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Showing Your Dog

Showing your dog can be a great experience for every member of your family, but you must be well-prepared before you jump into the fray. For your two minutes in front of a judge you must spend hours of time on training, grooming, and exercising with your dog. Just because your dog is a purebred and comes from great bloodlines does not mean he or she can walk into the show ring and leave with a ?Best in Show.? There is a lot of groundwork to be done for you and your dog to be in peak performing condition. First and foremost is training your dog in obedience. Dog shows are busy, noisy, and sometimes chaotic places and your dog must be socialized to feel comfortable amid all the hubbub. There will be many distractions, so your dog must be willing to listen to and obey your commands, not just in the show ring, but also during the time he or she spends on the sidelines. There will be hundreds of people and other dogs walking about, loudspeakers, and the smells of concessions. It can either be dog heaven or dog hell, depending on your dog?s personality. There are many classes available to help you with socialization, obedience skills, and the correct way to handle your dog in the ring. Regular exercise and a good diet are the keys to your dog?s success. A well-conditioned dog is at his or her ideal weight, is well muscled, and has a noticeable spark. The right food will ensure proper nutrition for a healthy coat and strong teeth and bones. Regular walks are a great way to keep your champion in top form. Playtime is important for social development and will keep your dog active and mentally stimulated. No dog can make it to the top without a proper grooming regimen. Brushing your dog, whether longhaired or shorthaired, will help stimulate the skin and remove tangles, dander, and excess undercoat. It is important to use the right tools, brushes, and combs for your dog?s coat type. Shorthaired dogs, like Beagles or Shar Peis, need a stiff bristle brush to remove loose hair. On a longhaired dog such as an Afghan or Lhasa Apso, a brush with blunter, softer bristles is necessary to prevent breakage. Hair conditioners and regular bathing will keep your dog?s coat in proper show condition. The dog show judge is looking for only one thing: a dog that exhibits the best qualities of his or her breed and stands out against all the other dogs. Your role as the handler is to show your dog in his or her best possible light. Encourage your dog to show off! Looking alert and happy in the ring is an important part of the show experience and will draw attention to your dog?s good points. A good handler is an expert. He or she knows the breed well, knows how to show a dog to look his or her best, is an excellent groomer, and knows how to make a show fun for the dog. With the proper education and training you can become an expert handler and bring home the blue ribbon.

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