absolutely the best shot of winning he possibly can, provided you've done your homework and selected a competent handler.
2-4 months will not effect your performance training at all. It is MUCH easier to come back after 2-4 months of no work at all than slog your way through 12-24 months of on and off, sometimes you're a show dog, sometimes not, who is this weird person, etc etc etc.

You will spend MUCH more time AND money trying to finish the dog if you demand ringside pickup than if you just sent the dog out. This coming from someone who finished every last point on their dog themselves! Holy crap I do NOT want to know how much money I spent doing that. I do know from first point to last it was 21 months of showing at least two weekends a month. At an average of $300 a weekend -- you do the math. Ouch. If I had put Fisher out with a handler he would have finished in a fraction of the time and a fraction of the price. Now I don't regret it at all, but those are the numbers.
Do not flatter yourself that your dog will crumple if he's not sleeping in bed with mommy every night. Most pro handlers are superb practitioners of excellent animal husbandry, and the dogs thrive under their care.
I personally have kept and handled 4 goldens for extended periods of time, all did great and did MUCH better than if their mommies and daddies had dropped them off ringside.
So, I guess after all of that, my suggestion is to find a great handler and let them take the dog on the road.
Actually my first suggestion is to get all of Tito's clearances before investing a lot of dough into showing him in the breed ring!
 

· 2 goldens and a BMD
Joined
·
843 Posts
Hi --
Okay. If you really want to finish your dog in a reasonable amount of time you need to forget about this:

<<I am NOT sending Tito out. He's my obedience/agility/dock diving/field dog. I don't want him gone.>>

No -- if you want him finished he is NOT your obedience/agility/DD/field dog. He's your show dog. You need to give him the best shot of being competitive in the breed ring while he's being shown and that means that other stuff does not take precedence over the breed ring.
Admittedly I don't know much about the breed ring, but I do or am getting into obedience/agility/dock diving/field. If I had a dog that I wanted to finish in the show ring, as much as I'd hate to do it, I'd send him/her off in some of the off months late fall/winter/early spring when there is less of the activities going on and get it over and done with. Just my two cents.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
10,602 Posts
I have to agree with everyone else-if you are going to use a handler, it's best to send him out with him/her. It actually ends up being cheaper and faster in the long run.

The obvious caveat is to find a handler that you trust implicitly with your dog. My handler is wonderful, Creed lives with her mother, and he adores both of them. During the years between being shown as a puppy and just now going out, Creed would almost pull my arm out of its socket if he saw Kristi or Deb at a show!

My Scout felt the same way about Rollie and Margie Wilson, and their daughter. He absolutely adored all of them, and sometimes accompanied their daughter to school for show and tell.

As far as picking and choosing judges, it can be done but honestly, even if the judge is not enamored of your dog-it is still experience and a chance for him to be seen. I have personally seen my dogs shown to judges that we thought wouldn't give them a glance, only to have them take the points! And seen judges we thought would love them, ignore them completely.

If you're the "big dog" for the handler, then the handler goes where he or she thinks your dog will do best. If you're not the "big dog", then you go along for the ride. Sometimes that is in your favor, and other times, it isn't.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
21,310 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Still reading and digesting the rest of your post (thanks!!) but I did want to say:

Tito got the LAST of his clearances this past weekend :--big_grin::--big_grin:
Hips: good
Elbows: normal
Thyroid: normal
Heart: normal
Eyes: normal

I posted it all to k9data, except he doesn't have the CERF number yet, that's the one we did this past weekend!

Hi --
Actually my first suggestion is to get all of Tito's clearances before investing a lot of dough into showing him in the breed ring!
 

· Registered
Joined
·
21,310 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
thanks for the replies. I'm reading, re-reading, and digesting them....
 

· Chantilly Goldens
Joined
·
3,384 Posts
During the years between being shown as a puppy and just now going out, Creed would almost pull my arm out of its socket if he saw Kristi or Deb at a show!
Yes, I frequently get this reaction when taking dogs to Shannon's. My thoughts are always oh she must treat the dogs horribly.... NOT!

Yes, I would have to agree with the others that posted before me.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
21,310 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
does this mean I cannot have my cake and eat it too???
 

· SunKissed Goldens
Joined
·
976 Posts
Hi --
Okay. If you really want to finish your dog in a reasonable amount of time you need to forget about this:

<<I am NOT sending Tito out. He's my obedience/agility/dock diving/field dog. I don't want him gone.>>

No -- if you want him finished he is NOT your obedience/agility/DD/field dog. He's your show dog. You need to give him the best shot of being competitive in the breed ring while he's being shown and that means that other stuff does not take precedence over the breed ring.

<<Do handlers take dogs "day of show" and/or "ringside" on a regular basis?>>

Some do, some don't.

To be honest it can be VERY DIFFICULT for a handler to form a rapport and TRAIN a dog they only see for 10 minutes in the ring OR a few hours of the dog sitting in a crate or on a table before going in the ring. The dog spends the whole time freaking out wondering where Mom is, who this weirdo is handling them, and what the hell they're doing here. The handler has no opportunity to figure out the dog's temperament, train him to show, learn what looks best, groom him to his best, etc. Yes the dog will get the handler's polished grooming and handling but it won't be tailored to the dog's certain needs. It'll be better than 75% of the dogs in the ring but it won't be 100%.
You want that 100%? You want the dog to have absolutely the best shot at winning? Send the dog on the road with the handler. Realize that you won't see the dog for 2-4 months but during that time he has absolutely the best shot of winning he possibly can, provided you've done your homework and selected a competent handler.
2-4 months will not effect your performance training at all. It is MUCH easier to come back after 2-4 months of no work at all than slog your way through 12-24 months of on and off, sometimes you're a show dog, sometimes not, who is this weird person, etc etc etc.

You will spend MUCH more time AND money trying to finish the dog if you demand ringside pickup than if you just sent the dog out. This coming from someone who finished every last point on their dog themselves! Holy crap I do NOT want to know how much money I spent doing that. I do know from first point to last it was 21 months of showing at least two weekends a month. At an average of $300 a weekend -- you do the math. Ouch. If I had put Fisher out with a handler he would have finished in a fraction of the time and a fraction of the price. Now I don't regret it at all, but those are the numbers.
Do not flatter yourself that your dog will crumple if he's not sleeping in bed with mommy every night. Most pro handlers are superb practitioners of excellent animal husbandry, and the dogs thrive under their care.
I personally have kept and handled 4 goldens for extended periods of time, all did great and did MUCH better than if their mommies and daddies had dropped them off ringside.
So, I guess after all of that, my suggestion is to find a great handler and let them take the dog on the road.
Actually my first suggestion is to get all of Tito's clearances before investing a lot of dough into showing him in the breed ring!
I totally agree with this, and with what everyone else is saying. My dogs LOVE my handler, they get excited as soon as we start to pull in the driveway!
 

· Faux Wanda
Joined
·
1,528 Posts
I am also a novice at this and found this thread extremely informative. I had taken some conformation classes to learn how to go in the ring myself but in the end I don't think that I have what it takes. They would use my Phoebe as the demo dog and she would prance beautifully. When I took her in the ring we looked like complete dorks. I wanted to hire a handler but I know nothing about it. That is why I enjoyed this thread so much. I do have one other question. About how much should it cost for a professional handler? And thanks for sharing everyone.
 

· Chantilly Goldens
Joined
·
3,384 Posts
A handlers fee varies. Usually depends on the level of coat care and grooming needed also on their track records and what they have won. I find most Golden handlers charge about $80 - $120 per day. Also, the expenses (parking, power, assistant fees, accommodations) are divided evenly between the number of dogs they take. Board fees also vary but are usually between $10-$20 a day that should include coat care, grooming and road work. Canadian shows are charged in Canadian dollars same for American show. Plus show entries. They all vary but that’s a basic outline of fees.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
2,176 Posts
Well, I have my cake & eat it too! Both Razz & Nyg finished very quickly with handler, Graeme Burdon. I only sent Nyg away with Graeme for (1) weekend and the only reason was that I had previous family commitments that I couldn't get out of. The other shows, I took him to the show (bathed & basic grooming - Graeme finished the grooming) handed him over to Graeme for the show & then Nyg would come back to the motel with me. Nyg LOVES Graeme. Nyg was handed off to other very competent handlers when conflicts came up but he he was just fine with that! Many handlers commented on how well he handled. Did handing him off affect his success - not at all! In fact he won both Group & Puppy Group with 2 handlers other than Graeme.

Razz is being handled by Graeme as well. I delivered him to his first show & handed him over for the day. Connie, co-owner, had done all the bathing & grooming before hand. Nyg was handled by both Graeme & his daughter, Emily Burdon. Both do excellent jobs & Razz just loves them both.

I was committed to a family wedding during the second show schedule so Razz went with Connie to the show. Again, Connie bathed & groomed him, Graeme & Emily handled & Razz went back to the motel with Connie. Everything went very smoothly. I arrived on Sunday, got to watch the show & took my new Champion home.

Would I send my guys out with Graeme. You betcha! At the end of the day, Graeme takes all the furkids back to his motel room with walks. This is totally unlike some handlers who leave the dogs @ the show venue in crates or others who leave the dogs in crates in the back of a van/truck.

Yes, I have my cake & eat it too!
 

· Registered
Joined
·
8,164 Posts
First of all, let me state that I do not show in conformation so you may want to take what I say with a grain of salt.

I would give the ring side pick up a try for a couple of shows and just see how your dog handles it. If he does beautifully and immediately starts picking up points, then I see no need to send him off. If, on the other hand, he still needs some additional work to really be competitive, then you'll have to make a decision.

If it becomes clear that he isn't going to finish without sending him away, you will have to prioritize your events. Is finishing in breed a definite plan for you, or is it just something that would be nice to do? What's more important if you have to choose, finishing in conformation or excelling in performance?

While I do not have this problem with breed, I do with field work. My priority is obedience, and I currently have a dog working on his UDX and OTCH. I would love to be able to get field titles on him also, because he absolutely loves it. It has become clear to me, however, that I do not have the knowledge and access that I need to properly train him. I am not willing to send him off at this time and lose valuable training/showing obedience time with him. I have decided that if he can finish his titles in a decent amount of time (he currently has 7 UDX legs, but only 13 points and 1 open win), then I would be able send him off without worrying about the obedience. I also know that if it takes years to earn the OTCH, I'd be facing him being too old for serious field training, and I am okay with that.

Jodie
 

· the party's crashing us
Joined
·
4,948 Posts
Barb, I think you are at a perfect spot time-wise to make this decision. Tito has his clearances and you are at a "bridge" in his obedience career -- he got his UD and could easily take some time off for training to be shown. When he is finished you can get back to pursuing UDX/OTCH and field work. Just a thought.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
21,310 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks for all of the replies!
I have a lot to think about.
The other thing is, which some of y'all know so I guess I assume everyone does, is I have to do some soul searching (in keeping with Jodie's post) as to whether or not I really *want* to finish him, and why.
You see, the thing is, I don't breed goldens and I don't EVER plan to. EVER. Period.
Will I ever breed Tito? Maybe once, for a puppy. Maybe not. If I do, it would have to be to an incredible bitch with an owner who knows what they are doing, since I sure as heck don't.
So this whole thing is really just a great big ego trip for me. He's the little pet that I bought with no aspirations of anything, not obedience, not conformation, nothing. And here we are with a UD at 30 months old (and I'm not a good trainer, not being modest, just being honest), and a dog who allegedly could finish easily with a decent handler. He's got incredible field instincts, took to dock diving like he'd been doing it forever, excels in agility, need I say more? So I'm just ego tripping on what an awesome dog I accidentally ended up with.
So do I REALLY want to send him out with a handler?
HELP!!!!!!
 
1 - 20 of 39 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top