Our annual end-of-summer contest is here, come on down to the Dave's Garden County Fair!

Does Anyone Show Dogs??

northeast, IL(Zone 5a)

I just recently got my first Afghan puppy in quite a few years, and have been away from the show ring for about 20 years. I used to show in both conformation and obedience, and would really like to get back to it. We're going to start out with a few matches, and take it from there. Anyone else out there that shows?

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Momcat-Used to-years ago German Shepherds

Ada, OK(Zone 7a)

Use to show in obedience years ago, i still "obedience train" my dogs even though i do not show them. Also i teach them lots of tricks. I believe it helps build their confidence. Good luck with your shows.

Camilla, GA(Zone 8a)

4 of my 5 are rescued strays, so no show, only for the family..LOL

I have never shown dogs myself but my sister used to. I aquired a few of her dogs when they retired and, Loved them the remainder of their years, It was great to get a dog that I have known since puppy hood but was already well behaved. This past year DH decided it was time we got a puppy,Kids too, So I was outnumbered. So now I have a 8mo old black lab. LOL, Way more energy than I'm used to in a dog. But he's great and we all love him.

Metro DC, MD(Zone 7a)

Thought I'd revive this old thread to see who is showing. I'm looking at taking my first steps inside the conformation ring and need to learn about handling. Anyone out there care to help out a newbie? =)

Momcat, if you're still watching this thread, I'd love to know how your pup did in the ring. Afghans are gorgeous dogs!

Circle Pines, MN(Zone 4b)

When I was thinking about showing Mish, I was told there were conformation classes at many places that do dog training. You may want to check into those - they will help train the dog how to behave in the ring, and help teach you as well. In the meantime, check with your local chapter of your breed club, and ask if they can point you to puppy matches. Everyone is an amateur, but you can get some experience and maybe even a few ribbons under your belt!

Good luck!

Metro DC, MD(Zone 7a)

Thanks, Zarebeth, I've contacted my training club and am considering a few different upcoming classes. I kind of wanted to pick the brains of some experienced people here though. =)

Russell, KY(Zone 6b)

Most any all breed club will hold conformation classes. Despite how easy it looks on the teevee, walking in a straight line with a dog while keeping one eye on the judge and one eye on the dog is not as easy as it looks. That leaves "no eyes" to look where you are going and it is easy to trip yourself up both figuratively and literally.

Practice setting your dog up in front of a mirror if you can- he rarely looks like you think he does. If you haven't a mirror that works have someone take hundreds of photos of him stacked so you realize how you are making him appear. Stop at nothing to get your dog as well socialized and accepting of strangers handling as possible- he has to be rock solid, and not all judges are soft spoken and sweet. Make sure he is gone over by smokers, drinkers, men with beards, women wearing bottles of perfume and so on.

Practice gaiting until the dog knows exactly what you want. There's nothing worse than watching a handler going too slow with a dog that wants to really move out, or someone flying by so quickly you can't even follow the feet.

Presentation is everything in the US (IMO) and so your grooming and conditioning have to be impeccable- lots of conditioning, which means waiting until he is old enough to handle it. Your grooming habits and techniques need to be perfect to preserve your coat- you really need the help of a mentor or at least a breed email list to help you.

Personally, I would advise attending a specialty or two and networking amongst old timers and see if you can strike up a friendship with someone to show you the ropes. You can schlepp crates and exercise dogs for them in a barter, and as they trust you then maybe you will be allowed to begin brushing. That is the best way to learn IMO.

If your dog is really worth showing your breeder will be, or at least should be, available to help you. I mean no disrespect to non show quality dogs at all, but with the price of showing nowadays there's no point in taking out something that really isn't up to par both in conformation and behavior.

Metro DC, MD(Zone 7a)

Agreed on all points, Cearbhaill, and that's very much my plan. I am working very closely with my breeders but they are several hundred miles away. I have a background with riding and showing horses - dressage being my discipline of choice these days - so I look at my breed with an eye for athletic Warmbloods as my preferred Type. I picked my puppy based on that physical Type, among other things, especially health & temperament.

What I specifically was interested in asking about is the methods used in keeping a dog moving straight, rather than with his haunches out/in as I so often see in the conformation ring (yuck!). I know how to deal with straightness from the back of a horse, but I am interested in knowing how dog handlers train for straightness on the ground, without the aids of sidereins, etc. My thought is that using some groundpoles might come in handy? What do you think?

Russell, KY(Zone 6b)

Work along side a wall?

Is he crabbing?
Is this your puppy?
Their bodies go through some strange stages as the parts all grow at different speeds.

If it is the puppy I wouldn't worry about that sort of fine point yet and instead concentrate on socializing and other ring behavior.
If it's not the puppy I would have someone watch him coming and going, or better yet tape it to try and figure out if it is conformational i.e. not balanced on both ends, or just moving silly. It could be that just changing speeds could really make a big difference.

Metro DC, MD(Zone 7a)

Actually, no, I'm not seeing it in Z yet, (he's not quite 12 wks old) but I anticipate it down the road because I have noticed a very high percentage of show dogs doing it ... and I don't want to be one of them. =) I am all about socialization at this time and am holding off on conformation class for a while. I want to try to make everything fun fun fun for him.

You will find that I am someone who likes to do a LOT of research ahead of time, rather than wait until the problems arise before looking for a fix. It probably drives some people crazy. heh heh

Russell, KY(Zone 6b)

Don't anticipate problems!!
Believe me, when you do have one it will be something you never even thought of!

Metro DC, MD(Zone 7a)

LOL - I watched what seemed like hundreds of "side-winders" at the National Specialty show last year. It is one of those things that is quite common and is something that a horse trainer cannot stand to see. The trainer in me is very curious about how this is resolved.

northeast, IL(Zone 5a)

Wow, this thread is old!!

Well the Afghan puppy I was referring to is now MBIF DC TopFlite Blue Willow SC, FCh (Multiple Best In Field Dual Champion TopFlite Blue Willow Senior Courser, Field Champion).

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Metro DC, MD(Zone 7a)

CONGRATULATIONS!!! He's gorgeous! (he, right?)

northeast, IL(Zone 5a)

Since then, I've gotten:

Wings (Summerstorm's Beneath My Wings SC) who is one major shy of his Ch. title,

Sammi, Willow's sister from a repeat breeding, who is pointed, but broke her leg as a pup. It wasn't set quite right, and she tends to throw that leg out a bit when she moves.

Trouble, who has a JC (junior courser title, and most of his Field Championship), but has an attitude problem. He was taken back from a home by his breeder, and was abused as a pup. He is dominant aggressive, and I can't trust him in any situation that might be stressful to him, so he just stays home. His litter brother was #1 afghan in conformation a couple of years ago.

and the new kid, Hayley, who has 7 points, including one major.

I've got more pictures posted at http://windigoafghans.blogspot.com/


Thumbnail by momcat
northeast, IL(Zone 5a)

Well, no, Willow is a she!!


Metro DC, MD(Zone 7a)

Holy cow, you're really into it! Do you handle your own dogs (based on the photos, I assume not?)?

Are you familiar with the straightness issue that I mentioned above?

northeast, IL(Zone 5a)

Willow was shown by a professional handler. The rest have been shown, for the most part by my good friend Guy. I bought my first pup from his mom back in '74!! He co-owns Wings, Trouble, and Hayley with me, and his mom co-owns Wings. In fact she had Wings shipped over from Sweden for Guy, as a surprise for him. He couldn't take another dog at the time, so I ended up with him!

I have handled Hayley a few times, and just got WB and BOS with her on Easter Sunday at the Dubuque KC show. I don't have the picture back on that one, yet.


northeast, IL(Zone 5a)

I didn't show the dogs myself until recently because of my weight problem. I had gastric bypass surgery about 18 months ago, and have lost over 150 lbs. I can now run around a ring again!! Me before was NOT a pretty site!!


Metro DC, MD(Zone 7a)

=) Hooray! Congrat's, Deb! A friend of mine is going through the checklist to become approved for the surgery. I look forward to seeing her make that lifestyle change and put a smile on her face.

Middleton, WI(Zone 4b)

We did conformation, obedience, and finally agility. Briefly considered extreme sport of pier jumping, but couldn't figure out how to find competitions. Didn't care for conformation due to the "pearls and pumps" type crowd versus the "down home" type crowd at obedience. Loved the energetic crowd at agility and still keep in touch with friends met there.

We may have and more issues with the crowd as we have a rare breed that wasn't recognized by AKC at the time. So we had to go to breed shows or rare breed shows. Tollers are now AKC recognized.

Now that Lily is fully deaf the agility training was a blessing since she is fully trained to obey to hand commands. We only have difficulty when she can't see us (like coming in at night). Any way, they don't care about crabbing in agility.

Thumbnail by duck_toller
Metro DC, MD(Zone 7a)

Great Photo! Zeb's 'cousin' is a top Dock Diving Dane -- so cool to watch!!!

Metro DC, MD(Zone 7a)

I have a sort of embarrassing question, but since I only started competing in the conformation ring in August, I guess it's to be expected.

Please, could someone define when a show becomes a "Major"? Does it depend upon the breed and the point schedule or does it always follow basic rules. For example, if enough total dogs (dogs + bitches) are entered for a 3 pt. show, does that make it a "Major"? I haven't found any details about this specific question on the AKC site and I always forget to ask my breeder this question. I'll ask it another way ... are all 3 pt. shows and above considered Majors?


This message was edited Jan 7, 2009 7:20 PM

Jacksonville, FL(Zone 8b)

3 point, 4 point and 5 points are your major. It depends on the breed. A popular breed like a Dobi needs a lot of enters to make a major, back when I showed I believe it was over 60 females to make a 3 point major and more than that for the males, and my breed Belgian tervuren a three point major was 4 female or males to make a 3 pint major and only around 6 to make a 5 point major.

You do know that if there is a major in the males and a female take best of winner that the female will get the same points as the male and if class dog take breed then all the dogs including the Champions are counted. If a class dog takes BOS the all the animals of its sex are counted.

Usually the show Catalog will have the info in it on the current points..

Metro DC, MD(Zone 7a)

Thanks! I suspected a Major was from 3 pts on, but I couldn't find any place that confirmed that. I'll tell you, they really don't make it easy for beginners to get up to speed. I appreciate your clarification.

I didn't know the bit about BOS, but it makes sense. Hopefully that'll come in handy one day soon! =0

Jacksonville, FL(Zone 8b)

It did for me. My female took BOS over a champion shown by a professional to get a 4 point major. She get 11 point before I had to stop showing her. If she liked the judge she did great if she did not she flunked plus she hurt her back and would not stand straight. These should help.

Metro DC, MD(Zone 7a)

Congratulations on the BOS!

Thanks, I've viewed the point schedules many times and know what I need for my division, but I just wasn't certain about the definition of Major.

We've been doing well in the ring, but so far I've only entered Specialties, all of which were Majors. In a couple weeks I'm entering a smaller show with less competition. We might stand a chance of getting beyond the Winners class in this show.

Jacksonville, FL(Zone 8b)

Good luck.
Oh I think that if a class dog take a Group 1 they can up their points to the highest number points of the animals in the group ring.

northeast, IL(Zone 5a)

Majors are few and far between these days, with the economy as it is. My male only needs one major to finish, so we're heading to Des Moines (5 1/2 hours each way) in two weeks, for the chance at a major by going BW, it's only a major in bitches. I just hope it doesn't break, that's a long way to travel and not show, but I won't show if the major doesn't hold. I hate this looking for majors part. I was lucky with my bitch, she got her majors out of the way, and the last month of showing her was just picking up singles.

Just a FYI, the point schedule is updated yearly in mid May. There should be postings on the AKC website, once it's announced.


Metro DC, MD(Zone 7a)

Good luck, momcat. I'll be sending you lots of good vibes Re: that Des Moines show -- I can appreciate all that goes into traveling that distance for a 'crap shoot'.

Jacksonville, FL(Zone 8b)

Good luck

northeast, IL(Zone 5a)

Well, the judge gave him 2 points and placed him over the afghan who was #1 in the country for two years running, so I know she likes him. It's just that my male was not shown for 3 years after a bout of pancreatitis. He completely blew his coat, and it's finally come back in enough to show him. We did 2 shows the end of last year, and he got a major reserve, and a 2nd in open, so the old boy still has it. I have to hope she still likes his type, and there's no one there she owes anything to.

Metro DC, MD(Zone 7a)

Momcat, I'd be interested in learning more about the pancreatitis that your boy went through - I'm so glad that he has bounced back! Good luck!

Today is my Boy's birthday - he is One year old, so we'll be moving up to the big boy classes this month. lol

Thumbnail by wrightie
northeast, IL(Zone 5a)

Happy Birthday to your boy Wrightie!

As far as the pancreatitis. Wings came home from my friend's house after a two week stay. I co-own Wings with my friends mother, and he does most of my handling for me. The last couple of days he had not been eating, and the last show he was at, he was just dragging, not himself at all. After another day, it was obvious that something was seriously wrong. Blood work at the vet pointed to pancreatitis. I don't recall now what levels were elevated. At this point he was weak, was vomiting bile, could barely walk. He was kept at the vet's for almost 2 weeks, on IV fluids. The vet said he didn't know what more to do for him, other than the care he was giving. It seemed to be pretty much a matter of, if he could pull himself through. Luckily he made it. He was sent home when the vet could get him to eat a bit, we had him on Nutrical, for calories, tried almost everything to find anything he would eat. About a month after this whole episode he started blowing coat. It would just come out by the handfuls. If he wasn't brushed a couple times a day, it would just matt up. We ended up shaving him down, and it was a very long time until he got a show quality coat back.

Last year we were concentrating on my bitch, and decided to bring him back out once she was finished. He just turned 7 on Jan 5th.


Metro DC, MD(Zone 7a)

Aww man, that must have been a nightmare. My last Dane was diagnosed with Addison's disease shortly before she had withered away to nothing. It took a specialist to finally diagnose her in time to save her life.

My paternal grandfather died from pancreatitis and my mother & MIL both died from pancreatic cancer, so any related illnesses now get my attention. I'm so happy to hear that you were able to catch it. Has it now been reversed or are there lingering issues that go along with pancreatitis? Sorry for being so nosy - I cannot help but be curious.

I hope that you are able to Finish him this year!

northeast, IL(Zone 5a)

There have been no lasting effects, but it did take a lot longer than expected to put coat back on him. The only bad effect from the entire episode, is that he was so babied for such a long time getting him through it, he is now spoiled rotten!

Metro DC, MD(Zone 7a)

Momcat, I'm really pleased to hear that he recovered fully from the pancreatitis. What a drag about the coat taking so long to come back though. I hope that you'll keep us posted on your progress in the ring. Good luck!

I have some news: This morning, my first show dog earned his first point (WD/BOW), with me owner-handling. I've been on Cloud 9 ever since! =0

Jacksonville, FL(Zone 8b)

Congratulation!!!!!!!!! I so remember how that was!!


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