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Dog show question

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  • Dog show question

    This is for those of you who either attend or enter AKC conformation shows. I recently attended what seemed to be a fairly large AKC show, over 500 entries for one day. I'm not very knowledgable about shows but it seemed that the event wasn't spectator friendly. No viewing stands (seats) and very little room between vendors and the ring itself so it was very hard to watch without seeming to be in someones way. Mind you I did my best to stay out of the way and not touch any dogs or bother the handlers in any way but got looks of disgust anyway for taking up breathing room. I stayed at the far end of the ring away from the entries for the ring as well. Is this normal? Do the showing world of dogs have their little click and would rather not have anyone but the people exibiting? If so why even open the shows to the public at all? People who asked us who we were there to see were suprised we didn't know anyone showing that day. I imagine the vendors who traveled to sell dog supplies and such were disappointed no one was there to buy their stuff, I figure exhibitors have more things on their minds than shopping. Oh well just my personal vent.
    Last edited by Boxerfan; 04-30-07, 08:45 PM.

  • #2
    I have felt the same way

    I guess everyone is under major stress!
    I've been to probably 10 shows here in Lakeland & really wanted to talk to Poodle people the last time, but couldn't get thru the thick air.
    One guy with an Irish Water Spaniel was the only kind soul who would give me the time of day. He could have had an attitude, as his dog was the only one who showed up for the class therefore his dog was not going to get major points as I understand it. But he was very nice. We talked while he brushed.

    It will be good to see what others have to say & maybe get some spectator tips.
    I know several people here have show dogs.



    • #3
      I show in conformation, and yes, I can see where your comments are coming from. It is more exhibitor oriented than it is spectator oriented- you won't see seating at most shows other than Westminster or Eukanuba. Most people who are showing are either nervous or stressed before going into the ring- we have to get there, find a place to set up, make sure our dogs are exercised and groomed, pick up our arm bands, and be ready to go into the ring when our class is called. Many of us travel long distances to get to shows, and it is a big investment of time and money with the goal being to get those wins. Our dogs may get over-excited or worked up if you approach and pet them right before they go in the ring. If you see someone is getting ready to go in the ring or is grooming their dog- this is the worst time to approach. Most people are a lot more relaxed and open to talk after the showing is over. I always try to be friendly and approachable if people show interest in my dogs, I love talking about my dogs and my breed- but right before I show that's where my focus is.


      • #4

        that you had that experience. Sure are some rude or at least unfriendly people at the dog shows, but should be some nice ones too. Here in CA a 500 dog entry would be miniscule, (can't think of any that small) small here is 1200 and large over 3000 and even a few over 4000. Dog show people do buy from the Vendors lots though, in-between the classes that they are showing in. Some here have stands for observers to sit on, but most of the classes are bring your own chair and plop down at ring side. This is usual, and I don't know why people would have looked oddly at you for watching. Towards the end with the different groups and Best in Show many many people are often watching, again often with their own fold up chair or some shows provide never enough fold up chairs.

        Sometimes an AKC representative has had a "tour" of the show and answered questions for visitors. I do think that few of us reach out to new people, though I think it is great fun to.

        So yes I agree many are not really a good public event. You can though usually go visit the grooming areas and see miracles of grooming.

        I do know that most exhibitors are a bit edgy and non-focusable before going in the ring, even some pro handlers still get a bit nervous. After showing though the breeder owners often stand around and chat a bit. The handlers often go back to their set up and get or prepare the next dog/dogs to be shown.
        Money will buy you a pretty good dog but it won't buy the wag of it's tail.


        • #5
          I think that spectators should be more a part of the show because they are there to learn more about there favorite breed because they are looking to purchase a pure breed dog. Or they just love dogs and like to see all the breeds. As an exhibitor I believe shows should hand out a flyer to people telling them how to act at a dog show. Most people don't know that exhibitors aren't in the best possible situation to talk a whole lot. They don't know when the best time to talk to exhibitors is. Most don't even know how a dog show works. So I think they should have a FAQ flyer for all attenders.
          My advice is when you go to a dog show, and want to talk to an exhibitor, you have to find one at their set up, who looks like they are just sitting there or not rushing to get there dog ready. Those exhibitors will be more willing to give you any information that you need. Exhibitors at the ring side were probably giving you the old "Oh please don't talk to me I'm busy" look. Imagine trying to talk to Tiger Woods before he is about to swing. Not a good time. When they are at the set up, ask them if they have a minute to answer a few questions. If they do great if not hopefully they will at least be nice enough to say we will be done at 3:00 you can come back then.


          • #6

            So yes I agree many are not really a good public event. You can though usually go visit the grooming areas and see miracles of grooming.


            There was a building designated for grooming but I didn't go in, I figured people prepping dogs wouldn't want alot of people wandering around distracting dogs. Like I said I before I tried to be as courteous as possible however I did get to see some dogs that we don't see in the grooming shop. The haircuts on the bedlingtons were pretty cool. I was also suprised to see the lack of grooming on some other breeds, a few looked liked they'd been dragged out of the backyard into the ring. Even a great pyrenese isn't supposed to look that natural


            • #7
              I've been at shows all over the country, and honestly, it depends a lot on the show, the people and the location. Most shows have multiple rings (10-15 is normal here). There is usually some limited seating around the outside of the rings, but most spectators arrive with folding chairs. The figure out which rings have the most of the breeds they want to see and park next to them.

              Next time you go to a show, feel free to walk around the grooming area. Honestly, I think most people are more likely to spend time talking with you there. I know I field questions all the time when I'm getting a dog ready for the ring. Most of the serious grooming is already done (for most breeds -- not the poodles! LOL) and what you're doing there is simply fluffing and primping. I put a 150+ pound newfie on a grooming table and it draws attention. Especially with the bib and drool. People ask all the time if they can pet them. I try to be honest with people, if I'm walking into the ring, I say so. I say give me 10 minutes and you can pet and hug on him all you want. If I'm out of the ring, the answer is always SURE! He'd LOVE that. I stand by with a drool towel for when poor child or adult comes up with a suprise handful of slobber.

              All in all it depends on the people. Don't be frustated. If you can find the right people, you can meet good friends, learn awesome grooming tricks, or simply find out more about a breed you dont know about...


              • #8
                I agree with you

                Try Bench Shows. the dogs sit all day waiting to go in the ring. Many are even selling pups. Much nicer. The dogs sit on benches with a theme or dog breed logo behind them. The breeders are promoting their breed and will talk to you. Someone always has to stay with the dogs while one is in the ring. The humans get lonely while the dogs snooze. They even have a lot of food and some will offer you chips etc. haha It's a DOG PARTY


                • #9
                  The only benched show I'll go near as an owner or handler is westminster and that's only because I have to. I think they are horrible, and the dogs suffer because of it. Not only do the dogs have to stay all day (which is ridiculous... a dog showing at 8AM should not have to sit around until 5PM) but for some indoor shows they aren't even allowed outside. For larger dogs, it's just impossible. It's too hot, too cramped and not fair to the people or dogs. Yes, it allows the public to get closer. But the trade off for the dog just isn't worth it.

                  And for breeders selling puppies at shows, shame on them. The only way we're going to educate the public about doing research and finding the right dog for them and the right breeder for them, is to stop allowing that "ooh look a cute fuzzy puppy I can take home right now" mentality.


                  • #10
                    I think the benced show dogs didn't sell there

                    I think the pups were potential show dogs not for sale. The pups were not at the show, just mentioned as some possibly for sale. The pups there were not that young, six mos or so. I did't explain that correctly. They were not selling at the show for impulse buyers. I am sure the Cow Palace would not allow it anyway. I agree it is no fun for a dog, but a way to see up close how they are groomed.


                    • #11
                      The original dog shows were benched. The dogs assigned an area that was listed in the catalog and had to be there from start to finish, except for grooming, potty and exhibiting. Sadly I believe that only two clubs in the US still hold benched shows (anyone out west please correct me) and they are the Chicago Int'l and Detroit KC.

                      Imagine a grooming contest. The exhibitors maybe a touch stressed. The same at a dog show. Exhibitors need to get to the show at an early enough time to find a space to groom, set up, and do the grooming. The show is on a time schedule, if the poodle is in at 9:00 there is no missing the time - miss it and forfit the entry fee.

                      I have had over the years, spectators that grab dogs off of the tables or out of ex-pens because they thought they were cute(the dog). Several dogs over the years including the dog in my avitar were ringside and sprayed up only to have a spectator crush down the top knot as they petted and said "this is to cool." I have had pop and cigarettes dropped onto my dogs just as they were to go into the ring and much more. Yes exhibitors are leary of spectators.

                      As an spectator, take a chair, sun screen rain gear, pack a lunch and make a picnic out of it. Ask the exhibitor when it would be a good time to speak with them. Most will be glad to talk with you once they are de-compressed.

                      Go watch your breed. Watch many breeds and you'll be surprised what you learn. Understanding a breeds movement and purpose will do wonders for you on the grooming table. Watch the groomers at the grooming tent. Stay back and observe or ask if they need help holding dogs.

                      What I have found with new exhibitors is that they zoom in late, fluff their dog, show it, lose and really don't know why (their opinion usually is the judge was either blind or crooked) then they pack up and once again zoom out of the grounds for home. Spectators will do the same watch one breed and leave.

                      One needs to get there early, observe and question, question and question again, and stay there until the last dog is chosen BIS. IMHO it is the only way to learn - I tell people looking for a first show dog - go to a years worth of shows, every weekend and observe and question BEFORE you buy that dog.


                      • #12
                        I really don't have anything to add. Just reading this thread has brought back many of my memories of my first job, working with a dog handler and going to shows. It was fun, exciting and go go go. It was too long ago to remember how things really worked, but I did enjoy it.

                        Thanks for the stroll down memory lane.
                        "There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face."


                        • #13
                          Chris you're absolutely right. Recently, I had someone come up to a black newf I was getting ready to show (literally standing ring side) and pet his head and back before I could say anything. Apparently the person had just done the same thing to a collie, or sheltie or some other chalked dog because they left large amounts of white chalk on this black dog's coat! I was so frustrated.

                          And also add Westminster to your list of benched shows.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by 4Newfs View Post
                            Chris you're absolutely right. Recently, I had someone come up to a black newf I was getting ready to show (literally standing ring side) and pet his head and back before I could say anything. Apparently the person had just done the same thing to a collie, or sheltie or some other chalked dog because they left large amounts of white chalk on this black dog's coat! I was so frustrated.

                            And also add Westminster to your list of benched shows.
                            Do large shows like Westminster allow chalk or other powdering? How do judges who touch several dogs in a ring keep from transferring these substances from dog to dog? I imagine people trying to keep touching the dogs would be frustrating. In horse shows I've seen pretty much the same thing, idiot parents who want their kids to pet the horsies.


                            • #15
                              4newfs said:
                              ""And also add Westminster to your list of benched shows.""

                              I'm bad.

                              That is what I get for writing something when I'm exhausted.

                              Exhibiting at Westminster can become a thread all of its own.