A handler who was just starting off by Averil Cawthera-Purdy

Created: 11/12/2008

HAVING last week highlighted junior Hollie Kavanagh at the very pinnacle of her success I thought it would be good to look at another young handler this week – but this time one who is just starting out.
Earlier this year a young girl with a Pug puppy and her mum joined Severn Valley Ringcraft which I attend from time to time.
I was there training a similarly aged Pom pup and so both being toys and standing with the table dogs we chatted about our pups.
As I was to find out later this was ten-year-old Paige Hawker and, although her family had owned pet Rotties for years and also had Jack Russells, the Pug puppy, pet name Frank and registered name Daz Tastic, was Paige’s and the family’s first Pug and their first show dog.
I watched over the weeks with interest as young handler and pup found their feet. Initially a little unsure of what she had to do and how to train the somewhat playful Frank it took Paige all her time and concentration to get anything from him.
But she did a lot of watching what the other members of the club were doing with their puppies and copying them.
She was lucky as well. Her local training club is a good one with trainers who really know their stuff and are really helpful with handlers old and young who are just starting out.
Pretty soon Paige had Frank looking something like he was supposed to and walking by her side on the lead. Standing for anything but the odd few seconds still needed some work but both handler and pup were moving on.

I had been rumbled
Over the summer and into the autumn I didn’t get to training at all but a couple of weeks back I thought I ought to start going again and among all the other handlers who were pleased to welcome me back were Paige and her mum.
But I’d been rumbled. When I’d first met Paige just starting out at training, so far as she was concerned I was just another handler training a Pom pup called House Mouse.
Now one of the first things I was asked was ‘Are you Averil?’
I had to say yes and also yes to the next question – I did write YHIS in DOG WORLD. Well, I suppose it was going to happen.
What I did find interesting to see as we started training that night was that Paige had moved on again in her handling since I had last seen her and Frank looking the part – and had obviously learned over the summer, too.
Of course, Frank had got older as well and was now able to go to shows and so Paige and her mum were starting out at their local open shows – at Gloucester to be precise and here Paige took Frank into her first JHA junior handling class.
She did well and qualified at her first attempt for the JHA semi finals at Richmond. Now Paige and her mum are looking forward to attending some more shows with Frank and still enjoy taking him to training to polish up his showing prowess and Paige’s handling skills.