Last week we talked with Jody Davidson, a long-time exhibitor and breeder of Clumber Spaniels who has created a cohesive group of junior handlers in the Scottsdale, Ariz. area. Similar to a 4-H club, Jody emphasizes responsibility, sportsmanship and a dogs first mindset with her kids.
Today, we hear from the current group of juniors, in their own words, as well as a recently aged-out junior who helps Jody teach the kids.
I hope this cheered your day as much as it did mine!
Jody’ Juniors Junior Answers
Name/Age/Breed/Number of years showing
What ONE thing has Jody taught you that you’ll NEVER forget?
What is your favorite part about showing dogs?
How has Jody’s Juniors helped you in other parts of your life (school, family, etc)?
Is showing dogs something you hope to continue with as you grow up?
What would you say to another kid who is thinking they might want to show dogs?
Janina – 10 years old – Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (and soon an English Toy Spaniel!!) – Showing 6 months
- The one thing that Jody taught me that I will never forget: There are times when you lost and you should have won and there are times when you won and you should have lost.
- My favorite thing about dog showing is being with the dogs and my friends.
- Jody’s Juniors has helped me by giving me self-confidence.
- Dog showing is something I hope to continue with as I grow up.
- Something I would say to another kid who is thinking about dog showing is that Junior Showmanship is a very fun sport and they should give it a try!
Alexia – 16 years old – Australian Shepherd/Komondor/Border Collie/Lagotto Romagnolo – Showing 5 years
- Confidence, Jody has taught me to be confident in the ring. She’s told me time and time again that I have the skill sets I need, I just need to look the part. A little bit of confidence can go a long way.
- The bonds you get to make with not only other people but other dogs that aren’t your own. I love to show other people’s dogs because it makes me happy, and I love meeting new dogs.
- I struggle a lot with depression and anxiety and being a part of Jody’s Juniors helps me have a comfortable and safe place. With the group I always feel loved and accepted. I never feel like I have to prove myself to be with them.
- Absolutely! In fact I hope to work under a professional handler through college and hopefully be a handler on my own one day.
- It’s so much fun! You’re surrounded by dogs, there’s bound to be someone your age you can relate to and be friends with, and it helps build character.
Julia – 8 years old – Pug (in Breed Competition as she is too young yet for Junior Showmanship) – Showing 6 months
- The order of classes from Puppy 6 – 9 months to Best In Show.
- Spending time with The Piggle (my Pug).
- Time management.
- Yes, I want to continue Dog Showing.
- I would say that you should try Dog Showing because it is a fun sport and there is (sic) a lot of nice people that do Dog Showing.
Cory – 13 years old – Clumber Spaniel – Showing 2 Months
- The one thing that Jody has taught me that I’ll never forget is that a Junior’s judge isn’t always looking for how well your dog is trained, but rather the relationship you have between you and your dog, and how it cooperates with you and how you reward it and love on it.
- My favorite part about Dog Showing is having fun with my dog and dressing up fancy to show off her features, as well as being able to see the great abundance of different dog breeds.
- Jody has taught me how to do things for myself. Instead of busting through and doing everything for us, she teaches her juniors how to be responsible. This helps greatly with school and I believe it will help me in the future, too.
- I love dogs and all other animals too. I plan to continue showing dogs for a long time and maybe someday get my kids interested in it, too.
- I would say that it’s great that they’re interested! It’s really fun and even can provide Veterinary Scholarships for college if you’re interested in that. It’s a great program and I would think they should show dogs.
Kyle – 14 years old – Doberman Pinscher/ Australian Shepherd – Showing 4 ½ years (4 years with 4-H / 6 months AKC)
- To always stay calm and don’t get nervous.
- Going into the ring & presenting my dog.
- It has made sure I do well in school so I am able to show.
- Yes, I plan to continue to show or do something with dogs in the future
- You should definitely do it, it will be a lot of fun
Connor – 15 years old – Keeshond – Showing 2 months
- Even if you lose your class, you’re still going to take the dog home, so you might as well love on the dog afterwards and tell him how good he was.
- The adrenaline rush you get when you enter the ring
- Practicing showing with my dog gives me another activity to do with him at home
- Yes, it’s very fun and I want to finish my dog in the breed ring as well
- You should do it! It’s a lot of work but very worth it.
Emerson – 9 years old – Saluki – Showing 1½ years
- Something that Jody taught me that I will never forget is to have a loose lead when I am running with my Saluki. It has helped me improve my showing because we look like a team when we move together.
- My favorite part about showing is spending time with my dog (one of my best friends) and doing our best together. Winning is also a bonus 😉
- Jody’s Juniors helped me learn to focus better. I also learned to set goals for myself and work hard to try and achieve these goals.
- I hope to continue showing dogs and would like to learn how to show other types of breeds also.
- I would say that showing takes a lot of practice and is hard work, but it pays off because it is really fun and you meet lots of new friends.
And Sarah Dwight:
Sarah Dwight – 18 years old – Flat Coated Retrievers and numerous other breeds in a variety of Groups
– Showing dogs for 11 years
- How did you get started in dog showing?
I first started showing my 6 month old Bedlington Terrier in breed when I was 7 years old.
- How did you feel about aging out?
Although I have had an amazing year being the Number One Flat Coat junior and number 7 sporting junior, I am excited to see what awaits me in the dog show world now that I have aged out of juniors. I’m also excited to pass down my knowledge and watch younger generations mature into elegant handlers.
- Why did you get involved with this group of young people?
I got involved with this group of kids because I see a lot of potential with them. I love this sport, and it is my obligation to give back and work with the younger generation of juniors.
- Do you feel helping current juniors is a beneficial path for graduating juniors and why?
It is important for older juniors to help incoming juniors because it passes down the legacy and art of showing dogs.
- What is one of your proudest/most rewarding moments with the group to date?
Even with multiple best juniors and group placements, I am most proud of the character and integrity that these juniors have. They truly embody what this sport is. They conduct themselves with elegance and sportsmanship that exemplifies what the dog show would should be about
- What would you say to other aging-out juniors about your experiences?
I would strongly urge aged out to juniors to get more involved. It doesn’t have to be teaching a class of juniors; it can be serving on the board of your breed club or even applying for your judging license. This sport will only continue with the devotion and passion of the next generations.
- What are your plans for the future?
My plans for the future include going to college for nursing, showing dogs, and teaching juniors.