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As the Wheels Turn – Someday We’ll Laugh About This…
I am a professional show dog handler. This is a job that is very time sensitive and physically demanding, so I hire dog show kids to help me out. Which effectively means that on any given weekend, I am personally responsible for...
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As the Wheels Turn - Putting the Pieces Together
This has been a fun and very well-received series. We’ve talked about hand stacking, free stacking and moving already. Now it’s time to put it all together with a dash of pizazz! One of the judges at the show this past weekend...
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As the Wheels Turn - Handling Tips FAQ — moving with your dog
NOTE: This is a reprint from a column last fall, but fits well with our current series. I added a couple more suggestions and tips and the end for any who read it the first time! From a reader: “I have mostly...
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As the Wheels Turn - Step Right Up — Tips on Teaching a Fabulous Free Stack
Note: I promised this topic and I always keep my promises! But, before we start, I’d like to offer a moment of silence in honor of the dogs and exhibitors killed en route to the World Dog Show in Milan. I learned...
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As the Wheels Turn - Back to Basics — Stacking Tips
The calendar flips to June, kids get out of school and the dog show calendar goes completely nuts. It’s the same every year and always makes me think of the “dog days of summer.” With a crazy schedule for everyone and shows...
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As the Wheels Turn - Separation Anxiety
I love my dogs. I love my client dogs. I laugh at their antics, kiss them on the nose and cry when they leave, whether to go home or to heaven. My dogs give me joy, pleasure, comfort and are a source...
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As The Wheels Turn - A Handler's Perspective
The following is excerpted, with permission, from a colleague’s social media commentary. While I didn’t write it, the sentiments echo mine so accurately, I couldn’t resist the urge to share them with a wider audience. Please note Travis’ reference to “livestock.” This...
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As The Wheels Turn - Front and Center
The following is a reprint of an article I wrote for my national breed magazine. Front assemblies are so poorly understood on such a large scale, that I thought perhaps more readers would find this of interest. While not all breeds should...
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As the Wheels Turn - Airplanes and National Specialties
Flying at 37,000 feet in altitude is not my usual cruise control. I am a notorious road warrior. I’d rather drive across the entire country (and have, more than once) than be herded like a sheep onto a giant tube suspended in...
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As the Wheels Turn - Brainstorming Toward A Brave New World
Following a thread about the National Owner Handler Series on Social Media got me thinking about it more than usual. As a Professional Handler, I am not permitted to compete in NOHS, even with dogs I own, so have never really paid...
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As the Wheels Turn - Perspective Through a Two Hundred Year Old Looking Glass
A few years back (well, 210 give or take) a boatload of guys, one woman, one baby and a big black dog stumbled out of the Bitterroot Mountains and collapsed, starved and frozen, just east of Lewiston, Idaho. Fifteen years ago, my...
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As the Wheels Turn - Serendipity Leads to Tattoos
The conversation is predictable. “What do you do?” “I show dogs for a living.” “Wow! That must be so exciting!” “Well, it has its moments…” I had stopped at the bank and was visiting with the “line greeter” employee stationed to chat...
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As the Wheels Turn - Flashback Judging Panel
A recent swirl on Social Media has led to some outstanding discussions, so I wanted to share it with a wider audience. The question is: “Name five Judges who have passed on or who have retired that I would like to see...
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As the Wheels Turn - No Foolin’
At the dog show this weekend, I saw…… Now, finish that sentence with a positive experience. I know, harder than one would hope, isn’t it? The “drama” can make it tough to focus on the good sometimes. Even as oblivious as I...
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As the Wheels Turn - Hair! LOTS of Hair
Note: This is another in our intermittent series of educational articles designed to share valuable information from some of the best sources in the sport. Hair! LOTS of hair. Exhibitors who show drop-coated breeds are often specialists. Numbers of dogs being shown...
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As the Wheels Turn - Caveat Emptor
“[Latin, Let the buyer beware.] A warning that notifies a buyer that the goods he or she is buying are ‘as is,’ or subject to all defects.” We live in an era of ambiguity. The elected leaders of the free world twist...
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As the Wheels Turn - “Tail-Gate” and Grrrrrl Power
Best in Show at Crufts was awarded to the Scottish Terrier, Intl. Rus. Am. GCh. McVan’s To Russia with Love “Knopa.” She is beautifully presented by U.S. handler Rebecca Cross, was bred in the U.S. by Dr. Vandra Huber and is owned...
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As the Wheels Turn - Remembrances
I’ve had the opportunity this week to be reminded, rather forcefully, that, actually, almost nothing is very important when chalked up next to life and death. Our sport lost a great dog man, mentor and friend with the final farewell of Don...
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As The Wheels Turn - Handler Of The Year
One of the highlights of the WKC shows each year is the Showdogs of the Year Awards banquet,hosted by Purina Pro Plan & Dogs in Review. Amongst the honors presented each year is the “Winkie” for Handler of the Year. The winner...
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There's no need to fear! Underdog is here!
Across the nation and around the world was heard, “Jumping Jehosephat”! Or some version thereof, as the long-shot 15” Beagle, Miss P, beat the much touted favorites for Best In Show at the Garden. At 15:1 from the Vegas odds-makers, the jaunty...
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WKC — Day One
A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work. Colin Powell I expect most of us saw the Group Winners or least heard a Twitter on it. Big Beagle, Shih Tzu, Standard Poodle. Old English Sheepdog. So...
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Fact and Fiction in Purebred Dogs
I was once a member of PeTA. Yes, you heard me right. I was in college and thought bludgeoning baby seals for fur coats and pouring acid in little bunnies’ eyes to test cosmetics was bad. I thought these were people trying to help...
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WKC Armchair Dog Handler, Take Two-sday
Tuesday is forecast to almost get UP to freezing in the Big Apple, but the competition at the Piers will just keep getting hotter. Stay-at-home doggie moms and dads can watch live stream coverage of breed judging in our pajamas on the...
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WKC Armchair Dog Handler
We’re too classy for a Westminster Beer Pong contest, so we’ve opted for something marginally useful for those of us missing out on THE event of the year. Everybody is all ready to start judging Best in Show, but let’s remember, the...
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As The Wheels Turn - Road Stories - The Desert Southwest
It’s Monday night and I’m leaving the palm trees and asphalt jungle of Phoenix. Traffic and brake lights in the fading sunset. Only made it to Wickenburg, where I’m soaking my feet in the jacuzzi while a cowboy ropes a steer dummy...
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As the Wheels Turn - Too Cool for School
Has “Too Cool for School” trumped “Old School”? A young friend of mine recently was reminiscing on social media about learning to trim a very challenging terrier breed. I remember her excitement and trepidation when she first took on this new task....
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As The Wheels Turn - When The Wolf Knocks...
I pretty much grew up at dog shows. Many children of the sport have been raised in xpens and crates, playing with puppies and sharing their kibble, sometimes literally! For 20-plus years, the young people who helped me, ranging in age from...
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As The Wheels Turn - The Ghosts Of Portland
Today we ponder mentors. I have been blessed with many and have been gifted with the opportunity to mentor others in turn. This absolutely critical circle of life in the purebred dog fancy may be fading, but in my world it lives...
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As the Wheels Turn - Life In a Sport With No Instant Replay
It’s a rare weekend off for me on a major dog show weekend. My baby brother’s wedding coincided with the shows up north. In order to ensure my attendance at this family function, I was put in charge of making soup for...
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As the Wheels Turn - It's a Dog's Life
I had an interesting conversation recently with a gal whose dog placed last in his class four days running. She asked for an honest evaluation of the dog, which I provided. And then she said, “Poor guy.” As if somehow the yellow...
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As the Wheels Turn - New Year’s Resolutions, Doggie Style
Happy New Year! These are some of the 10 top resolutions spun and targeted to the dog fancy. Follow these suggestions and let’s make 2015 the best year ever… • Lose Weight — The weight of hate. Quit hating the winners, the...
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As The Wheels Turn - ’Twas the Night Before Christmas
’Twas the Night Before Christmas And all through the house, it was an uproar! Puppies c-sectioned today and now we’re really poor. Singing Silent Night, off key, to soothe the hungry babes. What’s verse four? What I wouldn’t give for a long...
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As The Wheels Turn - Blest Be The Ties That Bind
I’m sitting here in my office on a cold, grey Oregon morning while a GWP puppy slams her bone around on the concrete floor, jumping up and down off the blanket draped leather recliner. This puppy represents the sixth generation of a...
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As The Wheels Turn - And They're Off!
Aaaand, they’re off! With the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship now underway (well, the “pre-shows” anyway), I’m waltzing down memory lane to the tune of past journeys. My first trip to “Eukanuba” was 2003, the first year it was held in Long Beach. I...
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As the Wheels Turn - Year End Musings
Holy mistletoe Batman! It’s December already. Out there in the real world, people are decorating their homes with lights, baking cookies and living their family traditions. Here in the dog show world, most people are winding down into a gentle hibernation and...
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As The Wheels Turn - Giving Thanks
I’m not a Pollyanna. Not by a long shot. Indeed, left to my natural inclination, I lean toward the curmudgeonly. Fortunately, we all have a choice in our attitude. I choose not to spend hard earned free minutes focused on the negatives...
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As The Wheels Turn - Here Come Da Judge
I’m pretty sure the only members of the sport who are complained about more than professional handlers are judges. I really feel sorry for these guys most of the time. Judges are people, too, you know. Just like everybody else there are...
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As The Wheels Turn - Dog Show Bloopers
I talk to exhibitors all the time who are terribly nervous to show their dogs. I always try to cheer them up by telling them funny stories of things that have happened to me over the years. If laughter is the best...
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As The Wheels Turn - Culture Clash
Amongst long time fanciers, there are certain topics of conversation that crop up repeatedly in reference to the changing face of the sport. By long time, I mean at least 20 years, and usually those of my “vintage” if you will, of...
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As the Wheels Turn
From a reader: How do you find a backer for your dog/bitch in the show ring? Is it tax deductible for the person who does it. What are the benefits to the backer? What are the pitfalls to the backer? Same with...
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As the Wheels Turn
One of the great aspects of the sport of conformation dog shows is that you can choose your level of involvement. Do you want to earn a championship title? Maybe a Grand Champion? Is your goal a top five dog or a...
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As the Wheels Turn - "Video Killed the Radio Star"
A most interesting comment was made to me at this year’s GWPCA national. I was shooting the breeze with a group of friends, most of whom I’ve known and respected for years. I said, “So, Ed, what’d you see that you liked.”...
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As the Wheels Turn - Under the Big Top
I was introduced to the joy of traveling to National specialties in my teens. The 1985 Clumber Spaniel Club of America National Specialty. Two teenagers and two cranky parents. And you thought the Chevy Chase “Vacation” movie was fictional…. Four people. Four...
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As The Wheels Turn - Living The Dream
“If one dream should fall and break into a thousand pieces, never be afraid to pick one of those pieces up and begin again.” Flavia Weedn Having spent the last several days in the gambling mecca of Nevada, it strikes me that...
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As The Wheels Turn
“As the world implodes around us, war and anger and bombings and terror, I am more and more inclined to watch my puppies run and play, hug my old dog, kiss my honey, find joy and beauty in every place I can....
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As the Wheels Turn - One on One — The Interview Series
This week, we introduce another very exciting component to the column. We’ll be offering occasional interviews with some amazing dog people. These folks offer insight and knowledge that is priceless. Please welcome our first subject, a very successful breeder/owner/handler. Elena is someone...
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As the Wheels Turn - Handling Tips FAQ — Moving With Your Dog
From a reader: “I have mostly shown my own dogs and do okay with it. …. Recently I have been unable to show my dogs because of knee problems… I have a three part question. (First) Do you have tips on running...
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As the Wheels Turn - The Case of Mistaken Identity
From a reader, “You give too much credit to PH’s. It’s the owner/handler/breeders that produce the dogs we take into the ring. We do the research and pick the studs and stay up all hours of the night with the bitch in...
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As the Wheels Turn - Just a dog handler?
Litter evaluator. Puppy kindergarten teacher. Teenager (human or canine) bootcamp drill sergeant. Handling instructor. Breeding plans advisor. Therapist. Veterinary assistant. Stud dog manager. These are just a few of the services handlers provide their clients, in addition to grooming, conditioning and traveling....
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As the Wheels Turn - Looking Forward
“The purpose of Junior Showmanship Competition is twofold: to introduce and encourage Juniors to participate in the sport of dogs; and to provide Juniors with a meaningful competition in which they can learn, practice, and improve in all areas of handling skill...
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As the Wheels Turn - The New Normal
I once got a C in my French class in high school. My father posted the report card on the wall in the dining room for anyone and everyone to see. The original shaming technique. In our home A’s were expected and...
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As The Wheels Turn
“Hey Jude, don’t make it bad, Take a sad song and make it better” Just the other day I ran across a most disturbing article in Dog News. In it, licensed AKC judge James Tomsic assured the readers that pretty much every...
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As the Wheels Turn – Who Is Your Mentor?
I was recently asked this question by Pat Trotter for a Dog News “10 questions” profile. My automatic response was, my mom. She is the one who taught me how to *act* as a breeder… Stand behind your dogs, treat people fairly,...
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As the Wheels Turn: The Seven Virtues Applied to Dog Shows
“In the Catholic catechism, the seven virtues refers to the union of two sets of virtues. The four cardinal virtues, from ancient Greek philosophy, are prudence,justice, temperance (or restraint), and courage (or fortitude). The three theological virtues, from the letters of St....
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As the Wheels Turn – Favorites
In my world, driving, even long distances, is part convenience, part practicality and, a not insignificant part, pleasure. I am called Road Warrior by my friends for the tens of thousands of miles I drive to dog shows each year. I bought...
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As The Wheels Turn – 7 Deadly Sins
The Seven Deadly Sins as Applied to Dog Shows “In the currently recognized version, the sins are usually given as wrath, avarice, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony. Each is a form of Idolatry-of-Self wherein the subjective reigns over the objective.” Wikkipedia…...
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As the Wheels Turn – Nostalgia
It’s easy to identify one’s most important win, or most devastating loss. But, the rest of the memories that rattle around the closet in my head are tougher to sort. They are dusty and blurred around the edges. A little crumpled and...
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As the Wheels Turn
A month in the life… I was writing this column in my head on the way home this week. The last of 28 days on the road. Twelve days of all-breed shows, two days of specialties and group shows, three days of...
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As the Wheels Turn
“Many believe that these principles of sportsmanship are the prime reason why our sport has thrived for over one hundred years.” –AKC Code of Sportsmanship Thirty something years ago I met professional handler Dee Hannah for the first time. She was, is...
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As The Wheels Turn – Yondering
Yondering… Nighttime on Interstate 40, coming in to Albuquerque from the west. It’s pitch black and clear, with a full moon rising. The sky is so dark and the moon is so bright, it appears as if a halogen beam is shining...
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As the Wheels Turn
Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act...
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As the Wheels Turn – Perspective
I’m sitting in the passenger seat. Literally and figuratively, this is not a place I frequent. But this rare opportunity lets me see a whole new side of the road. At the moment, I have an excellent view of the nonexistent shoulder....
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As the Wheels Turn
Imagine…. You’ve heard the old standard about putting the emPHAsis on the wrong sylLAble? It seems a significant percentage of our sport suffers from this ailment. “We make our living off other people’s egos…..” This sage advice was imparted to me by...
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As The Wheels Turn
They’re Watching You True story. I was hurrying to an early ring a couple weeks ago and a total stranger stopped me to ask why I was so mad. I was quite shocked and replied that I wasn’t mad, why would he...
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As The Wheels Turn…
We Are Family… “Some of my peeps may not understand my world. I live sort of like a gypsy. I travel ungodly miles and keep ungodly hours and have an ungodly uproar in my home most of the time. I have a...
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