As I watch new people come to poms, I see them making the same mistakes I did in starting. I see the false starts and the dashed hopes and sense the frustration that I had when I started to look for my first show dog. I have a unique perspective since I am close enough to remember the beginning and enough along to see why people deal with newcomers the way they do.
I have seen discussions on how to get a good start and the advice is "First you get a wonderful, free whelping show bitch who can also be a great brood and by the way, make sure she has a great pedigree." This is about as unrealistic as the Saturday Night Live routine about how to get rich "First you get a million dollars." At the time I started, I tried to find the same thing and no one would sell one to me. After a few years in poms, I now know why. There is no magic advice here, only the suggestion that you have to be honorable, a good sportsman and have the determination to carry on in the face of adversity.
So lets start to work on how to achieve your goals.
WHAT IS YOUR GOAL?
Sounds simple, but it is not. Do you want to show exclusively? Do you want to breed? Do you want to have a beloved pet who is a Champion? Can you afford a handler? You need to think about this before you begin. And most important, do you have the drive and commitment to stay with it? The biggest frustration is to trust someone with a show hopeful and have that dog disappear never to see the show ring.
HOW DO I START?
You have an opportunity to be a "fly on the wall" at this point. Go to shows and watch the dogs. There are many types of poms. Watch the dogs and decide what "look" you like. Watch the people. Who has a good relationship with the other exhibitors? Who is a good sportsman? Who is constantly gossiping and running down the competition? This is your one opportunity to chose who you want to be affiliated with.
Join the local Pomeranian club. See who is respected and who has success in the ring. Sometimes a wonderful breeder stays in the background, with a friend or handler finishing dogs for them. Your job is to learn as much as you can about the local breeders. You need not chose the owners or the breeder of the winner’s dog or bitch or even Best of Breed, if you sense they are not people with whom you could work, but you need to find people who are sincere in their love of the breed.
Once you chose the type of Pomeranian you like and the breeder who is producing that type, you have another big job ahead of you. You will need to convince that person of your sincerity and your intentions. That breeder may not sell you your first show dog, but you still must prove yourself. They will probably be the one who directs you to a breeder and promises to keep track of that puppy for them. Remember that you will be known by the company you keep and this is your one golden opportunity. Your reputation will last far into the future so keep it clean and be honest and fair in all business dealings. With luck, that person will become your mentor and if you are extremely lucky they will become your friend in Pomeranians for life.
FINDING A DOG
Now that you have chosen a breeder that you admire, it is time to prove your sincerity. Ask for a dog to show – any dog. Now is not the time to be picky, it is the time to prove that you have the stamina to play the dog game. It may take you months for them to find a dog for you to show. The breeder you chose may not have one and may recommend a friend. Be patient. When you do find your dog, show that dog exactly as you have promised and keep your commitments. Expect to co-own the dog. This is a very common way to maintain control over a show dog to make sure that he or she will finish.
Your goals at this point are: to prove your sincerity, to prove that you can accomplish what you say you will do and that you have the drive to stick it out through the wins and losses. What ever happens do not be a bad sport. Only one person can win on any given day and learn to congratulate the winner. Judges have differing tastes and your style of dog may not be their style. Another day and another show and the outcome will surely be different.
Only by showing up week after week and showing that you are sincere about the dog you are showing, will you begin to establish yourself as an exhibitor and be able to start to build the trust necessary for someone to entrust you with more dogs. Now is the time to learn to groom, handle and show your dog. Join a handling class. Showing poms is multifaceted. The conformation of the dog is as important as the presentation. You cannot do it alone, learn from a book or from a video. You will need either a mentor or a handler to teach you how to trim and present your dog. Remember that the conformation ring is NOT obedience. You do not get extra credit for a dog that behaves!
THE NEXT STEP
At this point you have either finished that first dog or you have gotten together with the breeder and both of you have decided that the dog you thought could finish, can not. Either way, you have provided a track record for yourself that will allow you to carry on in dogs. You will need the recommendations of the people you have met and showed with and if you have been gracious either winning or losing, the people you have met along the way will be happy to help introduce and recommend you to other breeders. Any endeavor, done well, requires time, effort and commitment. Pomeranians are no different, but the satisfaction derived from the breeding and showing is well worth the effort. Best of luck to you in the Pomeranian ring and in the whelping box "
Published in the 2002 Pom Reader and 2002 Top Notch Toys
All rights reserved by the author, Alane Levinsohn of Showcase Pomeranians USA
I thank Alane Levinsohn of Showcase Pomeranians USA, for allowing me to publish this article on DogSpot. This has acted as a guide for me and i am sure will be helpful for all those who plan to pursue this breed " Gaurav Malik