Summer is the time of ice cream, seasides and local fêtes which in the latest heatwave have all been very popular. Often, a great fundraiser is to run a dog show but these are not always for the inexperienced or faint of heart!
If you are planning a dog show, or are going to visit one, why not share some of these tips so that our community of dogs all enjoy themselves, too.
Does your dog like being ‘on display’? Some dogs love prancing up and down, but for others, being face to face with unknown canine companions and cooing humans can be unwelcome. Take plenty of treats to help your dog enjoy the experience, and be prepared to call it a day if you notice your dog looks unhappy. Signs are ears back, panting, whites of the eyes showing, and of course, a clamped-to-the-bottom tail.
Can your dog walk nicely on lead? As a judge for a pet dog show, I look for the dog to be ‘head-up’ happy. In other words, not being dragged around and to focus on the owner’s commands rather than the lead being the only means of instruction.
Is the show likely to be fun? A really good local show has plenty of rosettes and goodies on offer, with professionals to hand such as vets and dog-experienced organisers. Making sure the ring is big enough without squeezing the dogs together is essential, as is a separate entry and exit. You also need a really good sound system. One year I ended up calling classes at the top of my voice as the microphone system was so poor. Listening out for your classes is all part of the fun.
Teach a party trick! I like to see dogs that can do more than simply stand still or walk nicely. I love to see them working with their owners. Give paw, roll over, catch the ball, are always fun. It might even win you a rosette!
Above all, take the organising seriously, so that the show is safe and enjoyable for all. And don’t forget the water bowls!
What bits do you love best about dog shows? Leave your tips and advice below!