In the Ring

Great Big Show World: To raise a confident show dog, socialize early.


One of the most vital ways to ensure dog-show success is to exhibit a dog that loves to be in the conformation ring. A dog that’s unhappy in the ring, no matter how well it conforms to the breed standard or how beautiful it is, will most likely lose to its more "showy” competitors –those that are outgoing, love to pose and attract attention – even those that are inferior in structure or breed type.

Step one on the path to success in the ring is to introduce your puppy to the various sounds, dogs and people it will encounter at a show. Remember my motto: Puppies learn what they repeat. Your window of opportunity to introduce your puppy to the rigors of the show ring is between 12 and 20 weeks of age – not when it’s old enough to compete in the ring. It may be too late by then.

Meet and greet
A dog meets all kinds of people at shows, most of whom want to put their hands all over it. Once your puppy is leash trained and happily trotting at your side (ideally at 12 to 14 weeks of age), take it out in public to meet as many different people as you can. Socialization will help your dog do well during shows, where it will encounter many kinds of people.

Cautiously introduce your puppy to children of all ages (those who walk, crawl or sit in strollers), adults wearing all types of outfits (hats, heavy coats, swishy rain coats), and older people who use walkers and wheelchairs.



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