How to Prepare Your Dog for a Dog Show

Looking to get into the dog show scene? With the help of this in-depth blog, you will be winning and grinning at the next show!

Sep 20, 2023By Nikita Hillier
how to prepare dog for dog show

For many, dog shows are a way to bond with their dogs and come home with some awesome rewards. Better yet, you get to watch your canine companion absolutely shine. As show day approaches, you may be doubting your abilities a little.

You’re likely researching, asking questions, and experiencing a true sense of nervousness. However, all you need to do is be prepared! In this blog, you will learn how to prepare your dog for a dog show with ease.

Say goodbye to any doubt you have and hello to success!

Handle Your Dog Properly

doberman panting leash
Image Credit: Alexas_Fotos on Pixabay

When it comes to performing in dog shows with your canine companion, they must be well-handled. Dog shows are no place for misbehaving dogs. First, you should try to find a local handling class where your dog can learn at its own pace.

When your dog is young and inexperienced, you need to ensure you do it properly. Handling your dog correctly from the start is the key to success. Handling classes are taught by dog handlers who have a significant amount of experience.

They will help you with all the basics of general handling and then show handling. This includes stacking your dog, gaiting them, and ensuring they behave. Once your dog has the basics down, you can always seek out a proper show handler to refine the details.

If you want to make the most of your experience and win, you and your canine companion must be in sync. If you aren’t working perfectly in harmony in training, showing shouldn’t be your priority just yet. In show dogs, judges require perfection or nothing at all. So, just make sure your handling is up to scratch.

Socialize Your Canine

brown labrador retriever outdoors
Image Credit: Blue Bird on Pexels

If your dog is unsocialized, you’re going to have trouble at dog shows. Another key to having a successful show is to ensure that your dog is well-socialized from birth. Even if you have the most conformationally perfect canine, it could all come crashing down if dogs aren’t socialized correctly.

Unsocialized dogs will never bloom in the ring. Once your young pup has been vaccinated and has a clean bill of health, you can:

  • Take them to new places where they will encounter new situations, people, noises, and dogs.
  • Walk them on different surfaces so they are comfortable on a range of different surfaces.
  • Let a range of different people pat and walk your dog to get them used to getting touched by strangers.
  • Take them to puppy classes.

When you let your dog experience new and exciting things from birth, they often perform far better in the ring. This is because nothing fazes them. When you socialize your dog enough, you create a confident and winning canine.

Stay Fit and Agile

dog owner exercise frisbee
Image Credit: Aliaksei Semirski on Pexels

When showing as a team, both you and your canine companion will have to remain fit and agile. After all, you will both be expected to remain moving for long periods of time. You will need to have a strict exercise regime both before and after shows to ensure that you’re both in tip-top shape.

It doesn’t just end with good exercise. You also need to ensure that your dog is eating meals packed with nutrition. You should even consider speaking to your vet about what dog food brands will work best for your canine.

Vaccinations are also very important as you will need to show proof of vaccination when you enter.

Be Prepared

brown white dog showing
Image Credit: Katrina_S on Pixabay

Preparation will make your dog show an absolute breeze. If preparation isn’t your strength, don’t worry! We have put together a list of things that you will need to pack for your dog show, including:

  • A clipboard or file for your paperwork
  • Show supplies such as jackets, leads, and collars
  • Doggy poop bags
  • Paper towels
  • Regular towels
  • Grooming supplies
  • A comfortable place for your dog, such as a crate with warm bedding
  • Treats
  • First-aid kits for humans and dogs
  • Lint rollers for dog hair on clothes

With this list, you won’t leave anything behind!

Remain Calm

border collie owner trick training
Image Credit: Blue Bird on Pexels

Last, but certainly not least, make sure you remain calm. Your dog will feed off of your emotions. This is why you must remain cool and calm to maximize your dog’s performance.

If you notice feelings of anxiety kicking in, make sure you take some time away from your dog to refocus and calm down. Otherwise, you may just make your dog feel anxious as well. This will not end well!

When your dog is experiencing feelings of anxiety, it may become distracted, confused, and even naughty! As long as you have worked hard to prepare, you shouldn’t feel nervous at all. Just focus on working as a team.

Good luck!

Nikita Hillier
By Nikita Hillier

Nikita is a huge animal lover who has grown up on a farm with many different animals, from dogs and cats to horses and cows! She has a lot of experience in the equine industry and is even in the process of studying for an internationally accredited Equine Sports Massage Certificate! In her spare time, she enjoys writing and spending time with her beloved animals!