Hi, my name is Jessica Hanson, and I am 14 years old. My four Siberian Huskies, Kodi, Fancy, Daria, and Jasmine, and one Golden Retriever, Treasure, are the center of my life. I show them in agility, obedience, conformation, junior showmanship, and I have also done some therapy dog work.
My first time in the ring was at a Siberian Husky Specialty where I was able to take Kodi into Parade of Title Holders. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, I just thought it was great being handed the big rosette. Later that night, after a crash course in showing dogs, I won third place out of twelve at a fun match.
From then on I was hooked. I entered a lot of fun matches before my big début at the Minnesota River Valley Kennel Club dog show when I turned ten. At my very first licensed show I won first in my class. The biggest highlight that first year was when I won Best Junior Handler my very first time in the open junior class. Yet, it was not all my early success that made dog shows so fun, it was the friends that I made. At my very first show I remember sitting down next to another junior that was waiting to go into the ring. We started talking, and I learned that it was her first show as well, and that her name was Kandice O'Grady. We have been great friends since then.
Fancy, my current Junior's dog, and I have had many successes in the past four years. We have participated at the AKC Invitational in 2002, and the Westminster Kennel Club dog show in 2004. I have won the Top Junior Handler Award offered by the Siberian Husky Club of America three years in a row, and in 2003 I was ranked first in Minnesota with 23 first places and 11 BJH out of the Open Junior class. Fancy has also brought me into the world of obedience, agility, conformation, and therapy dog work. Yet beyond the show ring Fancy has been the best thing that has happened to me. She is a great pet, and always gives it her all.
After putting a CD in three trials, a NA in 4 trials, and a NAJ in three trials on Fancy, I thought it would be a lot of fun to try to some higher level obedience training. We purchased my Golden Retriever, Treasure, who is probably the second best thing that has happened to me. I am currently training Treasure two nights a week in obedience and agility. After learning from my mistakes on Fancy and Daria, I was determined to train Treasure properly. I started training Treasure when she was eight weeks old, and by the time she was six months I was already entering fun matches in Pre-Novice with her. Treasure earned her CD title when she was a year and a half old in three trials with scores all in the 90s, and is currently in open training, a completely new thing to me. Once Treasure was a year old I started her in agility, which seems to be her talent. The only problem with Treasure in agility is that she loves tunnels a lot! I also show Treasure in conformation, and have put a point on her. Treasure captured everyone's attention early when she won a reserve winners to a major out of the six to nine month class. (That was an extremely exciting moment for me!)
In addition to showing in AKC shows, I show my dogs in 4-H and am also an assistant dog trainer in my county. This year I won champion in Junior Open at the Anoka County 4-H Dog Show and at the Minnesota State Dog Show and a Reserve Champion at the Anoka County Show in Novice obedience as well as an Award of Excellence at the State Show.
For anybody, kid or adult, that is starting out with dogs, just remember, stick with it, good things take time. The dogs you see on TV have been in training for years and they have experienced trainers on the other end of the leash. Take Daria, my Siberian Husky, for example, I spent six months of training almost every day to teach her to retrieve the dumbbell, but that just made it all the more rewarding the first time she ran out and brought it back to me all by herself. Always remember to make training fun. Your dog will never want to please you if pleasing you isn't fun.