Is your dog a champion in the making? You have always believed so. But even champions need to keep pushing themselves to produce that little extra that separates them from the rest. We are here to help you and your dog achieve just that. With these tips and tricks, your dog will be show-ready to take on any dog show.
It’s the time to register
Visit the websites that publish the calendar of the year’s dog show and download their registration forms. A typical form will require your personal information as well as your dog’s, choice of class based on the dog’s age on the day of the show and the owner’s expectations, and the payment. It is vital that you know the show regulations carefully, like what is the earliest time a participant can leave the premises. In case you register for an international dog show, it is advisable to know the procedure for taking dogs across the globe. Certain countries, like the UK, require extra formalities such as the Authorization to Compete (ATC). Once you have done all this, mark your calendars and….
Prepare for the big day
As you would get ready for any big event, your dog needs preparation time too. Your dog will be required to show off certain skills, like standing still (depending on the breed), in order to compete. Train your dog to walk on the side of the judge while walking on a leash. And remember that you or the handler must never come between the dog and the judge. Different breeds of dogs require certain types of leashes. Using a leash the same colour of your dog’s coat will help in not disrupting the overall balance. Customizable leashes can be bought through mail order.
Dog shows can be quite long, especially if it’s your first time. Bring along a few items with you to make your dog more comfortable in this new environment. A food and water bowl goes a long way in doing just that. It is vital to bring along its vaccination book or passport and ID card, a show leash and a number clip - because every dog is given a catalogue number - which it has to wear and which also designates the place where the dog can sit, eat and relax. Some dog shows might not have cages, so make sure you bring one with you so your dog can have its own relaxing spot and get protection from the sun, rain and even the crowd as it may get too noisy (since these shows tend to attract a lot of dogs and visitors). Dogs used to peace and quiet may find this conflicting and stressful. This can impact their performance during the show. You can combat this by getting your dog used to noise by taking him outdoors initially.
Make room for grooming
Your dog will require a specific type of grooming, depending on its breed. Spaniels require hair to be removed from their toes, while terriers require trimming. You can even use a professional groomer. Remember that the earlier you start grooming your dog, the more used to grooming he becomes.
The judging standards have been established by leading international kennel clubs and federations (FCI, American Kennel Club, the UK’s Kennel Club). The criteria for judging a dog depends on:
Breed type: Here the coat type, colour and gait are important features to be judges. Make sure these characteristic are their shining best.
Harmony and balance: Your dog’s body should be proportionate to its head size, depending on its breed.
Disposition: Your dog’s attitude will be key in winning or not. Shy or dogs may not do what is expected of them.
Structure: Make sure your dog’s muscular and skeletal structure is lean and well defined, while standing and moving (walking or trotting).
General presentation: Your dog’s overall appearance is an important factor between winning and not. Make sure your dog’s coat is clean and shiny, well groomed and his weight is ideal.
Training: A well-trained dog will have more confidence in showing off its abilities compared to an untrained one.
A “good dog” is one that exhibits a greater number of characteristics which are common to its sex and breed, has the ideal temperament and attitude and well-trained to display its qualities.
And the winner is….
Before the judges declare their results, the participants will have to line up their dogs in the right order. The judge looks at each dog and examines them one at a time by touching them or walking them. Judges finally choose the dogs that best match their respective standard. Each participant gets a sheet which shows the summarized assessment of all contestants.
Now that you are ready and enlightened on getting your dog show-ready, go out there and enjoy the show with your dog.