|Training Your Dog for AKC Events
By Melinda Hicks
As an AKC junior handler, I spend a lot of my time working with and training my dogs for the show ring. Because my dad has always been an avid coon hunter, I have been around Coonhounds my entire life. However, it was not until I went to our local club and watched a bench show that I became interested in showing.
I started out showing a pup out of one of our litters, but this dog was bred for hunting, not the show ring. Then I found a pup online that got my attention. I purchased this pup from Meghan Rimel and named the dog West Fork River Cheyanne. Megan gave me a few tips on conditioning the dog and getting her ready for shows. First and foremost, she needed to be exercised regularly. On nights that she cannot get her exercise in the woods, I compromise by letting her chase me on a four wheeler up and down the mountain behind my house.
The next thing I learned from various people was how to groom. Before every show, I bathe, trim nails, brush teeth, and do other grooming techniques. I am thankful to Vera Bergbauer for showing me how to use clippers to trim my dog’s coat. I try to work with my dogs daily, both on the ground and on the bench. By attending as many AKC events as possible, I have met some of the best show handlers, and I appreciate all the help and advice that these show handlers have given me. I would like to thank Megan Rimel and Erik Fisher for selling me my first show hound; she now holds the AKC title of CSG.
Currently, I have three Walker hounds that I work with every day. It is a lot of hard work, but when it is show time, it is well worth it. Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to help me along the way to becoming a great handler. I also want to thank all of the wonderful judges who have given me great advice. And most of all, thank you AKC for having a program for the Youth.