Joining a dog shows can be overwhelming for beginners. These competitions are tough, especially if you and your pup are the new kids on the block. Expect to see everyone else appearing to have been taught a secret set of dance steps while you and your dog seem to be bumbling buffoons who are too oblivious to the judge’s instructions or rules of the competition.
Fortunately, this kind of experience will soon pass just like any other first-time encounters in our lives. After all, everyone is a beginner at the start and everyone has been in your shoes before. With the AKC National Championship, the largest dog show in the United States, airing on New Year’s Day and hosting more than 11,000 canine competitors, viewers can definitely expect a lot of well-behaved and perfectly groomed pooches. Before watching these furry, little show competitors on screen, let’s take a sneak peek on how their trainers manage their pooches before and during the competition.
From one competitor to another
Jason Taylor, the national pro sales director at Royal Canine and assistant show chairman for the AKC National Championship, shared some tips in an article published by People, an American weekly magazine of celebrity and human-interest stories, for dog owners who are interested in joining canine show competitions. Taylor, who also shows and raises Afghan Hounds together with his wife in his free time said that the dog owner needs to know that most of the show dogs in the competition are bred specifically for such an activity.
These dogs have careers that last for at least a year or two before they retire and focus on a life of relaxation. “For the most part, especially these top dogs in the country, they are bred to be that,” Taylor mentioned. He added that show dogs are chosen at eight weeks old. The dog show veteran also revealed that even if your pup is an amateur in this kind of competition, this doesn’t mean that both of you can’t learn a thing or two from professional show dogs.
The other competitors can provide helpful information about how to take care of your pooch and how you can form a happy and healthy relationship with them during the competition and especially during training.
Finding the right mentor
In an article published by The American Kennel Club, it was mentioned that the sport of dog competition is a family affair. Most of the participants came from the most recent generation of breeders, handlers, or judges in their families. If one is from the outside world, no need to worry, as there are a lot of knowledgeable people who are willing to lend a hand to teach others about dog competitions.
If you already have a purebred dog and you decide to enter it in a competition, it is best to find a nationally based parent club for your breed and inquire about membership and other mentoring possibilities. Pet owners can also look at local all-breed kennel clubs, which consist of fanciers from many breeds. Some clubs are looking for volunteers and potential new members to keep younger generations interested in the competition.
Provide for your dog’s specific needs
Dogs are different from each other. They have different nutritional needs throughout their lives and these can be based on their breed, age, activity level, and other factors. Dog owners should consider having a variety of dog food, including meals for canine of different ages and breeds. This is made for dog food to cater to the dog’s specific needs.
Additionally, you can also acquire more information about the dogs that participate in these shows by conducting thorough research. There are print catalogs that are sold at every conformation show and they contain each of the dogs entered in the competition, including their owners and breeders. The information written in these catalogs can be essential in researching the potential mentors around you.
Check your desires
Petolog.com, a website designed for pet lovers and breeders, said that before joining a competition, dog owners should determine why they need to be in the show. If their desire is really strong, they should think about purchasing a second dog or search for friends and families who have a proper dog breed.
Dog owners must also consider their dog to become a part of a breeding program. Non-pedigreed progeny is not an option for beginners because they should need to get an evaluation for breeding.
Dog show competitions might look prestigious and high-class, but behind all the glitz and glamor lies the hard truth that even pooches undergo a very serious training that prepares them to be ready to compete against others, which is why it is best to make sure if your dog can handle the pressure of the competition.
Joining a dog show competition is something that not all pet owners will have the stomach and resources for. But if you’re quite sure that your dog (and you) has got what it takes, then, by all means, take the plunge.