WSS Hands-On Handling
Chances are good that the dog was better presented than yours in the small amount of time the handler had to show the judge. The handler knew the dog's good and weak points and knew what to emphasize and what to minimize. I remember one time when Meghen Bassel, then Riese, came out of the Juniors ring with the second place ribbon. We all tried to tell her that she had done a good job and should be pleased. Meghen sort of shrugged and replied, "I was out-cuted". Face it...most of us are not going to out-cute Meghen, so learning how to present our dogs properly is our only recourse. Unfortunately, none of us has the perfect dog; fortunately, handling skills can help minimize that fact.
The following article will attempt to illustrate some handling techniques I have learned or observed over the past many years. For a light touch I have recreated some … um… unique presentation styles I have seen in the Welsh Springer ring at actual point shows. Let me state now, that in no way do I even pretend that I am a perfect handler. I have, however, been able to compete relatively successfully against professional handlers, (as have many others in our breed), and I have been fortunate to have had/have some good dogs. In the show world, an average dog presented well can often beat a better dog poorly presented. A good dog presented well is hard to beat. Several good dogs all presented well makes competition fun.
I want to thank the dogs and handlers who put up with the pokes and prods, settings and resetting that were needed for this article. Good humor and wagging tails kept the sessions relatively cool in the steamy Atlanta photo shoots. Okay… let's get started.
When you think of a Welsh springer, do you think of:
(Would that be Dromedary?)