Beyond Limits is the name, dog shows are the game!

Katarzyna Nguyen, Spotlight Editor

While she hasn’t gone to any national dog shows yet, junior Dawn Pachenker shows her dogs, all American Bullies, in dog shows across Washington. They started competing five years ago in 2017 after her dog had passed away.

“We found out that my dog, [dog’s name], that passed was an original American Bully. Soon, we went to a dog show and bought a puppy of the same breed,” Pachenker said, “we wanted this to be the start of our journey competing in dog shows, so we started slowly with [dog’s name] at first and went on from there.”

All the dogs she shows live and train together, yet they all have different personalities.

“Some of them are confident and like what they’re doing, but some of them have a hard time adjusting. Those dogs are very shy and shut down easily, but most of the time, they’re all happy and enjoy what they do,” Pachenker said. 

Contrary to some other competitions, dog shows provide a fun environment for dog showers to compete against each other while they also interact with each other through a common love for dogs.

“We don’t hate each other. We talk and hang around with each other at the competitions, and when it comes to competing, we go in and whoever wins, wins,” Pachenker said. 

In fact, Pachenker says that her favorite part of dog shows is the people she meets with. 

“They’re respectful and they’re nice to talk to, especially when you have other things in common,” Pachenker said. 

Interestingly, her dogs aren’t taught some commands that most dogs are commonly taught, even the most basic ones. 

“We don’t teach them commands like ‘sit’ because the point of dog shows is to show the dog’s structure, and in order to do that, they have to be standing,” Pachenker said. 

Training dogs for dog shows can be quite difficult. It’s even harder to show a dog you’ve never trained before, but Pachenker was able to do just that.

“A couple years ago, we went to the New Year United Kennel Club Show in Vancouver, Washington, and someone had asked me to show their dog even though I hadn’t shown this dog before. We ended up making it all the way to the final competition, Best in Show,” Pachenker said. 

Although she didn’t win Best in Show that time, Pachenker and her dogs have won plenty of other awards, and they hope to win more in the future.

“I enjoy showing these dogs a lot. We just had a litter of puppies recently, and we’re hoping that we can train some of them for future dog shows,” Pachenker said.