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A professional handler is a person qualified by virtue of their experience and ability to show another's dog and for a fee. A true professional abides by a code of ethics, and is educated and experienced in the sport of showing dogs. They devote much of their time to the expert care, conditioning and exhibiting of the purebred show dog. The professional handler maintains appropriate kennel facilities, and vehicles equipped for safely transporting client dogs.

When considering using a professional handler, here are a few thoughts to keep in mind:

1. The professional handler will evaluate your dog's potential as a show dog.

2. The professional handler will educate you in areas of conditioning, training and grooming in order to make them competitive in the conformation ring.

3. The professional handler can devote the time required to condition you dog both mentally and physically to take on the stamina required for shows.

4. The professional handler will use their experience to present your dog to the best of its advantage.

5. The professional handler has the ability to exhibit your dog in a wide geographic area, taking advantage of shows where the dog can best perform and win.

6. The professional handler can earn a championship on the dog in less time and expense than the owner-handler.

When choosing a professional handler, ask these questions:

1. Inquire about the kennel facilities. Generally speaking, the kennel should have permanent housing indoors with room enough for the dog to walk around without being cramped. There should be exercise areas outdoors. Grooming areas should be clean; and proper feeding and training equipment available.

2. Ask for a personal inspection of the kennel, facilities, and vehicle in which your dog will travel to shows with the handler

3. Ask who will maintain control over your dog when the handler is not available

4. Ask about your dog's daily routine, veterinary care, and how the dog will be cared for at the shows

Members of the PHA are easily identified by the PHA emblem they wear at dog shows and other related events.

A professional handler will have a fully equipped vehicle with crates, exercise pens, grooming, feeding and watering equipment to provide care in all types of weather while at a show. Make it a point to observe the handler's area at indoor and outdoor shows.

Professional handlers are a valuable source of knowledge in the sport of purebred dogs. Not only are their services available to clients, but also they are in demand by kennel clubs to judge match and sweepstake events, and organizing grooming and parking at dog shows. Many handlers offer lectures on a variety of topics to assist in educating the general public on animal welfare issues.

The largest organized professional handler group in the United States governed by a
Code of Ethics is the Professional Handlers' Association (PHA). A membership list can be obtained from the above address.

Professional Handlers' Association, Incorporated
17017 Norbrook Drive
Olney, Maryland 80832
(301) 774-2400
Date Last Modified: 7/22/04
© All Contents by The PHA