Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Rhode Island
Submit Photo: 1
Photo Submissions 3 Times in 3 Posts
I am not a professional handler, but I am frequently an agent (showing other people's dogs for a fee) and have been for years. I learned in Juniors and went from there, worked for handlers, but am not a member of any reg'd handler programs.
That being said, I have been extremely successful finishing dogs in several breeds, including lots and lots of Havanese. I've been grooming & training (for show and for performance) dogs for pushing 15 years and have been showing for 12. People pay me for my grooming, training, handling skills, and my advice on where and when to enter based on what I have learned of judge's preferences (big, small, pretty head, nice side gait). Most of my clients are also owner-handlers, and either something came up in their life and they can't just show a dog right now but would like it finished, or they have a bit of a "problem child" who needed some outside assistance.
The way I see it - no one would ever pay good $$ for something they could do just as well themselves.
If you want to compete with "the pros" then you not only have to have a quality dog (not be kennel blind) but have to groom and train and present dogs like it's your job - because that is what they are doing! Sometimes dirty rotten politics win the day - for sure that happens everywhere.
Nothing makes me more insane than an owner handler that just complains "you can't beat the pros" instead of trying to figure out how to improve - be it your grooming, training, handling, the quality of your dog, or all of the above. Some people will probably say I am being naive, but - I do it all the time, and I've never been in a magazine ad. I have, however, worked my butt off.
Definitely not saying anyone in this post is complaining like that!! But I see it quite a lot in many breeds and it makes me nuts. Just my perspective.
~Kat, Clover, CDX RN NA NAJ, & AKC/UKC Ch. William
People in the dog show world know me as Karen, but the rest of the world knows me & I will introduce myself as Kat... I've been showing dogs longer than I've had the nickname, and the nickname is not new!