Double Handling – And Other Attempts to Gain an Edge

In attempting to define “double-handling” it should be understood that there are various attitudes toward it, so you should understand the context when using the term. It has a different meaning or at least different importance to different groups. At its root, the term means that there is some influence from outside the ring over the appearance/behavior of a dog in the ring—a second (or doubled) handler. On one end of the spectrum is the extreme position where if someone at ringside blows his nose, the AKC rep is likely to give the judge hell for allowing such “interference.” At the other extreme it may appear that someone has let all the lunatics out of the local asylum. Example: at one GSD national specialty in the Orient, as the judge was looking at posed dogs several yards further down the line, I watched screaming owners jumping into the ring to get their dogs (being shown by paid handlers) “animated”—which means that the dogs are supposed to be looking especially alert. Balls, squeaky-toys, and the like were excitedly shown to the dogs—one double-handler even had a rabbit in a cage that he shook in front of his dog’s face!

Keep in mind that the suggestions and techniques I offer here should only be used in situations where they would be allowed, or at least unnoticeable. Continue reading