We had the pleasure of speaking with Joseph and his dog Lenny about their life as a show dog duo, and their commitment to pushing each other to find their real life purpose.
What was your life like before Lenny?
My life honestly was not very eventful, I would go to the gym, go to work, come home and not really have any other activities or hobbies that I pursued, after getting Lenny, especially when I started showing him about 3 years ago, I began to become very dedicated to everything I did and I wanted to be the best at what I did. Lenny and I have a fantastic relationship and he has made my life so much more meaningful and enjoyable. I was in a very bad place prior to getting Lenny, battled depression beginning in 2013 and in working with Lenny more and more in different activities, was able to pull myself out of the deep depression I was in and am an extremely positive and driven person now
How did you get into the dog show world? Did you know Lenny had a gift?
I got into the Dog Show World by going to dog shows with my wife who initially got Lenny into showing and I took interest because I saw that he had a gift and the bond that he and I have was extremely strong, and now it’s grown into what it is today, we are a great duo in the show ring due to our bond outside of it.
I knew Lenny had a gift early on when we’d post photos or bring him places, we’d get a lot of great feedback about him and he began getting featured in various websites like People Pets edition, BuzzFeed, Boston Terrier Magazines, etc.
As you start to prepare for Westminister, what is Lenny’s training program like?
Lenny and I train twice per week at handling class once I arrive back home from work (I weight train and perform cardio 6x per week, waking up at 4:30AM every day and at the gym by 5AM). Lenny and I also run nearby trails as well as train with the frisbee in our backyard that has a very steep hill and is an acre large (fenced in) so he is able to build up his leg strength as well as his agility. We also stretch Lenny out at home, regularly grooming and bath/shampooing/conditioning.
Being a body builder yourself, you must be able to commit to Lenny’s trainings in such a unique way. Your commitment to your own health and wellness is really amazing. How has this made you a better dog dad? How has this transferred into being Lenny’s handler at the shows?
I feel that training myself 6x per week for an hour and a half each day in the morning before the sun rises, has kept me very focused and I’m consistent in my approach in whatever I am trying to accomplish now.
In training Lenny, this is no different, and I ensure that I stay accountable to him and take him to class twice per week, sign up for AKC Dog Shows regularly, run trails, frisbee, stretching, as well as recovery using CBD oils. I also give him fish oil and hemp oil with his food as we keep his nutrition in check to maintain his excellent physique. I feel that being a bodybuilder has helped me immensely when showing Lenny in the ring as Lenny actually free stacks instead of having to have me get down to his level and place his feet square and ensure his top line is straight, he actually does a lot of this on his own and adjusts his movements/posture depending on how I move my body, so although we are two individuals in the ring, we act as one.
I feel that bodybuilding and dog showing are very similar in that they both require you to be consistent in your approach in terms of training and nutrition, as well as grooming beforehand and making sure that you present yourself to the judges in the best possible light to accentuate your strengths when posing.
The 2019 Westminister Kennel Club Dog Show will kick off on February 11th. Lenny, a Boston Terrier, will compete on February 11th at 12:15 pm.
You can check out Lenny's Facebook page here. Joseph created it to share Lenny and the happiness that he brings to those around him. Joseph also wanted to give people full access into what it takes to train for the Westminster Dog Show. Many people have never been to the show and would like to, so he wanted to bring everyone with them on the journey.