What I’ve Learned As a Novice – My 3rd Year in Dog Showing (Caution: this is my rant, and I can rant if I want to)

I like to kind of take a nice, solid look of all the things I learn over the years. It’s kind of interesting to go back and think a little. My first year as a novice again in dog showing, I learned a lot. But, I was positive; oh so positive! My perception is a little different now I suppose…so, here is what I have learned in my first few years as a novice.


1. People that have the most unfortunate dogs, seem to love to do to most critiquing. This is rather unfortunate for me, and disheartening, because as a novice, you kind of take everything in a little bit. Well, you would like to. Though I do appreciate good, honest feedback from a few people, just because I am a novice does not mean I want everyone’s opinion. Did I ask for your opinion? No? Then please don’t confuse me, because I would like to think that people that are so confidant in what they are saying about hocks and shoulders know what they are talking about, but that is rarely the case. And by rarely, I mean never. Well, 99.9% to be fair.

2. High School to the power of infinity; Dog showing is far worse than high school ever was. I actually had a rather good high school experience. Countless times I have seen people congratulate someone on a win (well, that is pretty rare, too), and then immediately go talk about how crappy that person’s dog is to someone else. And don’t even get me started on social media aspect of people complaining….

3. If you don’t win, people will think your dog is crappy. If you do win, people will think you AND your dog are crappy.
Dog show people are jealous creatures. I get it, we’re all in it to win it, but you don’t have to use the internet to made weird/rude comments that obviously pertain to someone else’s win. I mean, are dog show people secretly just a bunch of babies? Did the universe somehow collect all the immature souls and bring them together to one sport so they could have little baby tantrums together when their dogs don’t win? I’ve been bummed or stressed at times when I’ve lost, sure. Everything has their moments. But, does it have to be a big ordeal that you hear about show after show after show?

As a novice, you either have a bunch of people that think it’s “cute” that you’re showing dogs, or a bunch of people that think you don’t know what you’re doing. Guess what? I’m a novice, and I don’t know what I’m doing. I am doing something called “learning” (definition: the acquisition of knowledge or skills through experience, study, or by being taught). So please point your little, judgey eyes in someone else’s direction. Thanks.

4. People like to say they want to have new people in the breed, but I can’t say that I believe that is true in any way, shape or form. Most people seem to love to discuss how novice people don’t know this or that, and how their dogs aren’t very good, etc. We all start somewhere, and apparently some of them forget they did too.

5. People will literally steal dogs from each other. Literally. Steal. How sad is that?

6. And finally, people will be very kind and give you advice, and mentor you every step of the way…. when there’s something in it for them. If you are going to house a dog for them, show a dog for them, lease a dog to them, etc, then there is a “vested interest.” If that is not there, people seem to really not care so much at all about you or your dogs. When people do have a vested interest, they are usually pretty supportive, but sometimes not even then! Novices NEED their breeders to help them learn and understand their dogs pedigrees, where they came from, and how they will grow. Without this, it just makes things very challenging, especially when you do want to learn. 

When I was a 10 year old girl, I loved showing dogs. I never had a good show dog, of course, but I enjoyed it anyway. I enjoyed training in obedience. I absolutely adored everything about it. 20 years later as an adult, when I am actually trying to establish myself in a hobby that used to be fun for me, the experience has been so profoundly different that it has made me want to turn back around and go back where I came from. Dog shows aren’t fun anymore, they’re stressful and sometimes sad. I’ve spent the past few years investing in this hobby, and I’m kind of left wondering why. I wish that people wouldn’t judge novices so harshly or treat them so rudely when they have nice wins. This isn’t Game of Thrones, people. No one is going to lose their heads here……. 🙂

About Nurse for Wear

I am a Pediatric Nurse, and Clinical Assistant Professor in Chicago. My areas of interest in research are ADHD in pediatric patients and postpartum depression. I am a mother of 3, and by nature, I am an advocate. My hobbies include reading, copious amounts of laundry and successfully doing things people told me I would be able to accomplish.
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2 Responses to What I’ve Learned As a Novice – My 3rd Year in Dog Showing (Caution: this is my rant, and I can rant if I want to)

  1. Shelley says:

    Unfortunately too much of what you have said is true. It is hard sometimes to bite my tongue when I read or hear some of the comments out there. Twenty-five years in the breed has taught me a lot – some good and some bad. I’d like to think that I am one of the people that new folks can come to in order to get some help.

    Remember that if people are talking behind your back, it means that you are in front of them 🙂

  2. Olga Dorokhova says:

    Oh.My.Goodness!!! Who on earth are you showing with out there!?!? I’m a novice with Cardis as well (my first boy is 3yrs old now, we are working on his GCH, my girl is on her way to her CH.) , but I’ve been heavily involved in GSDs since 1998….the number 1 lesson that I’ve learned over the years is that you can’t let others take away your happy, don’t play into the high school games and just go to have a good time! Shows should be fun, the opinions of others should weigh a lot less than your own, never go with the anticipation of placing …always go to do your best and let your dog(s) shine in their own way. I can tell you from experience (mostly GSD experience, but none the less) you will learn more making your own opinions, handling your own dogs and realizing the faults within your dogs.

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