Show Dogs: Where to start

February 19, 2009

Thinking about showing your dog off but don’t have any idea where
to start? Showing a dog is more than having a well groomed
attractive dog. There is hard work and dedication on the owner’s
part as well as the pet.

You can start doing your homework by checking out various dog
shows. This is the best place to start. Attend a few shows to see
what is expected. They are usually advertised in your local paper,
pet shop or even advertised on your local radio stations. Once
you’ve found a show to attend, plan to spend the whole day there.
Soak up what is going on around you. Watch the judges and what they
look for in a winning dog. Observe the pets with their handlers.
Watch to see how the handler deals with its dog before they show
it. After the judging, check out the score sheets to see how and
why the dog was given its score. For a novice, the score should
rank between 170-200. This is a great way to incorporate winning
techniques into your show dog’s training.

If you haven’t chosen a dog yet, it’s best to research what kind of
breeds are eligible to enter as well as what breed would be best
for you to work with. There are certain requirements to abide by
such as, your dog being AKC (American Kennel Club) registered. He
must also be at least six months old on the day of the show to
enter. If you’re having a tough time choosing a breed, talk to show
breeders. Ask questions about their particular breed’s temperament
and the pros as well as the cons of showing their breed. Read
plenty of magazines about the subject as well. Probably the most
popular breeder’s magazine would be the AKC Gazette. You will find
lots of helpful hints.

Once you’ve chosen a dog, it’s best to start training right away.
It would be beneficial to you and the dog to take an obedience
training course. You will learn the basic techniques needed to show
your dog. In this course, you will learn how to handle the leash,
move, stand and even train your dog. It also allows your dog to be
trained around other dogs so he can get used to distractions.

Of course, if handling the dog is not something you want to do, you
can always hire a professional handler. Talk to and get a copy of
several different professional handlers’ fees before choosing one.
You might want to attend a show where a particular handler will be
showing other owner’s dogs to see how well they do.

Before entering the novice level, you’re dog should be able to heel
while on the leash as well as off the leash. He should be able to
make left and right turns with you as well as about face. If you
come to a stop, he should follow by sitting. You’re dog should also
be able to stay in a sitting position for at least 2-3 minutes at a
time. If you’re dog is on the rambunctious side, you will have to
practice this more often.

When the dog is being examined by the judge, the handler should be
able to walk six feet away from the dog with it standing in a stay
position. After the handler gives the stay command, the judge
usually runs his hand across the dog. There is also the sit and
down exercises that all the dogs perform at the same time in the

The recommended dress attire for the handler is dress pants and a
suitable top. No low cut shirts or jeans (unless they are white or
black dress jeans). Good tractions shoes are also recommended.
Sandals are prohibited. The goal for dress is to where something
that is tasteful yet comfortable. You want to wear something that
is easy and breathable for you to move around in. Stay away from
noisy, clanging jewelry or loose hanging accessories that will
distract you or the dog.

Dogs also must abide by strict attire. They must be shown with only
a regular training collar. The collar must not be too loose or too
tight; it should fit just right around the neck. It can be made
from nylon as well as metal. The attached leash can also be nylon
as well as leather. Leather is the preferred material for leashes.

Remember, getting your dog started can be fun, but also strenuous
on both of you. Be both patient and firm with your canine, and
before you know it, you will reap the harvest of your dedication
and hard work. Have fun!


How to choose a hypoallergenic dog

February 9, 2009

With President Obama and his family struggling with this choice right now, here’s a timely post…

For people that love dogs, yet have allergic reactions to them,
there is a simple alternative. If you can’t do without a four
legged “friend,” choosing a hypoallergenic dog is the best
alternative. For those who are scratching their heads, a
hypoallergenic dog is not a special breed of dogs. They are dogs
that generate less (hypo) allergens (allergenic) in the air, which
has a lot to do with the dog’s physical size and length of its fur.
For allergy sufferers, finding an allergy-friendly dog is the most
reasonable choice. This doesn’t mean that the dog will be
completely allergy proof, but it does mean that this type of dog
tends to generate less amounts of allergy causing elements. It is
impossible to find a dog that causes no degree of allergens.

Allergy reactions from dogs can consist of skin rashes, watery and
itchy eyes, sneezing and a stuffy nose. More serious reactions are
wheezing, asthma attacks and not being able to breathe deeply.
These can be frightening reactions and choosing not to have a pet,
for these reasons, out ways the benefits of having one. For dog
lovers, who suffer with allergies, this is a hard fact to accept.
The reason some people suffer from simple pet hair is because of
their immune system. They are hypersensitive to the components
found on the dog hair. Many people think it is the animal hair that
causes the problem, but in reality it is what attaches itself to
the pet hair. The dog’s hair picks up pollen and dust attaching
itself to the hair follicle. With normal movements, the elements
are distracted on whatever it comes across. Hence, larger and
longer haired dogs have a tendency to generate more allergens than
smaller and shorter haired dogs Therefore, the bigger the dog, the
more allergy components it will distract.

If choosing a dog from a breeder, try spending at least 30 minutes
playing with the dog and being in the dog’s area to see how you
react to it. If you have a severe reaction in that amount of time,
then you can be assured that having it as a live-in would not be a
good idea. If you’re choosing a breeder who lives a substantial
distance away, send a clothing item to the breeder and ask them to
place it near the dog for a day and send it back to you in a
plastic bag. Wear the clothing item or breathe in the smell and see
how you react. If no reaction, you might want to consider visiting
the breeder in person. If you do get a negative reaction, it’s best
not to waste your time visiting in person. The allergic reaction
would probably be worse if you were around the real thing.

Another thing you might want to consider when choosing a dog is the
temperament. You want to choose a dog that will meet your needs,
and you in turn, can meet its needs as well. Not only do you want
to choose an allergy-friendly dog, but if you have a family, you
want one that is family-friendly as well. Here are a few breeds to
consider: Bichon Frise, Irish Terrier, Poodles. These dogs enjoy
family surroundings, they’re excellent with children and they make
great watch dogs. They also have low shedding levels. If you are a
single adult, you might want to consider a dog that is happy with
minimal people surroundings. A couple of good choices would be
Chihuahua or a Portuguese Water Dog. These dogs tend to bond with
one person rather than several.

Here are a few dogs to stay away from due to their high shedding
ability. They are: Cocker Spaniels, Irish Setters, Dachshunds,
Basset hounds, German Shepherds and Afghan Hounds.

If you choose an indoor dog, it’s best to choose one that can be
groomed regularly or that you can bath easily. It’s best to bath
them at least 1-2 times per week. This will reduce the amount of
pet dander. Taking care of your dog’s hair is an important part of
reducing the components that cause allergies. You can even choose a
hairless dog such as the Chinese Crested, American Hairless Terrier
or the Mexican Hairless.

Some people claim that certain breeds bring out the worst in their
allergies than others. In choosing a breed, be open to find the
best one that fits your lifestyle.