Hi I’m Lee Whittier! The Mission for Dog Show Mentor is to encourage and educate owner-handlers who are motivated by a commitment to the Sport of Purebred Dogs and dedicated to excellence.
Why I Care Those of us who show dogs all have one thing in common: we all showed a dog for the first time. Whenever I’m judging and an exhibitor tells me it is his/her first show, I always say: “Congratulations, put this day on your timeline! Your life is about to change forever! Every single one of us had our first dog show.” In honor of each of our humble beginnings in the ring, I decided to create this mentoring, members-only community.
How I Started In Dogs I was born in a whelping box. My mother dabbled at breeding and showing Collies and Golden Retrievers. My personal childhood pet was a black Miniature Poodle. As an adult, I bred and exhibited Best in Show, Specialty winning Rottweilers for over 25 years. I have owner-handled dogs of numerous breeds and finished dogs in the Working, Sporting, and Non-Sporting groups.
Club Affiliations I am a member and Parent Club Approved Mentor and Presenter of the American Rottweiler Club, the Terrier Association of Oregon where I am chair of the January group show, the Tibetan Terrier Club of America, Dog Fanciers of Oregon, and the Vancouver Kennel Club where I act as Secretary. Previously, I was a member of the Woodstock Dog Club where I was show chair for 14 years. Over a 25-year period, I held the positions of Assistant Show Chair, President, Vice President, member of the Board of Directors, Constitution and By-laws Revision Committee, and Catalog Advertising Chair. I also received the AKC Good Sportsmanship Award from the Woodstock Dog Club.
My Judging Career In my first application to judge Rottweilers in 2000, I documented over 1000 shows plus more than 70 specialties. Always looking to learn about new breeds, I began to develop mentoring relationships with experts in other breeds. I am now approved to judge four groups: Working, Terrier, Toy, Non-Sporting. The American Kennel Club has approved me to move forward past four groups, a requirement in the Judges’ Approval Process. In addition to the above four groups, I judge six Hound breeds and Bouviers des Flandres in the Herding group, Miscellaneous classes, Junior Showmanship, and Best in Show. I have developed mentoring relationships in every breed for which I am approved as a way of tapping into the knowledge and expertise that is required to judge a breed well. As a former American Kennel Club Executive Field Representative, I have the additional perspective of how judging dogs outside the ring differs from judging them in the ring, hands-on.
My Professional Career I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Communication (Intercultural) and a post-graduate Certificate in Mediation/Conflict Management. My professional background is in coaching and mentoring individuals primarily in lifestyle awareness and conflict resolution. I have assisted individuals and dog clubs in resolving the un-resolvable.
The Worst Advice; The Best Advice When I first started showing dogs, my fellow exhibitors, whether they were owner-handlers or professionals, all had an opinion on everything dog/show related and were happy to advise me for free. For awhile, I was willing to listen to anyone because I wanted to learn as much as possible. I got some genuinely great advice, but I also got conflicting advice from people who were either competing directly with me or who were in a position to benefit from my losses. I wondered if people were deliberately giving me bad advice or they just didn’t know any better. The so-called “instant experts” can cost a win, or worse. The question I asked myself most often: “Was that good advice or bad advice?”
As I became a more seasoned handler, I started to realize that not everyone knew what they were talking about. It took me years to sort out the good advice from the bad advice. Now I’m dedicating my life to giving great advice to the people who really want to hear it and clarifying critical aspects of navigating the dog show world. If you don’t know what advice to leave and what to take, you’re in the right place! Here’s the Dog Show Mentor program. Whether you’re brand new to the sport or have been showing for years, if you are motivated to do some SERIOUS winning, this group is for YOU!