Dog Show Withdrawal
By: Jessica Freni
Unless you’re in Florida, chances are you’re mired in Corona show drought. So, as you and your dogs combat mounting boredom and withdrawals, what can you do? It’s time to get creative and get busy!
Be a Purebred ally.
- Create a social media account for your kennel, breeding program or show dog, and update it frequently, use hashtags to promote visibility. Especially popular platforms include Instagram and TikTok, these are free to use, user friendly and can reach young demographics introducing them to purebred dogs. These platforms are saturated with poorly bred dogs, fad colors, and designer gimmicks with huge devoted followings due, in not a small part, to lack of content from well-bred dogs from Preservation Breeders. Hint: in addition to win pics, show pictures and some breed history/education focus on “normal dog” pictures that are “cute”, silly, costumed, etc., and showing that purebred dogs aren’t just for show. This helps with appeal to the pet public! Look at popular dog influencers and mimic their content trends and accounts.
- Be accessible. Puppy inquiries across breeds are at an all time high. Yes, some of these are impulse or poor candidates for puppy homes, but there is opportunity for education always, even if to suggest a better suited breed or refer to breed parent clubs. Less reputable breeders are masters of marketing, they are accessible, they are easy to find and easy to reach. Set up an auto-reply on voicemail, email or via Facebook pages/messenger so people feel heard. One of the biggest complaints about show breeders from the pet public is feeling unheard that they never got a call/email/message back at all. You can always advocate for purebred ownership, educate on how to find other breeders, or offer recommendations even if you do not match them to your puppy for whatever reason. Take advantage of AKC Marketplace or research programs like GoodDog.com even if you do not have puppy availability, “bad” breeders are highly visible, why should good families have to scour to find a reputable one (bonus Breeders of Merit get priority on AKC Marketplace and GoodDog.com offers credits towards your submitted health tests!). Dismiss with the old mentality of “good breeders don’t have to advertise”, you do not have to sell puppies online, but everyone starts with social media and the internet as a resource, especially in the current climate. There are also opportunities to use Zoom or social media (Facebook live or Instagram live) for educational purposes like grooming instruction, evaluations, mentorship, classes, kennel tours, whelping boxes/litter live views or interviews!
- Breed! Check with your vet regarding availability of services. However, the pet public is looking for dogs, shows are on hiatus, many people are working from home it is a great opportunity to turn attention to breeding programs. While breeding the culmination of careful planning, it is a unique opportunity to reconnect with the pet public and turn them back towards falling in love with purebred dogs by welcoming one into their home. With great programs like Puppy Culture and Avidog, socialization and enrichment can be balanced and incorporated, even during the ongoing pandemic. Zoom is a great opportunity to connect with and interview new or prospective puppy families. With a great reduction in the show schedule, new opportunities have become available with regards to puppy nannies and transport via handlers.
- Earn titles! AKC has an ever-expanding collection of titles you can earn safely social distancing or isolated at home while you wait to get back out to earn the championship, it’s a great opportunity to earn some titles on the other end. Currently, AKC offers at-home titles by video submission in trick dog, home manners, rally and even obedience. A full list of available titles and requirements are available online as well as evaluators.