Alright! The warmer weather is slowly creeping in and it’s time to physically condition my dogs. Dog shows in Canada are still in question however if you’re a dog lover like I am, putting my dogs in their top condition is a major goal. Showing dogs is not just about their coats it is about bringing out the best of the best out of the show prospect. Usually within the first few months to 2 years of my show prospect’s life, I have a better idea of what they can do in the ring and whether they will be part of my breeding program.
Structure is so unbelievably important to me so I tend to choose my puppies that are of show quality. To me, that means that the breeder has used their professional knowledge, time and effort to ensure they produce dogs that best represents the breed standard be it from the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC), American Kennel Club (AKC), United Kingdom Kennel Club (UKC) etc. Yes, the breed standard is up to interpretation, so make sure you find a good mentor in your breed club or your kennel clubs to help guide you. One thing to keep into perspective is what showing is about. As the names suggest “Canadian Kennel Club”, these are dog kennel clubs. As a member of these clubs I can openly admit that we are dog enthusiasts and most members are breeders. In my last post about dogs ( Purebred or Not ) I explained why I choose purebred dogs, so you can get a bit of my reasoning.
Watching a dog’s gait or the way the move while they walk is another way that I condition my dogs. Much like horses move or “gait” the same is true for dogs. No matter how big or small, the dogs are they should look effortless as the move around the ring. For a show dog, this can be the most important 5 minutes of the show day. I remember my first time in the ring, a total rookie but I did take handling classes ( a handler is the person that takes the dog in the ring and presents the dog to the judge, this can be the owner or a professional handler ). My adrenaline was pumping and it was only a practice show. My fellow students were just as nervous.
We all lined up, stacked our dogs ready for our once around the ring. All I kept thinking is “I hope I don’t fall on my face”. From application forms, show entries, different formation patterns the judge would request, it made all us students sweat as we were all preparing for a weekend show. At the time, I showed my female Boxer who was full of energy, but she turned it down a touch and I won third place. Several years down the road I showed a male Lhasa Apso. This guy was the easiest dog to show. He loved moving around the ring like he owned it. His flowing long hair made him look like he was floating. It was so much fun but a LOT of work. Taking him to different shows and getting his Championship at 9 months of age was a group effort but it was so exciting taking a Best Puppy in Show win! Yes it was a proud moment to know I ran around the ring with my dog and I working as a team. There’s something magical about the bond I have with my dogs an unspoken quiet understanding that we’ve got a job to do.
Babbette has been my sidekick and my shadow for 2 years throughout this pandemic. Babb let me cuddle her when I had a loss in the family I literally cried into her coat while she licked my hand, she helps me stabilize when I walk or when I stumble she’s so quiet and kind. Babbette and dogs like her are why I choose to show and breed the best dogs humans can bond with. Dogs have been bred to help us humans for more than a century and I see responsible dog owners now more than ever.
Who knows? Maybe you’ll see our human-dog team in a show one day. For now, I will be out and about bonding with my dogs and getting myself conditioned as well. Bring on that Spring weather!
Babbette’s favourite frisbee is a Kong Flying Disc from RenPets. I am currently using a soft rope slip collar similar to this one on Amazon, I do not recommend this type for smaller dogs or puppies. Happy canine exercising!