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Showing Dogs - What to Do Before Your First Show

By Charles Hopkins Published 06/14/2007 | Pets and Animals

So, you have your beautiful pedigree puppy and fancy seeing if it can become the next Cruft's Champion; how do you start in the dog showing world? A useful first step is to enroll in some 'Ringcraft Classes.' These are offered all around the country and will get you and your dog ready for the Show Ring. They will help train the dog to stand still while being examined by the judge and help you move the dog in a straight line. It is worth joining a breed club for your breed of dog, as they too can provide helpful information for the beginner. Visit some Shows and watch what goes on and do not be afraid to ask those sitting at ringside for explanations of what is happening.

When you feel confident to enter your first show you will find that the shows are advertised in the 'Dog Press.' These papers are available from newsagents. There are also sites on the web that have all the information you need and you can even enter online! If not doing it all online you will need to obtain the schedule for the show and the entry form, which must be filled in correctly and returned to the show secretary before the closing date. To enter your dog you will need to have the information on your Kennel Club Registration Certificate (date of birth, registered name, names of parents and the breeder.)

There are different classes to enter, ranging from Minor Puppy to Open and Veteran. It is advisable to enter the first class that you are eligible for, which if your dog is under nine months will be Minor Puppy. You can enter as many classes as you like for which your dog is eligible.

Before the day of the show, make sure the dog is clean, preferably bathed, and without any tangles and knots in its coat. Its ears and teeth should be clean and if necessary the nails trimmed. Different breeds have different requirements for presentation, so make sure you know what is required for your breed.

On the day of the show, make sure you have a bag packed with the grooming equipment you need for your breed, a towel in case the dog gets wet, a show lead and collar. Also bring a bowl and some water and 'clean-up' bags in case of an accident. If the show is benched, you will need a benching chain, a non-check collar to prevent choking and a blanket. If it is going to be a long day, bring some food for the dog. You will need some sort of clip/pin for holding your number, which you wear in the ring. Finally, if you have been sent any paperwork for the show, make sure you take it with you. Some shows have a removal order and if you cannot produce that at the end of the day it may prove very difficult to take your dog home!

Finally, get to the Show early, it is not fair to you or your dog to be rushing in minutes before you are due in the ring. Let the dog experience the atmosphere and you get your nerves in check... ready to enjoy your first show.