Showing your dog and working alongside him is a great pastime. For anyone who has not shown before, beware because you can become addicted. Even being up and away at five in the morning with the day before being taken up with bathing and grooming, the atmosphere kicks in as soon as you reach the show ground. There are stalls selling all sorts of doggy goods, food stalls with enticing smells and lots of friends to meet and greet. Surprisingly, there is very little bad behaviour from dogs at shows and most of them seem to really enjoy the day out.
My own breed is English Setters and they need the coat to be soft, silky and properly trimmed. Added to this there are certain things that are needed to help the actual time in the ring and one of them is a soft, leather, well-made slip leash. This is important for several reasons. The leash has to blend into the coat color and not distract from the line of the dog. My own blue belton setter Roxy, always needed a leash in black to accompany her black and white flecked coat. A harsher material can cut into the coat, ruin the appearance of the neck and be hard to hold in place.
Young dogs have to practise standing still in position whilst the judge checks them over and they have to run by your side at the right pace without pulling. Of course, if they do sometimes pull, it is good to have a strong leather leash to gain some control again. Roxy was a star in the show ring and as a puppy she went to a famous show in the UK where she beat seventeen other puppies to become best puppy in breed. That was a thrill to start with but after that, when all of the judging is finished, the top winners and the best puppies in all of the breeds compete for best in show and best puppy in show.
We stood in line, held in position by a steward and when our name was called over the loudspeaker, we ran out and around the ring to the applause of the crowd. It was a very special day and Roxy never put a foot wrong. Head held high, I never really needed to tighten the leash. We came back to the line of dogs and stood whilst the best in show judge looked at all the candidates. On that occasion we were not chosen as the best puppy but we had a wonderful day, Roxy did me proud and, of course, you always take the best dog home with you. Snuggled on the bed at night, there are wonderful memories and dreams of future shows.