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Factors Involved In Preparing a Dog For Competition or Show

There are many factors involved in preparing a dog for competition or show.

The following article we are going to discuss four of these factors:
Factor one: What are the different types of shows and competitions available.
Factor two: What are the breed standards and what do the mean to you and your dog.
Factor three: What are the different types of training needed and what training tools you might need.
Factor four: What grooming and clipping do you need and when should you start preparing for the show.

Factor one: Shows and competitions available

The first thing you need to consider is what type of show or competition you are going to enter you’re in and is he or she eligible to enter. The best show to start with is Companion shows. These are normally held for a charity or local canine societies. The classes are open to all breeds or dogs. This is a good way to start preparing your dog for the bigger shows. The next type of show you might consider is a single breed show. Some of these shows can be formal and some can be informal and could lead to the dog’s qualification to the bigger more prestigious shows like Crufts.

The top prize at these shows is best in Show and Best of Breed. Competitions as opposed to showing have a slightly different role to play within the canine community. Competition and trails like obedience, agility, sheepdog and field trials are held across the UK all year round, giving owners a chance to show off theirs dog ability and also test their skill at controlling their dog’s. One such obedience trail is the Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen Scheme. There are three levels Bronze, Silver and Gold and can earn you and your dog a certificate. From there you can move onto obedience classes run by the kennel Club giving you a chance to win prizes and progress further within the obedience trials world.

The Kennel Club and the BASC hold the biggest field trials and gun dog events in the country, which is open to all registered breeds of Gun Dogs. For any of these types of shows and competition your dog will need to be fully vaccinated with their flea and worm treatment up to date. All bitches should be entire but should not be in season as this can cause a problem with the dogs. You will also need to make sure that the dog is not stressed in any way during transportation as some shows or competition can be some considerable distance away from you. So if the show is a long way away you may need to consider the implications of travelling the day before. If you are only going to a companion show then normally you pay for each class on the day, however in other shows you may have to contact the organisers to make sure you book and pay for your entry of your dog on time.

Factor two: The breed standard

The basis of any show is to judge a dog by the breed standard set out by the kennel club. The breed standard is the blueprint of all pedigree breeds of dogs. There are up to date 209 registered breeds and each has its own breed standard. Careful research and investigation into the breed’s history, health, temperament, size and general overall look of the dog are drawn up and available to anyone via the Kennel Club. It is very important to look at the breed standard before you show any dog, as you will need to know if your dog is the standard the judges are looking for.

The standard consists of factors like the colour, height, muscle structure and weight. However judges will also be looking for lumps and bumps and scars that should not be on the dog. They will also check the general well-being of the dog by looking at the teeth and gums to make sure they are not discoloured or neglected, the eyes to make sure they are clean and clear, ears to make sure there are not signs of ear mites, they will look at quality of their coat and their skin and check their feet for sores and cuts. Nutrition will pay a major part in showing a dog. It will be the quality of the food and contents of the food that will keep you dog in top health.

Factor three: The different types of training

To prepare your dog and yourself for show or competition you will need to look for the most appropriate type of training. For example there is Ring Craft: this type of training is designed for show dogs. Ring Craft will teach you how to show your dog within the ring. Teaching the working side, walking and trotting and presenting your dog to the Judge. In essence it teaches you how to control your dog in the ring. If you are looking to enter competitions than depending on what type will determine the training needed.

The training for competitive obedience competitions can be found through most clubs or organisations. These clubs will teach you all the basics like sit, down, stand, wait, leave and come along with control at doorways and lead walking. All these exercises are the foundation to most obedience competition and tests. Always check out the club or organisation first to make sure they are running classes that are in line with what you want to achieve with your dog. The ones to look for are the one advertising the Canine Good Citizen Scheme as they can help you with the different types of obedience tests. Some clubs run agility along with obedience and normally provide all the equipment necessary for example jumps, tunnels and weaves.

If you are serious about your training you can buy equipment for use in the garden so you can continue the training at home. To prepare a dog sheepdog or field trails and gun dog competitions you need to look at a more specialised training, either through a club or an independent trainer. This can cast a lot more than the standard obedience training and will require a lot of intensive work. There are a lot of books available on how to train your dog, but it always pays to consult a professional. The tools you need for gun dog training are freely available through most gun shops and Internet sites. This should consist of a slip lead, a whistle, a few throwing dummies, a starter pistol or a dummy launcher. Each breed of gundog is slightly different in the way they are trained but the basis is the same, which is hunt and retrieve.

Factor four: Grooming and Clipping

Another important part of showing a dog is how it looks on the day; every pedigree dog has two types of clip or grooming style. The first being the standard clip, which basically means it, is how your pet dog should look according to the kennel club. The second being a show clip, which is a standard set out by the Kennel Club to help keep the dogs looking all the same when in the ring. Some dog like the longhaired or wirehair breeds will need regular grooming, unlike the short hair breeds that just need to be maintained periodically.

You will need to seek out good professional groomer that has worked with your particular breed before or invest in a course on how to groom and clip your own dog. If you do decide to groom your dog yourself then you need to consider when are you going to start to get them ready for the show, are you going to bathe them the day before and trim their nails, clean their ears, eyes and brush their teeth or are you going to do that the morning of the show. You will also have to consider the amount of tools you will need to take with you to shows i.e brushes, comb, grooming table and cotton wool to clean their eyes along with the normal bit like a gage leads, poo, bags, food ect.

In conclusion the above four factors are not the only factors involved when looking at showing you dog or entering competition but they are important and should be considered very carefully as it may make the difference to enjoying or not enjoying showing or competition with your dog.