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Kindness Is Contagious

Now that Spring has sprung and summer is fast approaching, more and more spectators will have the chance to make their way to a dog show. As dog fanciers, it’s our job to be kind and welcome the visitors with open arms and open minds.

I know the expression, “Easier said than done,” may apply here for many of us. It’s not because we’re not willing to assist spectators who may want to learn more about our sport, it’s simply because many of us keep ourselves very busy at shows.


Let’s not forget that dog shows can be fun even when we’re very busy or the weather doesn’t exactly cooperate.

Whether you’re a breeder/owner-handler at a local show with multiple dogs, a professional handler with a whole string of dogs, a junior handler working hard to gain wins to qualify for the most prestigious events or an assistant learning and growing through working with others, the dog show world is – bottom line – a fast-paced world.

But it is Spring, and sometimes we all have to stop and smell the roses, so to speak.

Some shows will attract more spectators than others, depending on the location and show times. Many people tend to come out to big shows in popular places, but there are also a few shows that start at later hours in the day that seem to attract a bigger audience.

Some Group shows even start in the evening. For spectators and exhibitors who have to work during the day, these shows are especially welcomed. In fact, the change of pace for some fanciers is a nice option.

For example, nothing stopped these fanciers from attending a recent Group show in New Jersey that started at 6 p.m….


Handlers line up their Old English Sheepdogs at an evening Group show.

All of us are responsible for welcoming newcomers and for treating other exhibitors with respect. Being kind to those who may be learning about our sport will increase our own happiness, and it might even put a smile on our faces.

Kindness is contagious. So let’s all do ourselves and everyone else in the community a favor and take the time to help spectators who are eager to learn more about purebred dogs!

P.S. Dogs Freakin Rule!

Written by

Kayla Bertagnolli is a 23-year-old from Ogden, UT, who's been involved in the dog show world her whole life. A former junior handler who learned about breeding Beagles from her mother Leah, she assisted several professional handlers and is currently working to become a Junior Showmanship judge. Kayla is passionate about photography and writes the twice-weekly blog, DFR. She plans to continue breeding and showing, and expects to stay involved in dogs "for life!"
  • Judi McMahon April 4, 2013 at 11:11 AM

    In addition to Kayla’s comments about it being fun to welcome newcomers, it is a great way to raise public awareness about the positive aspects of owning purebred dogs and the benefits of responsible dog ownership! In CA, we regularly schedule “tours” for spectators who want to know what is really going on, and it gives those of us who are involved in fighting anti-animal legislation a good opportunity to “chat” with them as we conduct a tour of the dog show. We try to get contact info so we can add them to our list of folks to contact when we need help in convincing legislators that we are the “good guys”.

  • lori c-c
    Lori Chapek-Carleton April 4, 2013 at 11:35 PM

    Good article, and good reminders that we need to raise public awareness of our hobby, and try to recruit new fanciers to the fold. Dog breeders are NOT the enemy, and without us, there wouldn’t be purebred dogs. We should be welcoming spectators, be willing to answer their questions, welcome them as observers, and invite them to join our all-breed or breed clubs. Clubs should be sending out press releases of upcoming shows and trials, and recruit local politicians and news personalities to be presenters at shows.

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