• You must have a good dog.
  • Investigate the handler carefully. This is someone you are trusting with the life of your dog. How will your dog live while in their possession? Does the handler have kennel help? What seems to be these people's attitude towards the dogs? Talk to some of their clients. Is this handler experienced and successful with your breed of dog?
  • AKC licenses handlers. There is also a Professional Handlers Association that offer some assurance.
  • Ask the handler to appraise your dog and it's chance of success. Honesty is crucial. This is not the time to be shy about money - and overinflated promises could cause a serious waste of your money. Expect a written contract with your handler and itemized expenses. Is your dog the only dog of that breed that the handler is showing? How many more or other dogs in the same Group? What priority will your dog have - at the Class level, the Breed level, the Group level? Who will groom and show your dog? Make sure you understand exactly.
  • An honest, experienced, successful handler will be able to present your dog well, providing maximum chance of success. A handler will go to more shows than you can, providing more chances of success.
  • The dog may finish it's Championship sooner with the handler than with you as a beginning exhibitor. Depending on circumstances, it might or might not be cheaper.
  • A good handler can be the answer for someone who lacks experience, knowledge, or the ability to travel.
  • If your dog isn't winning after 10 shows, stop until you find out why not.
  • Cost: entry fee, handler fee(s) which may include shipping, grooming, board, a portion of travel expenses in addition to the actual handling fee.
More information is available at American Kennel Club website


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©Idaho Capital City Kennel Club ~ 2012