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Choosing a mentor

Discussion in 'Showing - questions and answers' started by Mama_Zookeeper, Mar 25, 2005.

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  1. Mama_Zookeeper

    Mama_Zookeeper Boxer Insane

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    I am considering leaving my job very soon and was thinking of things I have always wanted to do. One thing that popped up was showing and maybe even breeding one day. Those of you who already do, how did you get your start?

    Did you choose a mentor or did someone choose you?
    How did you go about in the beginning on gathering info, are there any "showing for dummies" type of books out there that are recommended?
    Costs in the first stages?

    I have looked into some of the websites for breeders show their pups in the conformation ring and have not contacted anyone as of yet as I am honestly not sure I will quit this year or not. I am also not sure if contacting them via e-mail will be the "proper" thing to do. I know lots of you guys met breeders at shows. I would like to attend but am concerned over the proper etiquette on trying to find a mentor. I was even considering showing boston terriers instead of boxers, but need advice as both would start the same way I am sure. I would love to hear some feedback from anyone. Thanks!

    Dora
     
  2. SoleilBxrs

    SoleilBxrs Banned

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    appicon YAY Dora! appicon

    i think its wonderful that you want to get into showing! you know, we kind of stumbled onto the idea of showing. We were searching for a good breeder first, before we decided on attempting to get into showing. Anyways, if I was to do it all over. I think emails are a good way to start, letting a breeder know you are interested, and a newbie. This is a good way to set up a meeting time at a local show or club meeting. I would go w/ someone you feel most comfortable with. I would look at their dogs, if you really like a particular breeder's dogs, I would approach them first. But if it doesn't work out w/ them, there will be others.. just be patient and find someone you are most comfortable with, whose dogs are nice, and who has a good reputation in the show community. Good luck! :D keep us updated!

    -Kat
     
  3. Brutus and Amaya's Mom

    Brutus and Amaya's Mom Boxer Insane

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    I would suggest joining the local boxer club and attending some meetings. I learned a lot about showing dogs from watching other dogs and going to club meetings. I made many boxer friends and these people were happy to help me when I began to look for a conformation propect and they are helping me now as I venture out.

    I also learned a lot from my obedience club- a lot of people I show obedinence and agility with also showed conformation and they would talk to me along the way and help.

    Breeders are also a wonderful help but to be honest as a newbie I would not have done as well without others. I really don't feel like I know how to pick the best pedigree and breeder just getting into the sport. I didn't know much about anyones reputation etc. I got lots of feedback on breeders, the inside scoop, pedigree feedback etc from my friends and that really helped me a breeder that I felt good about.
     
  4. Kerry Jane

    Kerry Jane Super Boxer

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    I found my mentor when I got my first show puppy - and it was my breeder - and I was really just lucky to stumble across the right breeder....since at the time I didn't really know what i was looking for.
    I did buy some books on showing - when I get home I will post again to let you know what they are - I did find them helpful. One can also take some conformation classes - you could actually take any of your existing dogs to some classes just to practise and get an idea of what is involved (even if you won't be showing these dogs).

    Unfortunately, I know you don't have a local boxer club near you...I don't either (sigh)! I would suggest that emailing local breeders and then meeting them at shows is a good way to go. There is a big show coming up in San Antonio July 13 -17. If you have emailed/talked to some breeders prior to that then you could maybe plan to meet them at the show.
    To be honest, in this area (Texas) there aren't a lot of breeders who also show their dogs so be clear on what you are looking for. If you really want to get into showing then I would say that it is important to find someone who also shows their dogs - and whom you have seen at shows - and are impressed with the job that they do (I say this because I know a breeder in your area who shows her dogs but does a terrible job at it). Obviously one way to tell whether someone is good is to ask about their dog's successes. There will also be breeders at shows who aren't showing their dogs - professional handlers are - but they also have a lot to give. Just by going to shows and talking to people there you will also probably be able to find out a lot/get a lot of pointers.

    Costs for me where -
    1. Show Puppy - major expense but worth every penny. I would say that you need to find the best dog that you possibly can because that will play a major part in your being able to show and win.
    2. Conformation Classes (these are not a necessity but they gave me confidence).
    3. Hotel/Show Entry Fees - these add up over time.

    Probably the more breeders you meet and talk to, and the more shows you go to, the more successful you will be in finding the right mentor.

    Good luck in your search! I have to say that is it VERY addictive when you start showing....

    Kerry
     
  5. Brutus and Amaya's Mom

    Brutus and Amaya's Mom Boxer Insane

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    How far away would the Dallas boxer club be? You could always start there with your search for a good breeder?
     
  6. abby's mum

    abby's mum Super Boxer

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    Just to add to the great advice above. I would research and then call not email breeders. All that I have spoke to only respond to calls as they get many, many emails and most are not worth there time responding as well as there aren't enough hours in the day. You also can get a sense of these people through there voice/responses then through email (more personal). That is just my 2 cents.
     
  7. Mama_Zookeeper

    Mama_Zookeeper Boxer Insane

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    Thank You All! I did look into clubs but it appears the closest is the BlueBonnet Boxer Club and it is not close enough to be much help.

    I did find a link on a post from Julie M our showtime mentor here on BW and it had several Texas breeders. I did see the one in the San Antonio area but have not responded as the web site has not been updated for some time. Kerry Jane I think this is the one you spoke of and I have to say the head on their main male show dog leaves much to be desired. Today I went to Barnes & Nobles to pick up a gift for one of the doctors I work with and saw a book in the pet section on showing in general, but it really seemed simplified and more common sense than fact.

    I know for sure that if I jump in the pool I want to start out with a male because I am truly not ready to deal with a unspayed bitch. I will most definitely look into the show here in San Antonio in July (thanks a bunch :) )
    Thanks also for the advice on calling instead of e-mails. I kind of wondered about e-mails not feeling personal enough.

    The breeder I got Rocky from was not a highly successful one, though my Rocky is beautiful in my eyes. She is currently not showing any dogs. Last year her husband and Romeo her main dog & Rocky's father died. She adopted out the females she had and now only has her oldest female dog who is a therapy dog. I have talked to her in the past, but she has not had much interest in talking shop about showing, etc.

    Let me ask you guys, how long do you leave your dogs unspayed/neutered? Is there an age where they can no longer be shown and wouldn't this limit their desirability to be bred? I know females can only have so many litters in a lifetime (3 or 4?) but am wondering about the males.

    Do any of you guys show other breeds besides boxers?
    Is it easier to show a smaller breed of dog than a larger one?
    How competative is the boxer group?
    I have read some of the posts in this section and it seems that most recommend or prefer a "plain" rather than a flashy dog to begin with, why?

    Again thanks for all my answering all my questions!

    Dora
     
  8. Draymia

    Draymia BW Adviser<br><img src="/forums/images/modpaw.gif"

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    JMO, I screen all of my calls and don't bother picking up if I don't know someone. I too get many, many emails and to be honest, I delete most of them. Most come from my webpage asking about puppies, when my page says in big bold words that I don't have any pups and won't for awhile and refers them to a good site listing many responsible breeders. :) I try to help out people that seem sincere and will write them back. What I really love are the people who leave a message on my answering machine and expect me to call long distance on my bill. :D Must be the thought that everyone has cell phones with free minutes?

    Anyway, to answer your questions.

    1. I just have boxers, but have given thought to another breed, but not yet.

    2. You don't have to run as fast with a smaller dog. :D But, showing is still about the same.

    3. The boxer ring is extremely competitive. I believe it has to be just about the most difficult ring there is.

    4. I wouldn't say you should start with a plain. They are harder to win with, but it is changing. Plains won't produce the whites like a flashy one will. A good show potential male will be easier to get than a female. Most breeders want to keep that great bitch and don't really need the males as much. So if you are just beginning, I would give some serious thought to getting a male.

    Male competition is usually not quite as hard, since many of the serious breeders keep those gorgeous girls. ;)
     
  9. Brutus and Amaya's Mom

    Brutus and Amaya's Mom Boxer Insane

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    For good books that address specific show topics you need to go to some internet sites. I personally love Dogwise.com- they have great books for agility and obedience and I bought some conformation books there recently. Amazon.com also carries some books on conformation- Barnes and Nobles tends to carry books for the pet public only.

    I would say around here most people show a few years and if they decide the dog will probably not finish they spay or neuter. I do know one bitch that finished at age 4.

    Like Draymia said boxers are COMPETITIVE. For a 3 pt major in bitches in my area you need 24 bitches for a 3 point major. I have a friend that shows Tervs and she needs 8 for 3 points! Also- boxers are handled which means that you will compete with handlers in the ring upping the competition. Tervs are required to be owner handled!
     
  10. Kerry Jane

    Kerry Jane Super Boxer

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    I would recommend starting out with the best flashy dog that you can find. Flashy is going to be easier to finish than a plain - and being a novice you need all of the help you can get.

    Boxers are VERY competitive! However, it is obviously still possible for us owner handlers to finish our dogs - with the right skills and the right dog (very important). I was at a BIG show in Fort Worth this weekend (over 70 boxers) - I was showing Star in BOB, and there were maybe 4 other owner-handlers, my breeder was there with 4 dogs, and everyone else was professionals. Sounds rather intimidating, but it need not be. My breeder put a major on Star's brother this weekend - and last weekend at a big show in Houston, got majors on his dogs 2 days - and he is not a professional.

    I think that one has to honestly assess one's skills and also one's dog. I know 2 other girls who are trying to show their dogs - one's dog is not bad but she is just terrible in the ring, and the other has passable handling skills but her dog is terrible. In both cases I would recommend they turn to a professional. So, as a novice starting out it would be critical to get a really good dog, and then really assess your skills in the ring - one good way of doing this is to have someone video tape your performance and in this way you can learn from any mistakes you made.

    Since you don't have a boxer club nearby what about finding a local kennel club to join. Even though this is not boxer specific this would be a good opportunity to get to know breeders in your area.
     
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