Training at a dog show without entering? - Golden Retrievers : Golden Retriever Dog Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-14-2016, 02:21 AM Thread Starter
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Training at a dog show without entering?

I am new to the world of competitive dog sports and am hoping to train my dog for obedience. I've only been to a few dog shows in the past, but as far as I can remember they all had a strict rule that only dogs entered in the show are allowed to be there (which makes sense). But I was wondering if anyone has experience with training their dog at a dog show just to get them accustomed to the crazy environment, and how you would go about doing that. Although she's still young, I have a feeling that my dog would lose all focus when thrown into a dog show for the first time and would like to be able to just let her take it all in and get used to it before entering a ring. Do some shows allow outsiders? Is there some way you can pay a fee to bring your dog in to do training? How do beginners get their dogs used to dog shows? Thanks!
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-14-2016, 02:27 AM
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Once you've already completed basic obedience, get into some show handling classes. That is the best way to do it. It will allow you to train with the distraction of other dogs and other people. If you're not ready to participate in handling classes quite yet, ask the trainer if they would allow you to bring your dog to observe a few classes. You're not likely to find any shows that will allow you to bring your dog to train if you are not participating in the show.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-14-2016, 06:15 AM
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A lot of clubs sponsor "fun matches", which are simulated shows. It's a really great place to acclimate her to the environment.



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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-14-2016, 06:25 AM
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Check the trial premiums -- they will usually state if no unentered dogs are allowed.

And I personally have entered shows with no intention of showing so I can acclimate and get my do(s) used to working amid the trial environment when no unentered dogs are allowed; note - I do not enter without intending to show if it is a limited entry show.

Matches are good too - sometimes called Show and Gos or Run Thrus or practice runs. These do not completely replicate the hustle and bustle but are a really good choice.

ETA: There are some restrictions on training your dog on show grounds if you use correction or compulsion based methods and people may get snarly if you tug or play heartily near the rings so just be aware. Some shows do not even allow light heeling by the rings when the spacing is tight.


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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-14-2016, 10:14 AM
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Ask around on facebook groups or other members of your club for information on local "show and gos" as Hotel and Sunrise mentioned. I am also new and I've found that pretty much everyone has been super kind and helpful when I explain that I am inexperienced and would love direction, pointers etc. on how to improve. The judges and stewards are helpful and so are the other competitors if you're careful not to interrupt someone who is about to follow in the ring. I've learned a lot and it has really helped my confidence in myself and my dog (I know she picks up on my nerves if I'm uncertain) and it is a lot of fun


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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-14-2016, 02:23 PM
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You're definitely on the right track to realize that you need to familiarize your dog with the show environment. Many times it takes people some time to realize this.

I like to take my dog to training classes because it gets the dog accustomed to working in an environment where there are other dogs and I think that's particularly important for the stays. If you train at an obedience training club they may actually have matches and trials there from time to time and if you entered them your dog would be working in a familiar environment. Your trainer could probably tell you other places where you could enter matches and whether you might be able to visit them with your dog for acclimation to the show environment without actually entering. Large outdoor events are probably the easiest to visit. Smaller indoor events are, for good reason, more likely to strictly limit access.

Stewarding at matches or trials is a great way for you to observe more experienced teams and learn.

The AKC lists trials https://www.apps.akc.org/apps/event_calendar/ You can search it for shows in your area and visit the shows. I like to do this before even taking a dog so I know what I'm getting into. It's amazing how much variation there is . . . even indoor trials can vary from small trials which may be limited to beginner and novice classes to huge multibuilding shows that include conformation, obedience and agility trials being conducted simultaneously.

If you're in the Northeast there's Match Show Bulletin - Home which describes itself as "the one source for information on dog matches, both conformation and obedience, as well as rally events, agility events, herding events, weight pulls, tracking events, health clinics, canine good citizen and therapy dog testing, seminars, workshops and training classes." My trainer has mentioned this but I've never used it.


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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-14-2016, 02:44 PM
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I second what hotel4dogs and Sunrise said about matches. I'm going to take my dog to agility fun matches to work on her ring visiting issues. Fun matches are great since they allow toys and treats inside the ring still.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-14-2016, 05:12 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much everyone! This is all great advice and I had never even heard of matches. That sounds exactly what I'm looking for. I will contact my local obedience club and kennel club to see if they have anything to offer. I'm guessing December is not a good month for dog shows as I can't find a single one in my area, looks like they all start up in January. My goal is to get her ready for our area's big show in January!
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-14-2016, 05:41 PM
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There are some non-AKC shows (I'm thinking of CDSP in particular) that allow you to interact/play and treat your dog at the end of each behavior while you're in the ring. AKC Obedience does not allow that. I'd probably enter a CDSP trial just to be able to do that with my dog just to get him used to that kind of environment. CDSP trials don't do OOS stays or group stays though, but I think that's the only real major difference (and i don't think a CDSP trial would be nearly as busy as an AKC one). If you google CDSP obedience, their website should come up. The website has all the information you'll need to know (list of exercises per level, event schedule, etc).
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-14-2016, 07:20 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by aesthetic View Post
There are some non-AKC shows (I'm thinking of CDSP in particular) that allow you to interact/play and treat your dog at the end of each behavior while you're in the ring. AKC Obedience does not allow that. I'd probably enter a CDSP trial just to be able to do that with my dog just to get him used to that kind of environment. CDSP trials don't do OOS stays or group stays though, but I think that's the only real major difference (and i don't think a CDSP trial would be nearly as busy as an AKC one). If you google CDSP obedience, their website should come up. The website has all the information you'll need to know (list of exercises per level, event schedule, etc).
Thanks for the suggestion, I had not heard of CDSP before! It looks like a great way to get into obedience. From the posted regions it doesn't look possible for us though, it seems like mainly an East coast thing. I'm noticing that the PNW isn't the biggest place for dog shows and trials...
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