How to preparing a dog for a dog show might seem like a walk, but in reality, there are many aspects to take into account and to take care of, also and above all in order not to stress the animal too much. In addition to stringent aesthetic parameters, it is also important to consider behavior since during the exhibition he will have to respond to commands and precise indications.
So here are some useful tips on how to prepare a dog for a dog show.
How a dog show works
Almost all of us have been to a dog show or at least we have seen it on television and we were speechless in front of the beauty and the evolutions carried out diligently by the dogs. Behind the organization, however, there is a lot of work and commitment.
The ENCI (Italian National Canine Organization) identifies 3 types of dog events, which aim to evaluate the aesthetic qualities and abilities of the participating dogs. The dog technical events are divided into :
- exposures that are based on the evaluation of the dog’s morphology compared to the breed standard;
- canine tests useful to understand what are the skills and style of the dogs in the competition;
- races that serve instead to understand the potential in terms of speed of the animal.
Based on the prizes awarded during these events, there is a further subdivision of:
- International: when there is the issue of Certificates valid for FCI International Championships;
- National: when there is the issue of Certificates for the Italian Championships recognized by ENCI;
- Regional: there is never the issue of Certificates;
- Meetings: events organized by specialized associations.
Depending on the importance of the event, obviously, the value of the prizes won changes.
Participate in a dog show
If this kind of event is completely new to you, the first step is to participate as a spectator, so as to understand a bit how they work. Seeing how the owners move and how the dogs behave during an exhibition is useful to prepare properly in case you want to participate later. In fact, you can test the waters and study the competition.
As you have seen, there are 4 types of events and to begin with, it is advisable to choose a regional dog show, so as to gain some confidence.
To participate in a dog show you will need the registration form (online or paper) which you can find directions on the website of the event and on that of the ENCI delegation that organizes it.
Your dog must then be registered in the canine registry and must have the pedigree. The anti-rabies vaccine and the qualification booklet, which can be purchased from the ENCI delegation closest to your home, are also mandatory. This document is the summary of all the events in which the dog participates and the votes received.
Here are the registration classes for competitions and events that divide the dogs according to their age on the day of the show.
- Baby: from 4 to 6 months;
- Puppy: from 6 to 9 months;
- Junior: from 9 up to 18 months;
- Intermediate: from 15 up to 24 months;
- Free: from 15 months;
- Work: for 15 months (with a copy of the booklet with details of the test passed);
- Samples: from 15 months (with a copy of the diploma obtained);
- Veterans: from 8 years;
- Out of competition
Certificates issued during dog shows
The exhibitions allow dogs to obtain prizes and certifications if they have particular qualities. But what are these certificates? Here are the main ones:
- CAC: Championship Certificate of Attitude issued by judges at national and international exhibitions;
- RCAC: it is the reserve of the CAC and therefore has a slightly lower value;
- CACIB: Certificate of Aptitude for the International Beauty Championship issued at international exhibitions;
- RCACIB: is the reserve of the CACIB;
- BOB: Best of Breed or the Best of Breed;
- BOS: Best of Opposite Sex, or the Best of Opposite Sex;
- BOG: Best of Group, ie the Best of the Grouping;
- BIS: Best of all the show.
The qualifications issued during a dog show
Excellent: assigned to the dog that comes closest to the ideal standard of the breed;
Very Good: assigned to the dog balanced in proportion and in good physical condition, with some venial defects, but not morphological;
Good: assigned to the dog that possesses characteristics of the breed, albeit with some defects;
Fairly Good: assigned to the dog that does not have remarkable qualities or that does not have great physical conditions.
Tips for preparing your dog for a dog show
After understanding how a dog show works, let’s find out some useful tips to prepare it better.
Register the dog
In advance, find out about the show you wish to participate in, read the rules, download the documentation and send your registration.
Check your vaccinations
We have seen that to participate in a dog show you need vaccinations, first of all for rabies, but a lot also depends on the time of year and the event. Plan well in advance and get your dog in good standing!
Train the dog to the crowd
Dog shows are chaotic, full of people and other dogs, so it is essential to get your dog used to the confusion and noise, otherwise the necessary concentration will fail. Bring some tasty biscuits with you, with which you will be able to regain the attention of the animal in case it is dazed by too many surrounding stimuli. Use the same snack that you press it with when correctly executing a command, so the dog will perceive the gesture as familiar.
Get used to it on a leash
Special leashes are on sale in specialized shops, used during exhibitions. The leash will help you work on your dog’s posture, so you can train him to stand tall. To achieve this, walk slowly alongside him while keeping the leash up.
Train him to walk and sit still
The dog’s walk must be fluid and elegant and reaching certain levels is not easy at all, but it requires a lot of training and commitment. A well-trained dog should trot (the trot is the most popular walking rhythm during a show) by moving the right front and left hind legs simultaneously.
Equally important is teaching the dog to remain still: the animal must remain perfectly still, so that the judge can examine it in peace.
These workouts are a source of fatigue and stress in the long run, so it is always advisable to contact your vet for support.