Preparation for Puppies in Dog Shows

Learn how to start your puppy early into the dog show life.

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The first few times you do this, just give your puppy attention and fuss when he is in the proper position. Then slowly start to introduce a soft brush. Never cause him any pain at this early stage for, if you do, you may turn him off to grooming for the rest of his life! Just go through the motions of looking inside his ears and inspecting his toes so that he gets used to your fiddling about with them. Later it will come as no surprise when you clip his nails or pluck his ears gently with the tweezers.

Many dogs are reluctant to lie down when being dried with a blow dryer, so you also should begin accustoming your pup to this at the beginning of your grooming training. During your practice sessions, switch on the dryer in the background to let the puppy get used to the noise. When you eventually start the drying process, be careful not to pull at any knots or otherwise hurt him, or he will associate the dryer with pain. Also take care that the airflow is neither too hot nor too cold. Clearly some dogs take more easily to grooming sessions than others, but if you have a well-trained dog, you will find that grooming is thoroughly pleasurable for both of you.


Teaching Your Puppy to Stand

A very important aspect of training for the show ring is getting your puppy used to standing still when required. In the show ring, a medium-sized or large-breed dog will have to stand on the floor only, but judges usually examine smaller breeds on a table and sometimes on the ground as well. In this case, you will need to get your puppy used to standing on both surfaces. Make sure that the table you use to practice standing has a non-slip surface, for if the pup does not feel sure of his footing, or if the table wobbles, this will cause difficulties.


Practice standing your puppy with his head facing your right, for this is the most usual direction in which he will be shown. In some countries, though not all, it is permissible to stand a dog in the opposite direction, something that is frequently done if a dog has more esthetically appealing markings on one side, for example. There are other exceptions, such as with the Pekingese and the Bulldog, which are usually shown head-on.


In most breeds, your aim will be to teach your dog to stand with his feet placed naturally below his body, so that his weight is evenly placed on all four feet. A notable exception is the German Shepherd Dog, which calls for one of the hind legs to be extended backwards slightly. If you have visited a few shows to study your breed before entering your puppy at shows, you will soon get to know what is expected.


Stand is the usual command, using a firm voice, with No each time the enthusiastic youngster tries to disappear to do something more exciting. You should be able to practice standing almost as soon as you obtain your puppy, once you have given him a couple of days to get used to you and his new home.

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