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by GSCat on 30 July 2017 - 05:07

I hope the following helps anyone/someone planning on doing his/her first show:

Things I learned from my first dog shows (2 Match Shows in one day):

Drive to the show venue sometime before the day of the show and find out exactly where to park and where to go upon arrival. This turned out to be really important, as on the dry run, I made a wrong turn that would have made us late for the show if it had been on the day of the show. I did the pre-show run without the dog and this allowed me to concentrate on the information and prevented the dog from associating the venue with being a cool place to play, or where friends are (really important with my dog).

Leave extra early the day of the show. Even if nothing goes wrong en route, it provides extra time for the dog to pee and poo, and for extra grooming, and mistakes don’t happen as readily when there is no rush. This worked out well because it prevented us from getting stressed and allowed us to relax and enjoy.

I trimmed my dog’s nails before the show and of course one bled. I should have either touched up the nails the day before, or left them alone. I’m glad I had the stop bleeding stuff.

Make sure clothing worn for the show has been worn for routine walks/training with the dog before the show, so the dog is familiar with it and doesn’t want to investigate or play with it (my fault).

Make sure the dog knows what dresses are. My dog didn’t (my fault) and it caused one of many issues in the ring (all of which were my fault).

Showing a bitch in heat is messy and a lot of (extra) hard work. For every hour spent in the venue, plan on at least one large bath towel, six small towels, and a pad for her panties. A second set of panties could become necessary. Also, one bottle of deodorizing spray will barely last the whole day. The Only Natural Pet Rosemary and Eucalyptus Deodorizing spray was awesome, in part because it didn’t smell foo-fooey and it’s made from human food-grade ingredients. A couple of spray bottles with bottled water are handy. Murphy’s Law says as soon as the panties are removed to head into the ring, the bleeding will increase exponentially.

More towels and some Clorox Cleanup and/or Lysol. This is one time where having a second person to help is important.

Plastic bags are good to hold dirty towels. Double-bagging and tying shut will not keep all of the odors inside.

A short traffic lead and a regular collar with the secure plastic closure clip are really helpful when first arriving and checking in, even when the show collar and lead are worn.

Nylon cuts the hands. I knew this, but figured the limited use of a lightweight 4 foot nylon lead for the shows wouldn’t be that big of a deal. I was wrong… the cutting actually made me less able to provide needed correction to my dog when it was needed. Never again.

Toys are fine, but bring something to keep the dog occupied (i.e., a chew-type toy/item that will last all day without causing a need for more water or pee/poo breaks). Especially critical if a breed in the herding group and it’s going to be a while. Even more critical if the dog has high drives.

The crate, even though actually too small (the biggest one that will fit in the car, even broken down) was helpful. The top provided a place for my dog to sit and lay instead of on the floor, and a place for me to brush and clean her without bending over. The crate would have provided a familiar place for her to sleep/take a break, except I didn’t recognize her need for this, even though I did see she was tired.

When my dog got tired, I should have left and skipped the second show. By that time, I was tired, too. Because of my bad decision to stay, my dog was not at her best and misbehaved in the ring, I was not at my best, and neither of us enjoyed the second go-round as we should have. Because of me, it could have been a disaster for others, as well.

There are a lot of really nice people out there. There were two ladies that were especially nice. They were very patient and helpful, and afterwards, they helped me with pictures of my dog with her ribbons. Kudos and thanks to them and all the other nice people I met in conjunction with the shows.

Everything that was good was because of my dog and Jesus. Everything that went wrong was because of me.

In spite of everything I did wrong, this was still a good experience for both of us. The Match Show program is awesome, and this is the type of show that should be everyone’s first.


by Hundmutter on 30 July 2017 - 15:07

Excellent set of Show tips - just hope others setting out in your position actually take some notice of what you've told them. Not convinced they will.Confused Smile

BatLike what part of 'get a (long) "SOFT LEATHER" LEASH' in my post when you were asking for advice did you not think worth taking ? Sometimes I wonder why any of us bother to answer peoples' queries. Sad Smile

by GSCat on 30 July 2017 - 21:07


I understand your frustration.

I actually did heed your advice. A few of the local places had leather, but two they told me what they had was too stiff/heavy for what I needed/was looking for, two were out and expecting more in the next few days/weeks, and the others the quality of the hardware and/or workmanship was poor. So I ordered 3 different lengths online.

They showed up yesterday afternoon. I found the box in front of the front door when we got home (sigh).

At least I was able to immediately trade out the nylon :-)

Knotting the nylon did help :-)

Thanks, again.


by Hundmutter on 31 July 2017 - 06:07

Well if you'd SAID you tried to switch to leather but couldn't get it in the time, I guess I'd have been less grumpy with you ! (I did consider that possibility, after I left the keyboard; it was a bit time-tight).
I think I was grimacing at your description of the trials of showing an in-Season bitch, too.
As I said, in Britain we usually regard that as "just not Cricket", so don't suffer all that stuff about getting panty pads on and off prior to entering the Showring !

But there's a serious point here: a few readers in your position MIGHT 'read & learn'; but there will be many for whom your tips go straight over their heads, or in one ear and out the other. Just as lurkers see what is said here (and elsewhere) about all sort of GSD and general dog-related subjects (time & space, health, breeding, housing, nutrition, training ... you name it) and then 'do the other thing', and go their own way without learning anything from others' advice or reported mistakes, there will be those reading this now who think they 'know better'. Its a big comprehension problem, and usually to the detriment of the dogs. I just don't know what we DO about it ! Not saying it isn't worth your efforts (or ours) in trying to convey more and better information into the world - just cynical about how many people it actually reaches/ lodges with.



by rtdmmcintyre on 31 July 2017 - 21:07

Generally we (personal preference) try to trim nails two days before the show. This way they will look freshly trimmed and if the quick has been nipped it is healed and doesn't have the quick stop still fresh on it when the judge is looking over the dog.
Days when you have multiple shows. get there early and find a spot that will be shady about mid day. Bring dog crate and Pillow for you. When you take lunch try to lay down for a few minutes for a quick nap so you will not be overly tired for the second show. Also don't feel the need to watch everyone else show. Know what time you need to be at the ring and be there 10 minutes early. After you show take your pup back out to his shady spot where you have his crate sat up. Try to make sure your area is also a relatively quiet area. If you are showing only one dog don't be afraid to walk from a ways out. The quiet spot will be more important then close.
for our Dobermans we bring a big thigh bone for them to chew on while in their crate. this keeps their attention instead of it being on everything else going on. Keeps them calmer.

by GSCat on 31 July 2017 - 22:07

Thanks, again.

The shows were indoors, fortunately, since it has been really, really, really hot (as in pick-up-and-carry-the-dog-across-the-blacktop-to-prevent-burns hot).

I remembered what people here had said about bitches in season bothering the males, so I found the farthest away back corner fairly close to a door and exiled us there. I stayed with my dog the whole time, so I really didn't see the show, except glimpses from afar. But it was nice and small and I learned a lot.

Curiously, is it OK to polish a dog's nails (buffing, not finger nail polish)?


by rtdmmcintyre on 01 August 2017 - 20:08

where are you located? sounds like you are talking about the fun matches put on by the Greater Panama City Kennel club

by fawndallas on 02 August 2017 - 03:08

A few other lessons learned by a Newbie. :-)

If bait does not work, or she looses interest, a small ball could work. I learned this last show (of course at the end) with my Boxer. Bait just wasn't keeping the attention enough. Tried the ball during the group stand... eyes never left me or my hand. Even the judge commented "that is the way" as she walked by.

If she is still young and new to shows, only do 1 a day in the beginning. She may be crate trained, but in and out of a crate gets boring and creates mischief. Learned that one the hard way earlier this year. Day 2 of the show and my Boxer decided it was time to play and let out energy, right in the middle of the ring. Thank the Lord it was in Rally and we were the only ones in the ring. I can't imagine the "fun" it would have been in the middle of the guardian group with dobies and the like.


by kmh on 02 August 2017 - 03:08

You had some really good points. I too am a newbie and just finished a CD on my boy. It was a lot of fun!

This newbie can say it was really nice to bring water from home. My boy won't drink water from just anywhere, so having water from home was necessary so he didn't dehydrate. I also didn't wear my show outfit from the hotel but instead carried it and changed shortly before the show started. It kept me looking neat and much less rumpled.

Congrats on your success!

by GSCat on 03 August 2017 - 01:08

My dog has such high ball drive that I can't even say or spell the word any more. A ball is too much stimulation... she goes absolutely nuts and won't do anything except do everything she can to get to/take/keep the ball. When she's older if her toy ever isn't enough to keep her attention, then maybe. Until then, the ball is strictly for playtime/wearing her (and me) out.

This GSD isn't the first dog I've had like this... another GSD and a Siberian Husky were the same way ;-)

Since the water here causes sickness in everyone, all critters and humans in my house drink Dasani. I don't know about anyplace else and didn't want to take a chance, so I took Dasani with us.

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