While not strictly speaking local, it is very common for people showing their dogs to travel very far to get what they need or show under the judges they like. This particular show was in Albion, NY. The Western New York Shetland Sheepdog Specialty show which turned out to be a major both days. A major is any show where there the winning dog(s) get 3, 4, or 5 points. In order to Champion your dog you need 2 majors and a total 15 points shown under several judges.
For someone going to a show the first time, it is completely nerve wracking and exhausting, but it is also exhilarating and fun. Of course to enjoy the dog show you don’t have to show a dog but it is much more fun to be participating than just watching.
The show really starts the night before the show, or depending on travel even further back. The night before you must groom your dog. This can be anything from simply brushing to a full bath. For Shetland Sheepdogs the minimum is at least a waterless bath, followed by nails, brushing, and cutting off the whiskers as well as thinning certain parts of the coat, depending on the dog. Then theirs the Chalking, and conditioners. Then it’s bed time.
The next morning you have to get to the show if your not camping at the show; which isn’t always possible. That morning your going to need to completely re-groom your dog, minus the nails and whiskers. After your done chalking and conditioning the dog you’ll want to go and get your number and check in. If you have time before your class watch the judge to see what patterns they use so you know what to expect when you go in the ring.
Shortly before your turn in the ring you’ll want to grab your dog, a spray bottle of water, and a brush and head to the ring to wait your class. Just before you go in, in the case of Shelties anyway, puff up their collar, which is a never ending battle. Head on into the ring. You may be able to leave your spray bottle and brush somewhere along the fence but at the very least make sure your brush is available as well as some bait.
Hopefully you’ll do well in your class and be able to go on to either winners dog or winners bitch class, depending on if your dog is a boy or a girl. If not, well there will be other shows. Sit back and enjoy the rest of the show. If this really is your first time don’t expect to get far, things can be . . . political. . . Instead watch the other competitors and their dogs, you may pick up some hints and tricks to try next time your’ in the ring.