From the May 2019 Issue of ShowSight. Click to subscribe. Pictured above: "A National Specialty often has delightful surprises—this one was no different. Look what I found at PCA! I don’t know who it is, but she’s in beautiful cords. Made me want another Mini!"
I still have more questions than answers but something experience has taught me is that you may have an ideal but it’s seldom the norm—there’s just too much variation for only one way to be “right.”
Take parenting styles for instance. Show me a dozen families and I’ll show you a dozen different parenting styles. Everyone has to adapt for their own unique lifestyle.
I recently watched a video showing a litter of Golden puppies loose in a room and then their mother being put into the room with them. Bedlam ensued when the puppies tried to nurse, the mom said no and efficiently put each one in its place. There was a lot of noise but no bloodshed, no one got hurt and everyone settled down. I didn’t think one way or the other about the video but the comments have been fascinating! “The puppies are weaned she shouldn’t be in with them”, “It’s not fair that she has no escape route”, and on and on. Look, I get it...it’s not your ideal way to raise a litter—that’s fine but it’s not the only way to raise a litter so we need to quit slamming others. We need to quit being so self-righteous and judgmental. When did we lose common sense?
We recently had a discussion about how grooming can enhance—or detract from—a dog in the ring. This is why you must really get your hands on coated dogs. This dog is standing naturally in all 3 pictures. The first picture is untrimmed, the second is half trimmed and the third is fully trimmed. Don’t let a trim fool you!
Below (L-R) Coat Untrimmed, Coat half trimmed, Coat fully trimmed
Carol Paragon remarks “What a difference the trim makes! The dog still is the same, but looks much better. Thank you for sharing Michelle Scott. This one is a real eye opener! Things should be fixed in the whelp box, but if you send a dog to a skilled handler and groomer, a big visual difference can be made.”
A National Specialty often has delightful surprises—this one was no different. Look what I found at PCA (pictured at top of page)! I don’t know who it is but she’s in beautiful cords. Made me want another Mini!
I also have a fondness for cords. Cords are just hair and hair is not heavy, but wet hair apparently is. I cut off a handful of cords and weighed them dry and then completely soaked them, squeezed the excess water out of them and then weighed the wet cords. Even I’m surprised that there was that great a difference!
So back to common sense, and separating mother from litter. I keep my moms with their puppies usually until the pups go to their new homes (at around 10 weeks). The puppies go out with all of my house dogs right from the start. My adults do a much better job of teaching social behaviour than I can. This works for me, no one else has to do it the same way.
Idealism and reality are seldom the same. Hold onto your ideals but understand that your way isn’t the only way. Be adaptable, open-minded, understanding and kind.
Michelle Scott grew up with Irish Setters and bred Lakeland Terriers and Standard Poodles. She was a successful professional handler for many years and is now an all-breed conformation judge. Michelle enjoys gardening, reading, painting, and the culinary arts. She lives near Guelph, Ontario, Canada.
by Michelle scott