with Lisa Peterson
March 2007

Dear Lisa: I have a 9-month-old AKC registeredAiredale Terrier and I really want to show her, me being a junior handler. This is something I really want to do, but I just don't know how to start. Do you have any suggestions for me? – Jumpin’ to Join Juniors

Dear Jumpin’: Junior Showmanship is a great way for youngsters from 9 to 18 years old to get involved in the sport of purebred dogs and practice good sportsmanship. Juniors are judged on their ability to handle their dogs under the same guidelines as the conformation ring. The quality of their presentation as a handler, not the dog, is judged.

You have already accomplished the first pre-requisite towards showing by registering your dog with the AKC. The next step is to get your AKC Junior Showmanship Handler Number which automatically enrolls you in the AKC National Junior Program. Call 919-816-3776 and leave your name, address and birth date or e-mail: juniors@akc.org or use our on-line Junior Showmanship Request Form to get started. This program also provides resources such as the e-newsletter AKC Jr. News. And as you progress in your “juniors” career, AKC also offers seminars, clinics and even scholarship and intern opportunities for you.

Training Classes

The best way to start is attend an AKC dog show. After you watch the competition, talk to juniors afterwards to see how they first got involved. You can find a dog show near you by researching our website here.

Before you enter your first show, you will need some training with your dog. Go to our training club locator and find a local club that offers “conformation” handling classes, which will help get you prepared for showing your Airedale Terrier.

Another great resource would be the Airedale Terrier Club of America. Go to their web site and look for breeders and exhibitors in your area who might be willing to mentor you in the breed. Airedales also have specific grooming needs, such as hand stripping, that must be mastered before you enter a dog show. Learning how to show your dog goes beyond knowing how to hold the leash or trotting with your dog. Good luck and have some fun with your new puppy!

Dear Lisa: I have a one-year-old female Papillon that frequently runs from me and sometimes hides under the bed when I go to pick her up.If I take a step towards her she will sprint just out of my reach, stop, turn and look at me. Other times she will run around the coffee table and stop to see which way I am going to come after her.The instant I turn around to walk away from her she is right at my side but I still cannot not touch her. I know this could be very dangerous in certain situations and don’t know how to break her of this. Do you have a solution? – Hide-and-Seek Horrors

Dear Hide-and-Seek: Not being able to approach your dog, have her come when called or get her out from under the bed is already a dangerous situation! Your lack of control over your pet means your dog doesn’t consider you in charge.

It seems like her behavior is a way to get your attention. Without knowing all the details of her early socialization it appears she thinks running away, or around the coffee table, is a game, a really fun game that she can get you to play any time she pleases.

New Behaviors Needed

You will have to start over with her training to change her current behavior. To start with whenever you are in the house walking around or just watching TV, I would suggest you put her on a leash and attach the end to your belt to keep her close to you. Or use a crate when you are unable to supervise her. Either option will be an immediate mechanical way to stop her from running away. Once you have control over her, when she is sitting quietly by your side, praise her. This is the first step in rewarding her for the new behavior you want her to exhibit.

I would also enroll her in an obedience class and begin working on the basics like heel, come, sit, down and stay. Working with a qualified instructor can teach you new, positive ways to get your dog’s attention that won’t send her under the bed but into your lap.

Lisa Peterson, a long-time owner/breeder/handler of Norwegian Elkhounds, is the AKC Director of Club Communications. If you have a question, send it to Lisa at lxp@akc.org and she may select it to be answered here in Ask AKC.

© 2007 The American Kennel Club, Inc.