From English Setters to Parson Russell Terriers, Tricia Stanczyk is an Owner Handler with multiple Best in Shows and a National Specialty win.
Learning by watching and asking questions is critical. But practice by doing is the essential. Four weeks can't go by between shows and then you try to remember what you saw.
Practice at home - grooming techniques, handling tips, and training suggestions. That way if you don't nail it, you can always call or email the professional that helped you and ask for clarification.
Giving advice always feels better when it is listened to and used. Questions are good.
Why stay for the groups and Best in Show? Not only do you benefit from watching and learning from the professionals, studying the grooming and handling techniques, but you are also seen. Huh?
Yes. Human nature has the tendency to connect with the familiar. If you are asking the pros for help, they naturally with be more willing if you are familiar.
Approach them when not busy. Be respectful. Offer to help.
Tricia has three tips for managing her nerve.
Join your local All-Breed Club and Specialty clubs. Be the worker bee that suggests and takes on the responsibility for doing.
Ignore the nay-sayers and negative people.
Remember, it's just a dog show. Have fun, laugh, love your dog, and enjoy life.