Top 5 Tips For Showing Your Dog

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Top 5 Tips For Showing Your Dog

by Kelly Marshall

Many people enjoy showing their dog for either championship levels and recognition for their kennel, for enjoyment of seeing their dog succeed, or for the experience it provides for the dog. There are two different types of shows; those that are for purebred animals based solely on conformation to breed standards and trials or events that are open to all dogs regardless of lineage and are judged on the dog?s ability at a particular event or activity.

For purposes of this discussion the focus will be on showing dogs in the ring, that is working with purebred, registered dogs to have them compete against other dogs of the same breed or against the standards as developed by the nation kennel club of the various countries. Most countries including Canada, Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom have their own kennel clubs that hold shows and events on local, national and international levels. Each kennel club also establishes the breed standards for the various breeds that are registered or recognized by the kennel club. Some breeds may be in different classes in various kennel clubs and some breeds may be recognized by one kennel club but not another. Mixed breeds, hybrids or designer dogs are not recognized by any of the national kennel clubs although some other organizations do register these crosses.

When showing a registered purebred dog there are some tips and strategies that will help you prepare both the handler, who may or may not be the owner, and the dog.

1. Read and study the breed standards for the specific breed of dog that you wish to show. Be sure that you only use breed standard trimming or grooming techniques or you will be disqualified. Pay particular attention to breeds that cannot be clipped in any fashion or those that can only be stripped (a particular type of hair thinning method) prior to competitions.

2. Know the judges preferences. Since most judges will judge the same types of categories and classes be sure to attend several events that the judges are working on. Watch how they judge the dogs, how they prefer the dogs to be presented, and what comments they make when selecting champions and winners in the class. While the judging is objective in that they use the standards as a guideline, there is still an element of subjectivity.

3. Wash and groom the dog the day before the show to prevent any last minute stress and possible delays. Trim nails, clean teeth, and ensure that the dog is looking in tiptop shape prior to the event.

4. Stay calm and positive with the dog. Take them for a good long walk before entering the ring and ensure that they have gone to the bathroom. This is a nervous time for dogs and to avoid any embarrassing moments a good walk is a wonderful idea.

5. Always socialize your dog as much as possible. If it is an option be sure to get your dog to the show in enough time for them to become familiar with the area, the crowds, and the ring and lights before the actual event.

Lastly, consider if you should hire a professional handler to show your dog. There is more to it than meets the eye, and a professional handler can help really accentuate your dog?s positive aspects, plus will take the stress off of you. If you are planning on using a handler be sure to allow time for the dog and handler to work together before the show and ensure that they are just the right match for your dog.

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For more information by Kelly Marshall, see the recent article on dog obedience events

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