Originally Posted by Flyinsbt
The handling practice is how to start. Is it a class? Around here, there are several handling classes available, they tend to be drop in classes so one can go as needed, usually about $10/class. The instructor will show you what you need to do. The main thing you want to do is to have a show lead/collar when you go to class. There's always that occasional person that shows up with just a regular collar & leash, and you can't really learn the skills with those. The show lead, and lots of tasty treats, is all you need to bring to the class.
I really like handling classes for early training with a dog. I would probably go to a few even if I wasn't going to show. It's a good chance for some low key learning in a different environment, with a lot of other dogs and people around. You can pretty much shower your pup with treats, and they learn to focus on you. And the "judge" going over them is good socialization to allowing handling from strangers.
Once you've gone to some classes, you can start showing. UKC is definitely a more relaxed environment than AKC shows. One difference, though, is that UKC judges don't necessarily allow you to bait in the ring. AKC judges almost always do (I did have one AKC judge that asked us not to bait our dogs). UKC used to not allow it, then they switched to judge's choice. Obviously, it's easier to make showing a positive experience for your dog if you can feed them in the ring.
Once you've tried it, you can see if you like it, and if you want to continue. One thing that might affect that is which breed you're getting. In some breeds, owner handlers are common and do well. There are other breeds which are almost entirely professionally handled, and you might find the showing frustrating if you're in one of those breeds. UKC doesn't allow pro handlers, so if you are in one of those breeds, that might be a more enjoyable option for you.
I do believe it is a handling class.
And with any luck, the breed will be a Chessie. Not sure how competitive they are!
@ Dizzy: The breeder is really supportive, but she's out of state, so getting her help would be rather difficult. But I'd definitely go to her for advice.
Abrams, Momma's boy Chesapeake Bay Retriever and Cynder, Daddy's girl little lab muttly
~*~ DOB 4/11/13 ~*~ DOB 1/28/2006 ~*~