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First time dog show-ers

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This topic contains 12 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Madison Martin 8 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #8625

    Nano
    Participant

    There’s a dog show here in August and I would love to enter Connor. I’ve been to a dog show but I don’t have a clue about entering, preparing, qualifiying (the papers I need, etc). I don’t have Connor’s papers yet because his sire is American and apparently that takes forever. Does that mean I can’t show him?

    Have you shown your puppy? Did you show him/her yourself or hire a handler? Did you go to a conformation class beforehand?

    I’d love to hear your first time show experiences – both from novices and veterans. I’ve visited the show webpage but I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed. Where do I start?

    Thanks! 🙂

  • #51176

    Marianne
    Participant

    I have never had a dog in the Conformation ring because neither of my dogs were show quality. Molly was too tall and Sally has an overbite. The dog has to fit the description of a Golden to a T and even then it can be a nerve wracking experience. Besides being registered with the CKC the dog cannot be neutered. My experience is that most of the exhibitors in the Conformation ring are breeders or co own with a breeder and some handle their own dogs but some have handlers who take the dog from show to show. If you are interested in this aspect with Connor then you should get your breeders opinion and pointers. Often exhibitors at shows, when asked will gladly give you benefit of their experience.

    Molly, Sally and I have competed in Obedience which is by far more forgiving. There is also Agility which can be fun. Join a good dog training club or agility club it could be fun……

  • #51181

    Nano
    Participant

    Hi Marianne,

    I do plan to participate in obedience and agility – those activities were partly why I chose a Golden. 🙂 I just thought it would be fun to do the ring at least once since he is purebred and intact. Connor is a ‘conformation puppy’ so he might have a shot in the ring. The breeder selected him with that possibility in mind although I told her that agility, obedience, etc. were much higher priorities. Actually, a breeder from California wanted to buy him but Connor was already spoken for as my puppy. I never thought I would do the show ring but when I went to a show I thought it might be an interesting experience!

  • #51174

    Lisa Schuyler
    Keymaster

    I showed Monty and was able to get his Conformation Championship title. I encourage you to give it a try! Although August is very soon!

    First thing, you’ll need help getting ready! Connor’s breeders will be a great resource for you. Also, see if there is a kennel club in your area. When Monty was a puppy, I started taking him to weekly, drop-in, conformation classes with our local all-breed kennel club so I could learn how to walk/run him around the ring, what lead to use, how to use the lead, how to stand him for the judge, and all the tips and tricks that are involved.

    Beyond that, you need to study on your own the mechanics of the dog show and who goes in the ring with who, what points are involved, how a show is judged, etc. If you go to the CanadianGoldens.com book shelf you’ll see some of the conformation books I’ve recommended. My personal favourite is “Show Me” by D. Caroline Coile Ph.D.

    If you start getting involved with a local golden retriever club, or an all-breed kennel club, you may find a group of friends that you can train and practice with. I had a group like this for a few years and we got together to help train for obedience too.

    You’ll need some grooming help and advice too – although it is easier with a youngster when they don’t have their full coat yet. Connor’s breeders will likely be able to help you out.

    I’ve got a few more conformation links on the Conformation activity page too.

    Connor will have to be registered in Canada, or if his papers aren’t back yet, you should be able to pay an extra fee to enter him as “listed”.

    Also, you’ll have to check the premium list with regards to the August show. You’ll want to know if there is a puppy entry (Junior Puppy/Senior Puppy) and when the closing date is. Your dog must be 6-9 months old to be entered as a junior puppy.

    Now that we have the archives restored, I just looked up my post after Monty’s first dog show http://canadiangoldens.com/showthread.php/6286-Our-First-Dog-Show

  • #51182

    Nano
    Participant

    Wow! Thanks for all the great advice, Lisa. I visited your ‘first show’ thread – thanks for restoring those archives. Great resource. How excited and proud you must have been to win first time out! Belated congrats. 🙂

    I will be contacting the breeder for show advice and I’m sending in my local GR club membership this morning. I’ll check out the conformation/handling classes. I’ve reserved a couple of books at the library on shows – the one you recommended is one of them.

    August may be too soon but it’s never too soon to start ‘grooming’ him for the ring, right? 🙂

  • #51175

    Lisa Schuyler
    Keymaster

    If you don’t get to enter in August’s show, be sure to go watch. Find someone knowledgeable to sit with so you can learn from them. Or better yet, see if you can volunteer to help at one of the shows. It’s a quick way to learn what is going on!

    One warning, you’ll be sure to find that almost everyone at a dog show is very opinionated 😀 Let all their bias and dog show rumblings go in one ear and out the other and you’ll have a more enjoyable time.

  • #51183

    Nano
    Participant

    I do plan to go to the show. It will be my second one and I really enjoyed the first! I’m sure Connor’s breeder will be there and though she’ll be very busy, she’s always happy to answer questions, etc. She spent time with me at the last show and Connor wasn’t even born yet!

    And thanks for the rumbles warning. I’ve heard that caution before but it always bears keeping in mind!

  • #51177

    cheslyn1
    Participant

    Sorry got lots of thoughts, etc so this may be jumbled LOL.

    I shown as a junior handler but it was 15 years since when I went into rally o with Maci and now Harley last year at a show. The breeder will be your best source and the golden club.

    Handling classes – a must. Sorry but the hard fact is judges will notice you too. Hopefully you have a selection to choice from – you want one run by someone who is excited about you wanting to try, there are lots run by veterans with novice dogs and they are not ‘nice’ to newbes. ‘

    Look for conformation fun matches – Manitoba usually has lots where I have not gone to one yet in Alberta but they were all in Edmonton on a Thursday night! These are where you get to practice and are fun. I did get to one with Harley but I had not even gone to a handling class yet —I went in holding the leash in my right hand (obedience hold) but the judge nicely commented and we tried again.

    The breeder may groom for you or recommend a professional groomer (most times a handler too). I suck with scissors so with the trimming needed on an adult coat I use a groomer. At my first show, the breeder clean him up some. It is funny to see she and the owner of Harley’s dad just took him and started grooming and accessing – I was just left standing there.

    There will be snotty people, ignore them. I know the clubs desparately need entries so their members are usually helpful and friendly (and respect that at the show – BUSY). I do not use a handler, Harley is mine and mine to do thing with. It is too be fun and I do not care about the competiveness.

    Connor – will need to be 6 months old unless there are puppy sweeps (sometimes there is a 4-6 month class). I agree with everything Lisa said. If I can find the website that has a nice summary of the ‘rules’ etc I will post it.

    Tammy

  • #51178

    cheslyn1
    Participant
    Linda G. Smith Handing Classes
    Drop ins every Sunday @ 1:00 pm
    Private classes available. Special grooming/handling classes available by appt.
    133 Marion Ave., Winnipeg, MB
    For info ph. 204-222-6601 or or e-mail ford123@mts.net

    Found this for you. Also you can order the CKC rule books from CKC without being a member. There are a few speciality pet stores in Calgary that sell them too not sure about your area.

  • #51179

    cheslyn1
    Participant

    I am not saying you have to take my advice. If you want to try and have the breeder’s full help – go for it. BUT a few comments – the show you are looking at is outdoors (hot weather maybe), and the golden club of Canada has their speciality there. It will be very busy, making it a longer day then a normal show for a puppy as the total number of goldens entered will be high.

    Also for a first show – is this close to you. For example you and Connor can go home to sleep afterwards, no hotels or other change to handle? Harley does way better at a show we can go home after from versus having to stay in a hotel although he is used to traveling lots.

    Darn – usually with such a big show some club will put on a santion match or fun match beforehand but I do not see any yet.

  • #51184

    Nano
    Participant

    @cheslyn1 49695 wrote:

    Linda G. Smith Handing Classes
    Drop ins every Sunday @ 1:00 pm
    Private classes available. Special grooming/handling classes available by appt.
    133 Marion Ave., Winnipeg, MB
    For info ph. 204-222-6601 or or e-mail ford123@mts.net

    Found this for you. Also you can order the CKC rule books from CKC without being a member. There are a few speciality pet stores in Calgary that sell them too not sure about your area.

    Thanks for the class info! I will check it out. Also for all your other insights. Very helpful.

    I contacted the local GR Club and it turns out Connor will be a few weeks shy of 6 months so he isn’t eligible for the August show. There are some shows in the fall, though, which gives me time to figure all this out.

    When I got Connor, the breeder said she would show him for me if I wanted her to which is an option but I’d really like to do it myself if I can. It’s part of the whole experience. The judges have to understand that there are going to be some novices some of the time. The breeder also recommended a groomer which I will use. I groom Connor all the time but I would need a pro to get him show ready.

  • #51180

    cheslyn1
    Participant

    I never looked but there may be some good show videos on youtube to watch too.

    Yeah the grooming is fun. I love the regular grooming time with my dogs but I sometimes wonder if I would have picked a different breed if I knew about all of the scissor/thinning work!

  • #69670

    Madison Martin
    Participant

    Hi all, I know that this thread is old, so if no one replies then I understand. I was just wondering, what grooming do you have to do before you take a Golden into the conformation ring? I know that you have to bathe them, dry them, brush them, and trim their nails, but I’m wondering what trimming is needed. This is something that I’ve often wondered about, but I can’t seem to find anything that explains it really well. Look forward to hearing from any of you, since it seems that there are people on hear that have showed in conformation! Thank you for any info that you can provide,
    Madison

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