“If I had a chance to return to existence and were asked what I wanted to be, I would say I want to be a Dog Handler”, it is with this phrase that Gladimir Souto de Oliveira sums up the love he has in the profession he has been working for 45 years. Oliveira has already lost count of how many dogs shows and how many dogs won prizes in the events he participated. The vast experience acquired over the years has not diminished the humility and willingness to learn and demonstrate good dogs on the track. In an interview with Best Breeders, he talks about the importance of a good dog presentation. “Although some breeders and owners don’t realize that a handler’s job makes a big difference, the importance is enormous. Because the handler, through their professional knowledge and techniques, can, in the vast majority of times, improve results and, consequently, a greater number of titles. What makes these breeders and their dogs better known and better evaluated by the judges”, he says.
Oliveira also points out that to act as a handler it is necessary to have feeling and aptitude. Having knowledge of the breeds is also essential. “It is also necessary to have a structure in terms of transport, transport boxes, tables, guide brushes, among others, and for that you need to know which breeds you want to work with”.
“We often observe that some people, due to more dedication and even some knowledge, are unable to develop the activity because they lack aptitude, they do not have the gift for that”.
When asked if the dog needs to be trained for exhibitions already, the handler says: “We are often faced with some rare jewels that with brief training and some exhibitions have veteran performances. But there is a need for an interaction between handler and his pupil and, over time, mutual identification becomes automatic in attitudes in the act of presentation”.
To obtain good results, besides the dog being within the standards established by the entities that represent them, some details are also important. “The dog must be at a correct weight, well “trimmed”, well-conditioned and have a balanced behavior.
During the interview, Oliveira remembers some cases that occurred during participation in exhibitions. “When I started my activity in Rio Grande do Sul I confess that I did not have great knowledge and not a good preparation and I received an Airedale-Terrier dog and that the owner, who was my first client, also did not have great knowledge, handed me over a piece of charcoal to paint the black parts of the coat, when the judge rubbed the dog imagine what happened (laughs). But at the time we had practically no information about cynophilia, nor did we have anyone to look up to, who could guide us.
Oliveira also gives tips for breeders and for those who want to follow the handler profession:
“Those who want to pursue a career in the first place, do not think that they are glories and victories, many defeats will occur, many personal sacrifices will be necessary; forget that they could have a normal life, that is, weekends, breaks, outings, besides, of course, seeking knowledge bases. To be a Handler for me is to have been chosen and blessed by God, for such a noble and rewarding profession despite many difficult moments. If I had to come back into existence and were asked what I would like to be, I would answer: I want to be a Dog Handler”, he concludes.