If you want to make a good impression at the dog show and walk away with an award or two, then you need to have your dog well trained. The two of you need to be able to work together as a team, and that takes more than just being a good pet owner. You need to learn how to be a good trainer. Here are a few tips that can help you.
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- Train out aggression
If either you or your dog show signs of aggression, the you are not going to win points from the judges. You’ll want to make sure that your dog listens quickly and is very responsive to your commands. You also need to be able to handle your dog’s erratic behavior. Most importantly, though, make sure that your dog is not aggressive toward other dogs. You can do this by acclimating your dog to various breeds, ensuring that your dog is able to get along with them. The best way to do this is just have your dog spend some time with other kinds of dogs on a regular basis.
- Get a routine that works for your dog
You may have seen a routine on the internet that you want your dog to perform, but not all dogs are able to pull of certain routines. You have to find what works well for your particular dog. Determine whether your dog is strong, fast, athletic or simply very smart and build a routine around the dog’s character traits.
- Know the rules of the show
Not every dog show is the same, so make sure you understand the rules for the show you will be taking your dog to, such as what kind of dogs they permit, what kind of routines or performances they allow and what is expected of you and your dog. You want to be on your best behavior for the dog show, and you want your dog to do likewise, but that won’t be possible if you are not fully aware of what is considered good behavior at that particular dog show.
- Prepare your dog for on and off the leash
Some dogs simply don’t like their leash, and yours has to be listening to you whether he is on the leash or not. You’ll have to practice with your dog in both scenarios, because it’s very common that dog shows will require both leashed and off-leash activities from your dog. You have to maintain complete control over your dog, and the tricky part will be to pull that off while there is a crowd of people around as well as other dogs that can serve as distractions for your pet.
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- Make sure your dog is vaccinated
You don’t want your dog to spread any diseases around the dog show, and more importantly, you don’t want your dog to catch anything unpleasant there. Ensure your dog has had all of her shots up to date. You should also talk to your vet about what is recommended for your dog as far as vitamins, minerals and vaccinations before going to a dog show. That can be a very different environment from where your dog regularly spends her time.
- Help your dog get used to being handled
Dog shows often involve a lot of up-close inspection of the dogs, so if your dog doesn’t like to be touched by strangers or even be close to strangers, you will have to work with him on that. You can start introducing your dog to as many people as possible, taking him out for walks, joining puppy kindergarten or other events where lots of dogs and other people will be present. This forced socialization is the best way to get your dog used to the kind of environment a dog show will offer.
All of this takes time, and even if your dog doesn’t do sensational at her first show, she will get better and better as your work with her, and she will become true dog show material in time. Use these tips to prepare your dog for all the challenges and changes in environment she will face, and it might surprise you how well she does.