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How to Get Your Pup Ready For the Dog Show

When you look at your puppy or adult dog playing or jumping astoundingly high to catch a frisbee, do you sometimes think your dog must be pretty special? While the love of a pet owner can blur reality a little bit, (it would be hard to prove your dog was the cutest after all), you could be onto something. Here are some dog show tips to get your canine companion ready to win.

Is My Dog a Show Dog?

If you’re curious about showing your dog, you’ll have to take a few necessary steps to get started. Begin by contacting your local American Kennel Club chapter. Some dog shows judge a dog on conformation, which is essentially how good an example the dog is of the breed’s characteristics. There are other shows for mixed breeds, athletic dogs, and dogs who like to learn new skills. Showing your dog is one of the most rewarding bonding experiences between an owner and a pup, but it also takes a lot of dedication from both you and your dog. 

Find Out More About Dog Shows

There are four main categories of dog shows, according to the American Kennel Club. Purebred dogs commonly compete for conformation. As we mentioned, conformation is really what people mean when they say “dog show” in the traditional sense. Purebred dogs are judged not against each other but the ideal qualities of their breed.  
Mixed breed dogs and others can compete in agility. Athletic dogs race around an obstacle course and are judged on their concentration and speed. Your super fetch partner who has the ball back to you before you’ve finished the throw could be perfect for this type of competition.
Performance competitions are designed to let your dog show off one skill where he or she excels. Herding dogs can compete in herding competitions. Hunting dogs show off how well they perform the pointing or retrieving tasks inherent to their breed.
Lastly, obedience competitions are for all the good dogs out there. Dogs show off how well they can follow certain commands and directions. So if your dog is a great listener and a quick learner, this might be the competition for him.

What Do I Need For My First Dog Show?

Competing in dog shows will not only involve your dog but also require dedication and training from you, the proud owner. Visit dog shows in your area to see if the environment seems like a place you would be comfortable. Think about the commitment of time and money you’ll have to provide for supplies, travel, and training. Consider whether you’d be able to handle criticism of your dog from a judge or a stranger. Everyone at dog shows loves dogs, so they wouldn’t be criticizing your dog as a companion or as a pet, of course, but offering advice or judgment on how well your pup meets the requirements of the competition.
Here are a few key items you’ll want to bring to your first dog show:

  • Paperwork, including your entry form and pedigree as necessary
  • Water, a bowl, and maybe even some extra food
  • Grooming supplies to make sure your pup is looking her best
  • Slip lead
  • First aid supplies just in case your dog gets injured

Prepare Your Dog

Every pet owner needs to maintain a baseline of good health and happiness in their pet, but well-being is particularly important if you are getting ready for a dog show. Keep your dog at a healthy weight by feeding quality food appropriate for breed, size, and age. Talk to your vet for advice if you’re unsure, or are planning to make any changes to your dog’s diet. All canines need adequate exercise for their temperament and age. Finally, regular vet visits and vaccinations are a must, as is ongoing prevention of fleas, ticks, and heartworm.

Maintain Overall Health

Lots of dogs would love nothing more than the opportunity to spend more time with you. You might see it as training or exercise, but pups see it as best friend time. Consider adding a supplement to your dog’s daily routine to promote vitality and maintain overall health beyond the well-thought-out diet and exercise plan you provide.

Train Together

Your training for competition will depend on the type of dog show you plan to participate in. You’ll need to get your dog registered as a purebred if you plan to compete in the traditional shows. Talk to your breeder if you need further information or documentation. 
When it comes to the actual competition, you’ll need to train your dog to respond to motivation with treats and a clicker. Most dogs respond with enthusiasm when asked to do the tasks associated with their breed. 


If your purebred puppy is showing promise, or you think your super athlete might have what it takes, make sure to socialize your dog right from the beginning. Visit the dog park regularly and ensure your dog is comfortable and well-behaved around many other dogs. In a dog show, your pup will need to remain calm and focused in the midst of many dogs.

Healthy Dogs Are Happy Dogs

Whether you decide to show your pup or stick to throwing the ball off the dock so she can endlessly retrieve it all summer, we know you want to keep your companion in peak physical condition so you can enjoy activities together for years to come. 
At Wapiti Labs, we create supplements for companion animals using elk velvet antler and Other natural ingredients. Our Strength supplement helps maintain healthy joint function in canines, whether they’re show dogs or just champions of backyard fetch. Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions!

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