Delana Eschenbach, 13, Participates in AKC’s Junior Showmanship Through New Pilot Program

13-year-old Delana Eschenbach from Hamilton, Ohio, is a shining example of what it means to be a dedicated Junior Handler in dog sports. She is actively involved in 4-H and multiple dog sports, and has qualified to compete at the 2023 AKC Rally National Championship this summer, handling her two All-American Dogs “Mary Lou” and “Maverick Goose”.

Three Years In and Lots to Show For It

Delana’s journey in dog sports began at the age of 10 when she joined her local 4-H program. Initially interested in art, she quickly found her passion for dog programs when her family got a dog in 2020. She started training Mary Lou and delving into various dog sports, eventually competing in Conformation shows and discovering her love for showing dogs.

With her dogs earning their CGC and Trick Dog titles, Delana’s instructor suggested she try AKC Rally, leading to a successful debut in the sport. This motivated her to explore more opportunities in AKC Rally and other dog sports.

Exploring the World of Dog Sports

Over the past three years, Delana and her dogs have expanded their repertoire to include Diving, AKC Rally, Fast CAT, CAT, and Agility. They are also training in Obedience and have plans to try AKC Scent Work and Barn Hunt in the future.

Delana has not only competed with her All-American dogs in Conformation events but has also participated in Junior Showmanship and breed ring competitions with purebred dogs. Her favorite sports are Conformation and Agility, as they strengthen the bond between her and her dogs.

Getting More Involved Through the AKC Pilot Program

The AKC’s 18-month Junior Showmanship Pilot Program has been instrumental in Delana’s journey, allowing her to participate in Junior Showmanship events with her All-American dogs. This program has not only opened doors for Delana but has also enriched her dogs’ lives through various activities.

Participating in the pilot program has boosted Delana’s self-confidence and connected her deeper to the world of dog shows and preservation breeders. It has provided her with valuable experiences and relationships within the dog community.

Getting Over the Hurdle of Starting Something New

Despite facing initial nerves and challenges, Delana has learned to overcome them through perseverance and teamwork with her dogs. She emphasizes the importance of embracing both the joys and challenges of dog sports, learning valuable lessons along the way.

On the Road to AKC Rally

Delana’s upcoming challenge is the 2023 AKC Rally National Championship, where she will showcase her skills alongside top dog-and-handler teams in the country. Qualifying for nationals has been a proud moment for Delana, reinforcing her belief in the power of dedication and training.

Delana looks forward to competing in Rally Nationals and meeting fellow dog enthusiasts who share her passion for dogs and dog sports. Rally has strengthened the bond between her and her dogs, creating memorable moments like earning a perfect score in a competition.

Encouraging Other Junior Handlers

Delana encourages kids and teens interested in dog shows and sports to pursue their passion, highlighting the positive impact it can have on confidence and communication skills. She also emphasizes the importance of balance and avoiding burnout in dog events.

Always Learning More

As Delana continues her journey in dog sports, she aims to earn Diving and Agility titles with her dogs while exploring new disciplines like AKC Scent Work. She shares her experiences to inspire others and emphasizes the importance of learning and growing through every competition.

Delana’s story is a testament to the rewards of dedication, passion, and teamwork in the world of dog sports, showcasing the immense growth and fulfillment that comes with pursuing your dreams.

Amy Eschenbach

Additional information about the article created by SKZ World Tour.

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Delana Eschenbach, 13, Participates in AKC’s Junior Showmanship Through New Pilot Program