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Show Dogs:  Where to start

  Thinking about showing your dog off but don’t have any idea where to start?  Showing a dog is more than having a well groomed attractive dog. There is hard work and dedication on the owner’s part as well as the pet.

  You can start doing your homework by checking out various dog shows. This is the best place to start. Attend a few shows to see what is expected. They are usually advertised in your local paper, pet shop or even advertised on your local radio stations. Once you’ve found a show to attend, plan to spend the whole day there. Soak up what is going on around you. Watch the judges and what they look for in a winning dog. Observe the pets with their handlers. Watch to see how the handler deals with its dog before they show it. After the judging, check out the score sheets to see how and why the dog was given its score. For a novice, the score should rank between 170-200. This is a great way to incorporate winning techniques into your show dog’s training.

  If you haven’t chosen a dog yet, it’s best to research what kind of breeds are eligible to enter as well as what breed would be best for you to work with. There are certain requirements to abide by such as, your dog being AKC (American Kennel Club) registered. He must also be at least six months old on the day of the show to enter. If you’re having a tough time choosing a breed, talk to show breeders. Ask questions about their particular breed’s temperament and the pros as well as the cons of showing their breed. Read plenty of magazines about the subject as well. Probably the most popular breeder’s magazine would be the AKC Gazette. You will find lots of helpful hints.

  Once you’ve chosen a dog, it’s best to start training right away. It would be beneficial to you and the dog to take an obedience training course. You will learn the basic techniques needed to show your dog. In this course, you will learn how to handle the leash, move, stand and even train your dog. It also allows your dog to be trained around other dogs so he can get used to distractions.

  Of course, if handling the dog is not something you want to do, you can always hire a professional handler. Talk to and get a copy of several different professional handler’s fees before choosing one. You might want to attend a show where a particular handler will be showing other owner’s dogs to see how well they do.

  Before entering the novice level, you’re dog should be able to heel while on the leash as well as off the leash. He should be able to make left and right turns with you as well as about face. If you come to a stop, he should follow by sitting. You’re dog should also be able to stay in a sitting position for at least 2-3 minutes at a time. If you’re dog is on the rambunctious side, you will have to practice this more often.

  When the dog is being examined by the judge, the handler should be able to walk six feet away from the dog with it standing in a stay position. After the handler gives the stay command, the judge usually runs his hand across the dog. There is also the sit and down exercises that all the dogs perform at the same time in the ring.

  The recommended dress attire for the handler is dress pants and a suitable top. No low cut shirts or jeans (unless they are white or black dress jeans). Good tractions shoes are also recommended. Sandals are prohibited. The goal for dress is to where something that is tasteful yet comfortable. You want to wear something that is easy and breathable for you to move around in. Stay away from noisy, clanging jewelry or loose hanging accessories that will distract you or the dog.

  Dogs also must abide by a strict attire. They must be shown with only a regular training collar. The collar must not be too loose or too tight; it should fit just right around the neck. It can be made from nylon as well as metal. The attached leash can also be nylon as well as leather. Leather is the preferred material for leashes.

  Remember, getting your dog started can be fun, but also strenuous on both of you. Be both patient and firm with your canine, and before you know it, you will reap the harvest of your dedication and hard work. Have fun!




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