Dogs and owners learn how to put on the dog at practice show

February 23, 2008|By MARLO BARNHART

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- Kuma had a lot to remember -- keep her tail up, don't look down and, by all means, don't "water" the green carpet.

That's plenty to think about if you are a 5-month-old Akita.

Kuma's owner, JoAnne Buell, had her own concerns as she endeavored to show off her dog to the best advantage at Saturday's Mason and Dixon Kennel Club All Breed Match Show at the Washington County Agricultural Education Center.

But for all the tension of a first showing, Buell and Kuma came away with first prize in the 3- to 6-month-old female working dog category and best of breed. Kuma then placed third in a field of five working dogs for her group.

"I really learned a lot," Buell said.

The match was designed to be a practical exercise -- it was sanctioned by the American Kennel Club (AKC), but no points were earned, Buell said.


Saturday was spent judging the AKC recognized classes of dogs and handing out ribbons. Veteran handlers spent a lot of time mentoring those less familiar with what works and what doesn't during such shows.

"Kuma is the second Akita I have owned," Buell said. Her name means "bear" in Japanese.

Already 60 pounds and quite large for just five months, Kuma also was learning to get along with all kinds and manner of dogs -- big and small, aggressive and docile.

Buell groomed Kuma from time to time, hoping to help her realize she was among friends.

"She was a little unsure of her footing on the mats and she's not used to a lot of noise," Buell said. Kuma kept glancing up at Buell for comfort as she was being led around the show ring.

Buell was learning how to position Kuma for best effect on the judges, and Kuma was getting the hang of standing still while a stranger was going over her body to judge her conformation.

The event continues today, with a Rally-O clinic conducted by Kyle Sibinovic from 10 a.m. to noon. The registration cost is $35.

Rally-O run throughs will begin at 12:30 p.m. and will continue through 3:30 p.m. The cost is $7 for the first run and $5 for the second run with the same dog.

An agility mini-clinic will be conducted by Renee Nappier from 10 a.m. to noon. The class is for beginner dog/handler teams, and dogs must be 6 months old or older. The registration cost is $35.

Obedience run throughs at the novice and open levels will begin at 12:30 p.m. The cost is $7 for the first run and $5 for the second run with the same dog.

All events are open to the public.

"We hope people will come see the fun they can have with their dogs," said Vic Guilmino, president of the Mason and Dixon Kennel Club, an AKC-affiliated all-breed kennel club.

If you go

What: Mason and Dixon Kennel Club Day of Fun for Dogs and Handlers

When: Today, 10 a.m.

Where: Washington County Agricultural Education Center, 7313 Sharpsburg Pike

For a schedule of today's events and fees, go to

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