Copyright 2003 © Dale Dutill, all rights reserved
To get started it's recommended that you attend several shows as a spectator. Go to watch and learn. Study the judges and the way the handlers handle the dogs. Look at what the judges choose for the first place dogs. After the classes go to the superintendent's desk to read the judges score sheets and look at the comments made on each dog.
Talk to people of your chosen breed, read breed magazines, subscribe to the AKC Gazette. After you have done all of this find a good show breeder that will help you to choose a show puppy. This breeder should also be able to help you with teaching the puppy to stack (stand in the show pose) and to gait.
It is advisable to find a handling class if at all possible. You can locate one by going to the AKC site (www.akc.org) and finding the kennel clubs in your state. By contacting the kennel clubs you can find the handling classes around your area as well as find show people that can help you and answer questions.
There is a wonderful book out for people new to showing. I highly recommend it for newcomers. The book: Show Me ! A Dog-Showing Primer by D. Caroline Coile, covers all the showing basics, how to choose, raise and train a show dog and how to become a good handler.
In summary along with the book nothing beats having a good mentor, experiencing handling classes and observing shows.
I've been training dogs since I was about 15(that's 31 years!). I have been showing in competitive obedience for 4 years. I'm also an AKC Canine Good Citizen evaluator and a 4-H dog leader. I currently own and show Great Danes, 4 year old Cheyanne (Kahlua's Cheyanne Princess, CD,CGC) and 1 year old Hailey (Kahlua's Cherokee Spirit,CGC).
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