• You must have a good dog.
  • Study the breed standard - really read to understand it, don't just listen to bits quoted by others. Your National Club may an illustrated standard for clarification. Learn your dog's strengths and weaknesses.
  • Talk to successful exhibitors. Most will take the time to talk to you if you seem serious and chose the right time, i.e. wait until they are done showing for the day. Try to listen more than you talk.
  • Learn to groom and condition your dog according to accepted show standards. For some, this will take time and practice to learn. This is another benefit your mentor can provide.
  • Go to shows and matches. Start learning all the unwritten rules of dog shows - like always cleaning up after your dog.
  • Join an all-breed kennel club in your area, like ICCKC, and a regional club for your breed if one is available
  • Attend as many handling seminars as become available in your area. We all start as rank beginners, we've all embarrassed ourselves - just get started! Have a friend video you and your dog in the ring, so that you watch and critique yourself later.
  • Travel to national and regional specialties to see a larger gathering of your breed. Subscribe to the specialty magazine(s) for your breed of dog.
  • Learn to evaluate your own dog and your competition honestly. If you are losing consistently, tuck your hurt feelings in your pocket, and start finding out why. Is your dog too young? Out of condition or poorly groomed? Do you need to improve your handling skills? Here's the tough one - is your dog just not as good as the competition?
  • Cost: entry fees, your time, travel expenses - gas, van or motorhome? motel? meals? missed work?
More information is available at American Kennel Club website


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©Idaho Capital City Kennel Club ~ 2012