Dog shows have significantly risen in popularity as a way to showcase specific breeds and to raise appreciation of dogs in general. Many breeders may show their dogs to make a name for themselves in the canine world to increase the chances of getting good homes and good prices for their puppies.
Individual owners may choose to show their dogs because of the opportunity to bond and spend more time with their pet. In Wyoming, there are options for 4-H shows for the kids, breed shows, and working dog trials. Dog sports are quickly catching on as well, and have similar basic requirements for raising champions. What does it take to raise a dog that will win big in the show ring or on the trial field?
When starting with a puppy, the best indicator as to what caliber of dog he will grow into is his parentage. Find a good breeder and select a puppy from proven parents that have already won in significant shows. A puppy should show great interest in its surroundings and be relatively easy to handle, as well as get along well with its litter mates. These factors become very important later in life when the dog is ready to enter the show ring. However, contrary to what some people may believe, breeding alone will never make a champion.
Diet and Exercise
A champion dog must be a prime example of what dogs of its breed should be. Therefore, the dog must be in top physical condition and have an excellent coat. Consult a qualified vet to come up with an effective exercise regimen and the best possible diet for the dog at each development level. It is very important not to do vigorous exercise too early in life, and too lax of a regimen later will result in a dog that is not in the best possible physical condition.
Animals in the show ring are expected to be groomed according to the traditions of their breed standard. To ensure that your animal is properly clipped and groomed, find a groomer who specifically works with show dogs. The owner of the neighborhood Doggy Clip & Wash may not be qualified to make the necessary preparations for a show. Also make sure that your dog’s nails are properly trimmed, excess hair is removed from between the toes (except if a specific breed standard requires the opposite), ears and teeth are clean and healthy, and that the coat is also very clean. If a judge finds dirt or dandruff on a dog, it will be marked down.
Socialization and Training
Even if an owner never intends to show a dog in an obedience class, the dog must be extremely well-behaved and even-tempered. It will also need to be perfectly at ease with strangers surrounding and handling it. Find a trainer who specializes in the specific shows for which the dog has aptitude, and who will work with both the dog and its primary caretaker throughout the necessary training. Expose the dog to as many different social conditions as possible, including taking him around other animals such as in the dog park, and introducing him to as many different humans as possible in both home settings and out in public. No matter how well-mannered and well-trained a dog gets, be prepared to provide consistent reinforcement in these areas throughout the dog’s life.
Raising a dog show champion takes a lot of hard work and financial investment. It’s not something people do just to try to make a little money. Good show dog owners have a passion for dogs and wish to promote a certain activity or breed.