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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-16-2019, 10:20 PM Thread Starter
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Debating Showing

Hi all!

I have been thinking a lot lately and looking for a hobby that I could do with my Leo. We have recently joined two of our closest GRC's and are patiently waiting for our next meeting. In the mean time I am thinking about possibly showing Leo since at our most recent vet visit they recommended we look into it. For all of you experienced handlers, what should I start with? Specialized training classes? As far as grooming, I want to learn how to do it myself. Is it very time consuming? Heres a pic I took that made me want to look into showing him (he is pulling on the leash wanting to go say hello to another dog). I would love to hear your stories on how you started showing and your progress!
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Leo 08/02/18

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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-16-2019, 10:45 PM
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Start with your pup's breeder.

You need to have full registration + he needs to be registered in order to show. That's step one.

Next thing I would suggest is checking around your area for a mentor type who would be willing to groom your little guy for you + evaluate.

He needs a bath and blow dry - and you need to see if his coat will lie flat.

Right now it appears to be an open coat - but that's possibly how it dried. I see signs of loose coat in there that needs to come out - and that will happen with a good blow dry.

Other spec is the harness needs to come off - and not be used + keep collars off him when he's not being walked. This is to eliminate any damage from the straps cutting into the coat.

Once he's groomed up by somebody who breeds/shows goldens - s/he can evaluate what you have.

To me, I've seen a couple pics that you've posted and he's adorable. I think if registration checks out and you can get the coat to lie flat and tight, it would be fun for you to try out showing. With help.

There's a lot of nice people in the breed - many who are happy to help newbies dip their toes in. And I think showing it teaches people hands on about the breed - and the breed standard.

If your dog has full reg - I think @Ljilly might know people in your area - if your breeder can't help. Other thing is to check with the local breed club. Go to their next meeting and ask honest questions.

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 09:25 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much for the advice! Yes his coat needs a bit of work, he is due for a bath since he has gone swimming but because of a hot spot he has right now I'm holding off until it fully clears. I have contacted my breeder for the paperwork and hopefully she says its okay! She is in Maine (about a 5 hour drive for me) so shes a little out of the way for mentoring. I will definitely check out my golden retriever club this coming meeting! Thanks!

Leo 08/02/18

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 09:34 AM
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He has a pretty thick coat - so would suggest checking around and buying a dryer anyway - just for your own use. One of the $100-200 ones is fine. The type of coat he has it won't dry very quickly - that will leave him prone to yeasty coat. Hot spots are slightly different (immune system related), but would get in the habit of bathing/blow drying him at least once a month.

Am saying that on the basis that I remember having a boy whose coat was pretty thick and poor guy didn't get to go swimming as much as I wanted him to - because he would air dry very slowly and then he'd get yeasty coat (when your dog smells like an old basement that had been flooded).

If you decide to show and everything checks out - bathing/blow drying is one of the basics that we all do before every show.

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 12:53 PM
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If your breeder will let you, then get out there and try it! I will be taking conformation/handling classes with my girl as soon as we have a free Sunday.

As for grooming, yes it is time consuming and if you've never done it before, the first time probably won't go very well. LOL But I actually really enjoy grooming. If Rocket is totally and completely ungroomed - like hasn't had a bath or a trim in 6 weeks, it takes about 3 hours: 1 hr+ on bathing and blow drying, ~1 hr on feet (although I'm getting faster) and tail, ~1 hr on ears (he has A LOT of ear fluff). <--- this is for what I consider a pet groom with crappy grooming shears (a full show groom will take longer). I can do all of those things in a little over 2 hours if I do it religiously every 4 weeks.

Good equipment should reduce the time, but I would still think you'd be spending at least two hours doing it. You can get away with cheap shears for a little while, but they get dull really fast and then they just make you want to pull your hair out. So if it fits in your budget: then I would also invest in some nice shears ($100+) like Kenchii, Chris Christensen, Geib, etc. I have one pair of thinning shears and one pair of straight shears right now. Might get some curved ones for feet or just some shorter straight ones, but haven't decided yet.

I also agree with everything Kate said.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 02:24 PM
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I think he could benefit from several baths/blow dries over the next couple of weeks... a dryer will be your next best friend, and it will help you keep his skin and coat in good condition. There are lot of tufts sticking out that need to come on out, and Kate's right, it looks like he has an open coat will need to be trained over time.
He could be shown in performance even on limited, but assuming you're talking about conformation, I think you would be amazed by a good grooming by a Golden person (not a groomer). I'd expect to have it take several hours first time, and also expect it to cost a goodly amount the first time too- he's got a lot going on that needs a Golden professional.
What a pretty head he has! I hope you can enjoy showing him- surely your breeder has friends she could suggest to help you closer than 5 hours?
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 02:44 PM Thread Starter
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Yes I am waiting on her response as far as registration goes and asked for some referrals! Very excited to get involved in some kind of competition(:

Leo 08/02/18

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 02:45 PM Thread Starter
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I am also looking around for like you said, a good "Golden" Groomer around here

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 03:51 PM
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One more thing...

Don't attempt the first grooming by yourself going off websites or videos. There's individual tweaks sometimes people do and not all dogs need the same type of grooming for show.

I semi agree with the others to be prepared for a long grooming session with a golden pro or breeder. It might not cost that much. With Bertie, the first couple years of showing - I always brought him to a mentor who did the grooming for me. I paid her $50-65. Which seems a lot, but it's a show groom.

I typically did the bath/blow dry at home + nails and brought my dog to her. The appointments usually were 2 hours, typically, with me standing there and assisting (holding my dog still).

That's trying to get everything done in one appointment from shaggy to show ready.

I typically do the grooming myself now and it does not take me that long - primarily because I don't do everything all at once.

My puppy is showing this coming weekend. I'm going to take a look at his nails, but I think they are too close to the quick for me to trim. So that will be it until Fri when I give him a full bath and blow dry. This takes about 45 minutes to an hour (counting the bath).

On Sat - I'll do a spritz/dry (or a bath at home and dry at the show). And I'll touch up on his ears and feet. I aim for an hour's worth of grooming directly before showing.

The more inexperienced you are - the LESS you want to do day of show. You don't want to use shears at all. And getting your dog wet relies on your confidence in getting him completely dry and coat lying the way it needs to be before showing. Keep in mind this is a breed that we do not like using hairspray. The coat has to be trained and maintained so it lies tight around the dog's body (like a jacket). Flippies and waves are fine, you just don't want the coat sticking straight out and exposing the undercoat.

Supplies -

You want a good pair of thinning shears. Primarily because they will go dull pretty quick with heavy use if cheap. So Kenchi or Geib are fine - Kenchi 5 Star is about $120. I love mine. Have not had to have them sharpened yet (I don't use them too heavily though).

Straight shears - you need a 7-8" pair. This is primarily for the ears. And you want a good pair because the sharper the better. And to keep them sharp, I'd just use on the ears. Dubl Duck Mercedes has a 7.5" pair for about $75.

Straight Shears (heavy duty use) - something cheap like Conair Pro. Yellow handle. These are $9 shears. They stay "sharp enough" for years. If you get a 6" pair, you can use these for cleaning up around the feet and under the feet.

Small Shears - Kenchi 5 star, curved works nice. These would be finishing shears around the feet.

Wire slicker - for the coat. And even with the bathing and blow drying. You want to do a nightly thing where you are simply brushing the coat the way it should flow. Down the back and down the sides, brushing the butt/leg/chess feathers down, etc. This will remove excess shedding between baths + help train the coat.

And again - you need a dryer and grooming table.

^^^^ That might sound like a lot, but believe me, it's a drop in the bucket compared to what other people spend on stuff. And they don't always have to.

All that stuff - it's stuff I would want to have even if I stopped showing my dogs. I would always want to groom them properly myself with the least amount of annoyance (dull shears chewing on the coat, etc).

And then all that stuff is for learning when you aren't showing. The first year or two of showing, it would be best to have somebody else grooming your dog for you. A golden exhibitor who grooms on the side (you'll get contacts from the club). It's less stress that way and less "fixing" for them.

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-17-2019, 04:37 PM
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Having had my first show this past weekend, this is what we've been doing to get started:
-Connect with the breeder to get guidance and help
-Get the dog used to being blown with a HV dryer
-Get the dog used to various grooming techniques, etc (grooming takes 10x longer when the dog struggles).
-Get the dog used to be being on a table for LONG periods of time. Lana is ok on the table but she is impatient compared to the dogs I saw on the show. They just like chill on the table, no trying to get down, no struggling, etc. Lana on the other hand is all "I want down" no "I want to jump on you" or "I don't want to wear the noose!!"
-Get the dog used to being bathed on the regular
-Go to handling classes and more than just one
-Work the commands that will help you show well (Stand/Stay, Focus/Watch Me, Step, Baiting without lunging for the bait, calm for hands on, calm for show the bite, etc)
-Have a support system at the show

Lana and I have had like 4 handling classes (not counting ones the breeder has helped me with). I suck at stacking Lana. Like suck bad. BUT she free stacks nicely so I went from focusing on stacking her to focusing on getting her to free stack on command. Stand Stay is the biggest command you will need your dog to know. Lana sat in the ring during stand for exam and bite evaluation. I reset her and the judges were SUPER nice and accommodating (but I've been warned it's not always like that esp at an all breed show when the judge is pressed for time). My handling sucks. Lana and I need to work on our gaiting and giving her a better, more effortless appearance (right now we're a ground shaking behemoth who almost ran into the crowd and can't seem to turn into Lana on a left hand turn while trotting).

Week before the show, our breeder did a final trim. I didn't pay her (I should have). I've gotten a quote from a handler that they bath/trim dogs they handle and that cost is $100 each time. Which makes sense cause a golden groom at a groom shop is easily $80+ and they wouldn't be show quality.

Night before the show, I did a full bath, blow, brush, and nail trim. Took me 45 minutes and it was the fastest I've ever done it.

Day of show, we packed the car and got to the grounds an hour before sweeps started. I wanted time to get settled in our spot, get my nerves settled, get her on the table to do final touches (blow out and brush), then have time to do some handling practice and get her mind in the game. On average at handling classes, it takes her 20 minutes to get the fact that we're working and not playing. Idk if it's cause she's only 12 months old or if it's cause I tend to reward good work with play, but it is what it is.

Everyone was simply amazing at our first show. They went out of their way to help me and encourage me. I am glad I did it. We're going to keep going to handling class, but our next show will most likely have a professional handler cause I want to use one at the National and want to use our next show as a test run.

Hecate's Hellhound, Gypsy Magic - "Gypsy"
2/15 - Present
Hi-Tide's Danger Scone - "Lana"
6/18 - Present
-----------------------------------------------
Waiting at the bridge:
Hecate's Hellhound, Bearer of Mischief, CGC - "Bear"
8/12 - 7/17
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