Vitaliy Belskyy: «Today a Dog Show is of course competition of professionals»
We took an interview with a famous handler, breeder and FCI expert - Vitaliy Belskyy during his already becoming regular visit to Kaliningrad with handling master class.
Handling is a very specific occupation. How you became a handler?
I’ve been a handler already for 25 years. Everything began very simply: I wanted a dog and as it happen with many other kids my parents were against it. At last I found in the street the Russian Spaniel and began training it. I visited with my dog special classes, taught him different commands, to climb the stairs and walk on booms. Then I registered in the Club, started visiting classes there and when I was told that there would be a Dog Show I registered to participate in it.
When for the first time I went to the Dog Show everything was bizarre for me: at first everyone was circling (at that time running with dog was only that way) and then they stopped and did something with the dog… After the Show I went to the Club and asked: «what were they [people] doing with them [dogs]?» I was told that they were «showing» dogs. At that time there wasn’t such thing as handling. People just came on the Show and «showed» their dogs meaning the dog must run and stay properly.
So… that’s pretty all how it began…
You understand dog’s behavior very good. What is you education?
I am a veterinarian and finished courses on zoopsychology.
You are an FCI expert – how long and how you started?
I’ve been judging for 7 years…just… It’s not long for a judge and I used to spend most of the time preparing dogs for the Show. How I became a judge? First I showed dogs – it was long ago when I just started working with dogs. At that time I didn’t have a lot of knowledge but one thing was always interesting for me: how they choose a dog? Of course, there were standards where there was written about some shoulders, some angles… but there still remained a lot of questions for me.
I started visiting handling classes that were conducted by Nina Alexandrova – she was already a judge at that time. Her husband – Boris Alexandrov – also was a judge. This couple became my first teachers in handling and judging dogs. They began to explain how the dog is chosen, why this dog took first place and the other one – second… That’s how I started my judging career…
What dogs are easier to judge?
Of course shorthaired dogs are easier to judge than longhaired.
And what are more interesting?
Every dog is interesting.
Do you have a favorite Breed Group?
I don’t give any preferences because all dogs are equal for me.
They live with me by turn when I am home but because I come home very rarely they live most of the time with co-owners.
What are the modern tendencies in the dog breeding? What’s new? You told that earlier dogs were just circling and now there are special courses for people who want to participate in a Dog Show.
Today a Dog Show is of course competition of professionals because grooming, handling are developed a lot, also is developing dog fitness: correction of the dog anatomical organization, development of muscle bulk etc. Now Dog Shows present something more professional, USA reached this level long ago and now it develops in Russia.
It will be very hard for a beginner to win, as he/her doesn’t have enough knowledge and practice. You know, you can have a very beautiful dog that won’t run, stand, show its teeth… And you won’t get any price with such a dog.
Must the government regulate the relationship between dogs and dog owners in you opinion?
I think that when it is in people’s minds that they need to watch their dogs, clean after them and understand that not everyone loves them as we [dog owners] do and when you think about it and act the same way then there won’t be any problems.
What do you think about registration of fighting dogs?
You know, I showed Stafford once and I can say that everything depends on dog’s training and socialization. There is no such thing as a bad dog…
If one decides to participate in a Dog Show what are the first steps and most important things to know?
You need to begin from basics so to say from main knowledge about dog breeding. These are basic knowledge about dog’s anatomy (you need to know the structure of the dog) in order to understand and read the standard properly, understand and see dog’s faults. Only after this I think that one can enter the ring and try oneself as a handler.
Is it important to study well biology at school if you want to work with dogs in your future?
Well, nobody knows at school that he/her will work with dogs or will be a judge. I think it comes later when you realize that this is it. I always wanted a dog, but just a dog, and I never thought that this would develop in my profession, that I will conduct seminars and will judge dogs.
The basis must be for showing your dog or others’ dog in a ring. If you don’t know anatomy and dog standard – everything is useless.
Interview prepared by petolog.com
Photo: Svetlana Sapogova