So, are you ready to show your dog? That depends. For shows that offer sub-novice or basic obedience classes your dog needs to be able to walk on a loose leash with minimal commands while you perform a heeling pattern that includes right and left turns, about turns, fast, slow and figure-eight. Your dog needs to sit automatically when you come to a stop or with no more than one command and NO pulling. Your dog needs to perform a sit stay while you walk to the end of a 6 foot leash and remain there till you call them. They need to come promptly with no pulling on the leash and sit in front of you in the “noes to toes” position. They then need to perform either a finish right or finish left without you moving your feet or pulling on the leash. The dog needs to stand on command and remain in position while you walk to the end of the leash, the judge examines the dog, and you return to heel position. Finally your dog needs to be able to perform a 1 minute sit stay and 3 minute down stay while you are at the end of the leash and without you giving any additional commands. Remember you are not allowed to have food or toys in the ring with you!
For shows offering basic or novice rally your dog must be able to do all of the above exercises plus be able to perform all 30 of the Novice Rally signs listed on the AKC website. Remember that it is YOUR responsibility to learn these signs. The judge may explain them to you during the walk through but will not explain them to you when you are on course. Some of the requirements at this level of Rally include 360 and 270 degree circles right and left, changing from a sit to down to sit, weaving around cones, fast forward from sit, and down from stand.
For shows offering basic or Novice Junior Showmanship, you must first have appropriate clothing and know the basic showmanship patterns and ring etiquette. You also must have the correct collar and leash for your breed and color of dog. The dog must be able to stand still while stacked in their specific breeds correct position. You must know the correct speed at which to gait your dog.
Finally, for shows offering basic agility, you must have completed Intro to Agility A and be enrolled in Intro to Agility B or higher at DTCSP. If you have taken agility classes at another facility you will need to demonstrate your dogs proficiency to me so that I can sign off on your entry form.
As you can see there is quite a bit that both you and your dog need to master before you enter your first dog show. For our new members I strongly recommend you attend both the October Fun Match and the November Scholarship show WITHOUT your dog. Hang out around the rings and watch our more experienced members compete. See what showing your dog is really like. Then work really hard towards preparing for our December show. At that point we can evaluate your performance and determine if you should set the State Fair as a goal, or wait a few more months before you hit the ring for your first dog show experience!