What does it take to show a dog in a competition like the Westminster Dog Show?
What is involved in preparing a dog of any breed for a competition? I takes hours of preparation to compete in competitions from the local level to the national and international level such as the Westminster Dog Show. In addition to preparation, you must have a handler that communicates well with the dog and most importantly the right dog.
Westminster is a dog show which evaluates a dogs conformation compared to the standard of that dogs breed while combining the dogs natural gait and structural correctness. There are seven groups, with the breeds of dogs falling into one of the seven groups. The dog and breed that best represents that group is select to compete in Best of Show. The Champion of Best in Show is selected from these top seven competitors. The seven groups are as follow:
In addition to conformation shows, there are many other dog competitions such as: schutzhund, agility, obedience and scent detection just to name a few.
Preparation for a Dog Show
Proper nutrition is extremely important to a dogs performance and can greatly affect how a dog feels and performs depending on the nutritional value of its diet. Nutrition also affects a dogs coat, luster, shine and condition.
Dogs that are competing must be in physical condition to participate in the event in which they are entered. Physical fitness is important to the dogs performance. Additionally, a dogs physical fitness affects their physical and mental stamina. Trainers design specific physical fitness routines that are customized for their dogs needs.
A dogs appearance is extremely important in conformation competitions. Hours are invested in bathing, grooming, clipping, brushing and blowing dry a dogs coat to obtain a desired look.
Showing a dog in a competition, whether in a conformation show like Westminster or an obedience trial, requires practice. For the Westminster a dog must learn how to gait, a handler must determine the correct speed accentuating the dogs strongest characteristics. The dog must learn how to stand, or stack. A dog may have to hold the standing stacked position for long periods of time without moving. All of these exercises must be practiced to perfection.
In addition, competitions like schutzhund, AKC obedience and agility a dog is required to perform specific exercises to the point of complete consistency and obedience. In schutzhund, a dog must compete in three phases tracking, obedience and protection. Each phase has specific exercises a dog must execute with the utmost accuracy. It takes hours and even years to accomplish consistent flawless routines everyone strives for.
To compete in high level competitions like Westminster, the German Shepherd Dog Club of America’s (GSDCA) IPO Nationals or the WUSV World Championship (German Shepherds) a dog must first compete in smaller trials or dog shows earning the position to compete at the highest levels like Westminster or the GSDCA IPO Nationals.
What are the Benefits to Competing?
- Interaction with your dog
- Opportunity for you and your dog to learn
- Exercise for you and your dog
- Meeting new people who are enthusiastic about dogs
- Achieving and reaching goals
- Everyone can participate at some level
It is always fun and exciting to watch dogs at high levels of competition whether it be Westminster or the WUSV German Shepherd World Championships in Europe. It is clear to see that there is a great deal of time, effort, thought and preparation that goes into competing at any level. Look into ways that you and your dog can become involved.
Watch Below for the final round of the Westminster Dog Show!
Contact Happy Valley Kennel concerning basic or advance obedience lessons, tracking lessons or start working on your CGC Canine Good Citizen today.
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