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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
There's a dog show going on in the town my parents live in. The entire town is full of people walking beautiful, well-groomed purebreds. My mom and I are going to go tomorrow (edit: oops, I mean later today). They have conformation, Rally-o, and agility.

How can I get the most out of a dog show? I mean, left to my own instinct, I'd just go, look at all the pretty dogs, and leave. But I want to maximize my dog-show experience (LOL) without annoying the dog show people. Is it appropriate to ask questions? Any special dog show etiquette I should know about?

I hope someone has Leonbergers. I really want to see one in person.
 

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Woo, lucky you!

One thing I would definitely suggest is looking at the schedule before hand or at the very least, when you first get to show. This allows you to pin point the 'must see' breeds/events and kind of form your day around their time slots.

Once I've done that I usually reserve the 'in between' times for meandering around and enjoying whatever happens to be going on in that moment.

Most Show people are more then happy to answer questions (provided they aren't obviously busy, going into the ring, etc. ;)) about their dogs or breed. For them, part of the sport is getting new generations interested in show, dogs, sports, their breed, and everything in between. There are, of course, those that DON'T lend very well to questions but they are generally few and far between. As long as you are respectful I don't think you should have many problems.

As far as etiquette goes, it's mostly just common sense stuff. Don't pet the dogs without permission, don't bother people who are clearly busy, that kind of thing.

And most of all, have fun! I love shows, they are definitely an interesting experience.
Oh, and take lots of pictures :)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I wasn't able to find a schedule....not in the local paper, not on their website, so I guess I'll have to pick one up at the show.

I don't know why they're having it here. It's a smallish town (10,000-ish), they have to have the show at the fairgrounds/4-H center (which aren't very nice facilities), and there aren't enough campsites to comfortably accomodate everyone. The motels are packed. I suppose they have their reasons.
 

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There will likely be a schedule at the show. I always feel weird asking questions because I never know when to ask them and, frankly, the people seem pretty absorbed in what they're doing, but if you go over to the bench area you might find someone just relaxing with their dog that you can chat with.
 

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If you have questions for someone with a specific breed and want to give yourself the best chance, I'd recommend hanging out near the the ring in which they are going to show...in inevitably someone will show up early and you can ask them if they would mind hanging out for a few minutes after they are done showing to talk to you about their dogs (so they don't just scatter and vanish, as happens sometimes)...then unless invited otherwise, leave them alone until they are done so they can concentrate on showing.

Of course depending on the show you may end up with just a handler who doesn't know the answers to the sorts of things you want to ask, but they may be able to point you to who you should be talking to.

Basically...be polite and be ready to take a "no" graciously :) good luck!
 

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Just so you know if you are looking for Leonbergers they would be in the miscellanous class. They won't be showing on their own until July 2010.

Rules for showing? Not much different than normal. Always ask before you pet a dog. Try to talk with people after they are done showing, definitely not before. Usually when I am at a show to watch I just hang around the ring and there is usually a couple of people who will stay to talk after all the classes are done.
 

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some tips I have are. DON'T pet the Poodles! lol I made that mistake. otherwise you can ask people questions and they will be more than happy to talk about their breed. but I suggest asking more than one person in the breed the same questions because some people are bias
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hehe, I once touched someone's PET Poodle and he freaked out! I guess they don't want their coat to get greasy.

Yeah, it's the Vermillion show. Thanks for the link....I looked at the Kennel Club's website and it didn't have a schedule.

Aw, they don't have Leonbergers :( . But at least there's Rally-o. I've always wanted to see that.
 

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It is not that they fear the coat will get greasy. It is fear that the grooming which took SEVERAL HOURS will be mussed or destroyed.

Many dogs are precisely groomed for the ring. Touching ANY dog anywhere but esp. at a dog show if you have not been invited, or if you have not asked perm ission, would not be considered a good thing.

You can stroll through grooming areas a lot of the time and find nice people who have some time to talk.

Hope you enjoy yourself!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
It was cool. No pics (sorry!)---I am NOT a picture person and the memory card is still full from my brother's wedding. I saw a lot of breeds I've never seen in real life. There was an Italian Spinone, a Giant Schnauzer, a Briard, a Bouvier des Flandres, a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, Border Terriers, an Australian Terrier, and a couple of Irish Wolfhounds. I got to pet the male Wolfhound, but he was distracted because his owner was in the ring showing the female and he wanted to go to her. He weighs 185 pounds! He was the biggest dog I've ever seen in my life.

There was a Newfoundland that was HUGE, but I didn't get to pet him or ask any questions. He was funny; he wouldn't let anyone get too close to his owner. Another lady hugged her, and he jumped up in between them and nearly knocked them both over. Then a man tried to talk to her, and he very firmly put himself in between and leaned on the guy so he couldn't get too close. It was funny but I don't think I'd want my dog acting like that. Is it normal for Newfies?

I also watched the Rally-O for a while. It was good but not overly exciting. I think agility would have been more fun to watch. The newspaper said there would be agility but it wasn't on the show schedule. Anyway it wasn't going on while we were there.

A good first show for me to go to, I guess. A few things disappointed me; a couple of the Rally-O dogs flinched when their owner (same owner) gave them the "down" signal, like he was going to hit them. All of the Shelties were obviously de-barked. And there was a lot of poop and not enough cleaning up. But most of it was good.
 

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I always find the best way to meet people or thier dogs at shows is to do one of two things. 1) Walk around the grooming area until you find a dog you like. Stand and stare and gleam at it a bit until the handler notices, usualy they'll give you a faint smile or say hello. Mention to thom how beautiful their dog is and then start a coonversation from there. 2) Find a person siting ringside with a catalogue or someone assitsing the handlers from outside the ring. Usualy those people know thier breed fairly well and are happy to answer any questions you have.
 

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my dad always did say that Rally O was boring. But he LOVED watching the dogs mess up. ;-) Like the Golden that decided she was done for the day and ran and started tugging her lead off of the gate.

Agility could have been in a different area and run by a different club, hence not in the judging program.

Get used to it about the shelties, bark city with those guys. That's just how they are. :p
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Get used to it about the shelties, bark city with those guys. That's just how they are. :p
Maybe. I don't like to see that kind of homogeneity, though. Shows a lack of independent thinking. I mean, not all of the Australian Shepherds had docked tails....not all of the Boxers had cropped ears....but every last one of the Shelties was de-barked. I got the feeling that a Sheltie breeder/shower/owner who refused to de-bark would have been ostracized. When a variation is allowable, I like to see some variation.

It should also be pointed out that ALL of the terriers were yapping their heads off, and none of them were de-barked. I think it's a Sheltie people thing, not a Sheltie thing.
 

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How often have you heard a high pitched Sheltie bark....from a dog that NEVER SHUTS UP! x.x

Part of it is that Sheltie people selected conformation over lack of barkiness, and now it's basically bred into the breed
 

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....but every last one of the Shelties was de-barked. I got the feeling that a Sheltie breeder/shower/owner who refused to de-bark would have been ostracized.
That's insane...there was a debarked collie at the last show I attended and it was terrible...not the first debarked dog I've met either. It amazes me that some of the same people that argue that neutering (male/female) is a silly surgery then turn around and debark or support debarking. I truly cannot get my head around it.
 

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All of my intact dogs are easy to live with. My barker that barked for the SHEER JOY of it was NOT and she made life a misery for me, the handler, everyone around her. A quick and simple debark job and she was happy, we ALL were happy. She could holler as much as she wanted and we could still keep our ears.

(NOTHING and NO amount of any kind of training stopped her, ask experienced and long time breeders/trainers and they WILL tell you that some dogs can't be trained to shut up and a barky dog will quickly teach the rest of the kennel to bark badly also)

I don't do routine debarks, and I currently don't have a debarked dog, but should I need to do it again I will in a heartbeat.
 

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That's insane...there was a debarked collie at the last show I attended and it was terrible...not the first debarked dog I've met either. It amazes me that some of the same people that argue that neutering (male/female) is a silly surgery but then debark or support debarking. I truly cannot get my head around it.
I can't either Shaina. To me, if you don't want to listen to barking then do not get a breed known for it. It just seems cruel to me. I guess we all have things we are willing to do to dogs to make them fit into our lives. Taking away their voice just seems wrong.
 

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I can't either Shaina. To me, if you don't want to listen to barking then do not get a breed known for it. It just seems cruel to me. I guess we all have things we are willing to do to dogs to make them fit into our lives. Taking away their voice just seems wrong.
Got to agree with this, except in rare circumstances..

I feel like it takes away the doggy part of the dog to de-bark them simply for the sake of showing. Not that I have a problem with dog shows, in fact I love them.
 

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It's not for the sake of dog shows...it's for the sake of keeping your hearing.

I know someone that had to debark her SFT because the dog was actually doing severe damage to his vocal chords barking.
 
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