The 2011 AKC/Eukanuba National Championship, AKC National Obedience Invitational and AKC Agility Invitational featured nearly 5,000 dogs, hundreds of vendors, and tons of fun for the whole family in Orlando, Florida 17th and 18th December 2011.
This invitation-only event showcases some of the best dogs in the world and through a series of interviews Examiner readers will have an opportunity to “meet” some of the competitors.
Examiner:How did you get started in dogs?
Sherry Geurts: I have always been an animal lover and loved the dogs I had has a kid and taught them all kinds of fun tricks. When I was raising my sons, the youngest always wanted a dog so we got him a cocker spaniel. I would watch dog shows on TV and think about how neat it would be to do that someday.
Examiner:How did you decide on the breed that you currently have?
Sherry Geurts: When I started dating my husband in 2000, he wanted a chocolate Lab. I was never fond of labs, but honestly had not spent much time with them. I looked for a couple of years and found a "cheap" puppy from a family that bred their dogs; just to breed them. She was AKC registered but not a very good specimen of the breed. She does not have a good temperament and of course has hip dysplasia. I then started visiting on an online lab forum and found a "show potential" puppy from someone that also was on the forum. I bought her but never did show her. I did not have the confidence to go into the ring. I had her clearances done and bred her even though I had not competed with her in any venue. She blessed me with three awesome litters. Spending time with a well-bred Labrador is enough to make anyone fall in love with the breed.
Examiner: What's the one thing you know now that you wish you knew when you were starting in dogs?
Sherry Geurts: To be more aware of health issues, and to network and not be in a hurry to get that adorable puppy.
Examiner:What is the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Sherry Geurts: To do what you know is the right thing to do, be honest, loyal and not do anything to harm your respective breed in any way.
Examiner: What is your biggest regret?
Sherry Geurts: Breeding without competing in some sort of venue with my foundation bitch. Also burning out my first bred by girl by taking her to too many handling classes and being too nervous while showing. It truly goes down the lead to the dog!
Examiner: What is your biggest accomplishment?
Sherry Geurts: Finishing my girl Natalie's (GRCH CH Hayshaker Cole In Yer Stockin TDI CGC) Grand Championship myself. I put a handler on her a few times when getting her championship but I decided to try to finish her Grand Championship myself and I did.
Examiner: What does going to the AKC Eukanuba National Championship mean to you?
Sherry Geurts: Having a dog I bred be invited to Eukanuba was a wonderful feeling knowing I made good breeding decisions and believed in my dog and myself when in the ring on my journey to Eukanuba.
Examiner: What makes the AKC Eukanuba National Championship different than any other dog shows for you and your dogs?
Sherry Geurts: I was very proud to showcase my bred-by girl. Several international Labrador breeders came up to me and visited about Natalie at ringside, and took pictures of her as well. Competing against some of the best dogs in the breed was a great honor and it also gave me the chance to see dogs in the flesh that I had only read about or saw pictures of.
Examiner: If you could leave a note on the kitchen table for future generations what would it say?
Sherry Geurts: Have fun and make sure your dog is having fun in the ring! Gain trust of your fellow breeders and follow your dreams. Listen to your gut feelings when making decisions and do not let anyone persuade you to do something you are not comfortable doing within your program. Take the downfalls as learning tools, be strong, be proud and treat folks how you want to be treated. Do not get caught up in the rumor mill. If you want to know something about a dog, call the breeder/owner and get the facts straight from them. Expand your horizons and listen intently.
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