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Show Dog Whisperer

THE EXCELLENT facilities at the Kennel Club Building at Stoneleigh provided the setting for Liz Dunhill’s recent Show Dog Whisperer one-day handling seminar. Among the twenty dogs and handlers attending plus spectators were both experienced and novice handlers all wishing to improve their skills in the ring, as well as those who were there to combat the behavioural problems of their particular dogs.

The seminar began with coffee and biscuits and an introduction from Liz - introducing Hannah Rose, the former Top Junior Handler 2005 and winner of the YKC Stakes in 2009 - who was helping Liz with the training programme. Liz outlined the day’s activities, emphasising her technique for improving handling, with the main objective of ‘tweaking’ good handlers’ abilities and teaching the beginners the first steps to improving their handling.

Liz also pointed out the seminar was taking on board the Kennel Club’s directives concerning handling with care and kindness, and the concept of getting the dogs to enjoy their showing - happy handlers with happy fun loving dogs. During this introduction she also spoke of a new product for re-hydration for dogs: SYNERGO, an isotonic electrolyte for dogs, a free sample of which was given to each participant, and also a free sample of Purina Pro Plan.

Participants were then asked to bring their dogs into the middle of the room and stand them exactly as they would at a show. With various breeds including several Rottweilers, two Rhodesian Ridgebacks, two Australian Cattle Dogs, two Boxers, a Keeshond, a Bernese Mountain Dog, a Soft Coated Wheaten, a Greyhound, a Beagle and my Löwchen, many of the Groups were covered and each one posed a different approach for Liz’s skills.

Once Liz had evaluated the ability of each handler, a one-to-one session was held with each dog. This more than tested Liz’s skills and she proved time after time that her approach was working - a real difference was seen in the handling skills of each owner - and also in the behaviour of the dogs. Each and every participant spent between 15 and 25 minutes with Liz - during which she explained to the audience what she was doing and why. The audience, although not directly involved in the one-to-one, was given a detailed explanation of her technique and everyone saw a marked improvement in each of their fellow participants’ performance and hopefully all they learnt would be useful to them with future dogs they may have problems with.

Following the one-to-one Liz handed each owner over to Hannah who continued to practise the procedure Liz had put into place, both re-training the dogs and also re-training the owners. Simple changes like a different collar, length of lead, to different ways of standing the dog, and re-inforcing good behaviour were all covered in this session; improvements were seen by everyone and the owners were all very impressed with what they had gained from the experience.
Lunch was followed by further ring training exercises, some held outside on the well kept lawns and then back inside, giving every dog and owner the benefit of both inside and outside experience with their dog.

Whatever your level of expertise is, everyone should take the opportunity to attend one of Liz’s seminars; it is an invaluable opportunity to learn from someone so knowledgeable who has won at the top and to see for yourself the difference that this kind of training can make to the dog show experience.

The next Dog Show Whisperer event will be held at Stoneleigh in June. For more information contact Liz on 01777 860852 or email or watch for her adverts exclusively in OUR DOGS.

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