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The Good and the Bad
By Michelle Ahmann

I have shown dogs since I was eight years old. I compete in dog shows on average 24 weekends a year. I have competed in all different facets of AKC dog events, obedience, agility, junior showmanship, conformation, hunt tests, and rally. I also experimented with herding but considering I had a pug this did not work so well, I also tried tracking with my pug because I wanted to see what it was like (he was good at the food laid tacks but lost interest when they laid human tracks). Through this time I have had many experiences, some good, some bad, and some that I will never forget.

I started in dogs when I was nine years with the ugliest conformation pug alive. His name is Smudge and he taught me as much as I taught him. I showed him in obedience and got his CD and then in agility where he got titles through OAJ and OA. Finally I found something he really did like, it was rally. In less than two years with limited showing he and I achieved his rally advanced excellent (RAE) title and became the number one rally pug in America for the year 2005.

When I was 11 years old I decided that I would give junior showmanship a try. Our family was friends with an English cocker spaniel breeder and she had a dog that she wanted to get ring experience so she let me try her. Soon though she was having puppies so I switched to showing her brother and we were a really good team. His name is Patrick and he stayed my juniors dog for my entire juniors career. We qualified to go the Westminster and the AKC Classic for six years. I have also shown Patrick in obedience, agility, rally, and hunt tests, plus junior showmanship and conformation.

The experiences that I remember most are the silly little things that happen at the show and have nothing to do with how I did. One such experience involved a new pair of slightly large shoes that went flying off the first go round and were not put back on until winners dog was over. Another was this very serious judge asking to see Patrick’s bite and when I showed her he sneezed all over her glasses and she just started laughing, it was the only thing you could do.

With all these different experiences I have decided to go to school to be a veterinarian at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. I hope to always be involved in dog shows at some level. I would like to do some handling on my own but nothing serious because school will not allow for it.

Overall my experience with dogs has helped to shape and will continue to help shape my life. I would not trade anything for my experiences with dogs, the good the bad and the most unique.

Author is a 2007 AKC Junior Showmanship Scholarship recipient.