For the new dog owner, nothing can be quite as exciting as your first dog show.
It wont matter if the show is a simple puppy match held at the local park or a five point major event. As the day of the even approaches, the owner will often work in a feverish manner to ready the dog for the ring. Regardless of what class you are entering, the behavior of the dog in the ring is essential to a victorious outcome.
Just as important as teaching the dog proper ring etiquette is being prepared for the unexpected and packing the needed items down to the last piece of newspaper. The type of dog you have will of course make the final decisions as to the varieties of equipment needed but there are several items that both long and short- haired dogs will need.
Newspaper and plenty of it. Besides the obvious task of cleaning up after an inopportune bowel movement, it is also used to cover the floor where your dog will be. It is cheap, disposable and easy to obtain.
2. Crates are important as well. Some shows will last for hours and if your dog is lucky enough to go best of breed, he or she will need to go into group. By winning group, the dog will then be required to compete for best in show. You will not want to be tied to your dog for such and extended period of time and neither would your dog.
3. Puppy or exercise pens are a Godsend when allowed at shows. They allow greater freedom of movement as well as a larger area for the dog to relax in. Dog shows can be stressful situations for your dog as well so be considerate of his needs as well.
4. Tables are a must for grooming longhaired breeds and the owners back. Folding up, they dont take up much room but when you are looking at hours of nervous grooming of your dog, the strain will often take its toll right before you enter the ring. Many dogs will also stand for grooming when on a tabletop when he or she would just run circles around you if on a leash and left on the ground. Even with meticulous grooming before the show, the longhair will become mussed or in the case of fluffy breeds like Collies or Keeshonds, flattened.
5. Clean dry towels should always be packed just in case a dog is hit by the jitters or becomes carsick and drools or throws up.
bodyOffer2()6. Alcohol and other minor first aid items. Accidents or fights at dog shows are rare but the do occur. The alcohol can often come in handy if newsprint comes off onto white or cream colored dogs. When used with a cotton ball, it is also good for cleaning the outer parts of the ears. Judges do not like dirty dogs or ears.
7. Water and food bowls with personal supplies to fill them. By bringing your own water, you lower the chances of digestive upsets. When feeding your dog at a show, make sure to leave him a little hungry. Full dogs get lazy and wont work for the treats or make any attempt at showing off for the judge.
8. Grooming kits can be made of several things including large Tupperware containers. These kits should include nail clippers, pointed and curved end scissors, a fine-toothed comb and a slicker brush. Longhaired dogs will need thinning shears, double-toothed combs and a variety of long bristled brushes. Regardless of your personal favorite brush, make sure you have a small, boar or nylon bristled brush to place in your waistband for use in the ring.
9. Clothes should be nice. In the bigger events owners will even be dressy. For your first show keep in mind the color of your dog. If you are showing a red chow, the last thing you will want to wear is a pair of fire engine red pants or skirt. You want your dog to be seen not you so stick to conservative outfits. Red, gold or mahogany, and blue dogs look beautiful next to black or navy blue. Whites can go with any blue, brown or black although the black will often make the dog look that much whiter.
Shoes should be clean and neat but comfortable enough to move briskly around the ring. Tripping on your heels and then falling on your dog is not cause the type of attention you want from the judge.
11. Cooler of drinks and snacks for you if allowed by the site officials. Some of the larger shows like Westminster or the Astroworld Series of Dog Shows can take place in arenas that charge up to or even more than $2.00 per cold drink. Small snacks like cheese crackers are good because you can stuff them in your purse or grooming kit. It isnt uncommon for owners/handlers to forget to eat in the excitement and suffer from fatigue and/or low blood sugar.
12. Chairs for you and anyone who may be attending the show with you. Most outdoor, sporting or department stores will have the metal and cloth fold up types that take up little space and become a resting place during the show. Some matches will even allow you to set chairs up near the ring so you can actually enjoy the show as a spectator. They also become a place to meditate and relax when nerves get the better of you.
Staying as organized and relaxed as possible will be an important part to enjoying your first show. Start packing for the even several days ahead of time and remember, win or lose, rude competitors or over bearing spectators ignored, you are at the show to enjoy the day with your pet.