This year was the 138th Westminster Kennel Dog Club Show. I attended on the second night of the show courtesy of the nice folks at STAINMASTER PetProtect, who were debuting their latest carpet which they say is more pet friendly than most.
Tuesday nights’ competition included the junior showmanship competition, which judge’s young handlers solely on their skills working with the dogs independent of the qualities or breed of the dog handled. Any competition that looks at how well we interact with our dogs is a winner in my book; I would have given them all the scholarship prize money.
The second night of the show also featured the Best of Show Finale while the Working Group, Sporting Group and Terrier Group competed each for their very own “best of.” Matisse, a Portuguese Water Dog, won the Working Group. Riley, an Irish Water Spaniel, won the sporting group. And Sky, a Wire Fox Terrier, won the terrier group. Sky, formally known as “GCH Afterall Painting the Sky”, went on to win Best of Show.
Much of New York looks forward to this dog show every year. The media loves this show almost as much as we do. It’s virtually impossible not to find a great picture of a dog or a great handler-dog story or two or three. From the show ring to the behind the scenes stories, all are great teaching points for my classes in the beginning of a dreary and cold month; whether it’s to illustrate breed standard to how to keep a dogs attention on what you are asking for. The crowd loves this show too, while the judges may be checking conformation, crowd favorites are all about pure dog appeal. All those “awwwws” are about how very, very much we love our dogs. And with a February that has been even harder this year than most-a show that is all about happy, healthy dogs with the people that keep them that way is a much needed feel good event.
Frania Shelley-Grielen is an animal behaviorist. She consults and trains in NYC, for more information or to contact her visit http://www.animalbehaviorist.us