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At the Dog Show

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Tips for the First-Time Spectator

  • If the grooming area is open to spectators, visit it and talk with professional groomers to get tips on keeping your dog looking his best.
  • However tempting, do not pet a dog without asking for permission first. The dog may have just been groomed in preparation for being judged.
  • At each dog show, you will find vendors and information booths. Many club booths offer helpful information to the general public.
  • Wear comfortable shoes - you'll be doing a lot of walking. Unless you bring a chair or arrive early, be prepared to stand most of the time, as seating is usually limited.
  • If you are considering getting a purebred dog, talk to the breeders and exhibitors - they are experts in their breeds
  • If you bring a baby stroller to a dog show, be careful that you do not run over any dog's tail, and that your child does not grab or poke the dogs it can reach. Avoid having them near ring entrances, which are especially crowded. Some shows prohibit baby strollers.

Conformation

Dog shows (conformation events) are intended to evaluate breeding stock. The size of these events ranges from large all-breed shows, with over 3,000 dogs entered, to small local specialty club shows, featuring a specific breed. The dog's conformation (overall appearance and structure), an indication of the dog's ability to produce quality puppies, is judged.

Junior Showmanship

The American Kennel Club licenses dogs shows (competitive exhibitions in which dogs are judged in accordance with an established standard of perfection for each breed) that test and evaluate the form and function of purebred dogs. In addition, at some shows the AKC offers classes which evaluate the abilities of the participant on the other end of the lead, the young handler, from 9- to 18-years of age.

Obedience

AKC Obedience Trials demonstrate the usefulness of the purebred dog as a companion to man. Obedience trials showcase dogs that have been trained and conditioned to behave well in the home, in public places, and in the presence of other dogs. AKC trials and tests allow exhibitors and their dogs to enjoy companionship and competition as they proudly earn AKC titles.

Agility

Agility is a sport that appeals to all dog lovers - from young people to senior citizens. It has great spectator appeal. Agility is designed to demonstrate a dog's willingness to work with its handler in a variety of situations. It is an athletic event that requires conditioning, concentration, training and teamwork. Dog and handlers negotiate an obstacle course racing against the clock.

Rally

AKC Rally is the new dog sport that is taking the nation by storm, a successful stepping stone from the AKC Canine Good CitizenŽ program to the world of obedience or agility. Rally offers both the dogs and handlers an experience that is fun and energizing. The canine team moves at their own pace through 10 to 20 stations, very similar to rally-style auto racing. Rally was designed with the traditional pet owner in mind, but it can still be very challenging for those who enjoy higher levels of competition.

The main objective of rally is to produce dogs that have been trained to behave in the home, in public places, and in the presence of other dogs, in a manner that will reflect positively on the sport of rally at all times and under all conditions.


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