story of an OWNER/HANDLER and TOP BILL"
decided she would like to owner handle her
beautiful show dog. They have been working
hard to enter into this new exciting
venture. Now the time feels right to enter
The first show weekend arrives and O/H has
been busy all week, being careful not to
cram all of her preparations into the night
before the show, as trying to keep this
venture as stress free and relaxing as
possible for her and her dog.
O/H arrives at the show grounds and has
planned her trip so she has at least an hour
before the scheduled show time to exercise
her dog and make sure he is relaxed and
comfortable. Then O/H proceeds to ringside
to observe the judge officiating and to
become aware of his ring procedure. Checking
the catalog she realizes that TOP BILL, the
Professional Handler, is entered and has a
dog in her class. A great urge to panic
comes over O/H but she steps back and thinks
through the situation. O/H tells herself, I
have worked hard in training, conditioning
and educating myself and YES I can do this.
It is time. The steward is calling
O/H’s class into the ring. Even though Top
Bill is in the same class O/H walks into the
ring happy, confident, and maintains a GREAT
attitude because she is aware any emotion
she is feeling can affect her dog’s
performance. The judge has examined O/H’s
dog and she is feeling wonderful about her
dog's performance. While the other dogs in
the class are being judged, O/H is still
keeping herself aware of everything going
on. Also, possibly the judge could be
taking quick glances at the end of the line
where she is now, so she keeps her dog alert
and happy so hopefully it will present a good picture
if the judge should glance her way.
Time for the class placements and O/H wins
2nd in a class of 6 and Top Bill wins 1st.
Is O/H disappointed..... yes, but that does
not stop her from saying congrats to Top
Bill, Great class win!
As O/H leaves the ring she still has a good
feeling that her dog’s performance was good
and that they were a great team out there
and it was a wonderful experience. Her
friend however, came rushing up to her,
telling her that it was a shame she got beat
by Top Bill and not the dog he was handling.
That opinion does not influence O/H at all,
in fact she told her friend she was pleased
with her performance, that tomorrow is
another day and asks her friend to join her
ringside to watch the rest of the judging.
As O/H wanted to take in everything she
could and especially to watch Top Bill and
the other Professionals out there, observing
their handling techniques, stacking, moving,
and even how the handlers present
themselves. O/H knows that you can always
I have written the story of O/H and Top Bill
to hopefully bring across the point that entering the
dog show world can be a positive, fun,
adventure for everyone. It is like any sport
with all the different players, but it is what you make of
it and the willingness to keep learning and
setting goals for yourself. Owner Handlers
are a very important part of the dog shows;
always remember, it is a competition, and
yes, we have our off days but when you win
it is the best feeling there is.
I have finished four Great Danes owner handled,
including handling my dog to WD at the 1996
GDCA National, pointed some others and also have finished 3 Vizslas . It is great and
yes, I have Top Bill show my dogs too. And
an interesting twist is, with Top Bill on my
dogs they sometimes have been beaten by
There will always be the Top Bill out there
in the ring with the Owner Handler but with
education, good sportsmanship, a great
attitude, and respect it can be fun and a
wonderful experience for everyone involved.
Good Luck to all of the Owner Handlers and
Top Bills out there in 2006. Lets all have a
Great time and learn from each other and
keep our sport enjoyable and rewarding.