Our First Dog Show – What You Should Know Before Your First Show

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Would you like to go to a dog show with your dog? Are you wondering how to start the show career with your dog? What happens during the day? How to prepare?


We went to our first show with our poodle puppy this December. Before the show there was a lot of preparation, asking questions and of course getting to know my puppy and things that motivate him.


We went to one of the biggest shows in Finland, there was over 22.000 dogs from all the breeds. The day was a bit stressing for us and our puppy but after all, we got him trimmed as planned, we found where our class was judged and even got quite good reviews. No prizes this time but we got a nice start and we’ll planning to go again later during 2018.



Above: Judging of the bigger poodles



What You Should Know Before Your First Dog Show?



1. Training a Lot in Prior is the Key to Success


Teach your dog to walk/run on your left side the same speed you go. Also, teach it to stand beautifully on a floor (and on a table if you have a small dog).


Let other people touch your dog while it stands so that it is used to that and won’t be scared when the judge touches it. Also, if possible meet a lot of dogs that are different in size, age and breed. That’s important if you’re going to bigger multi breed shows.


Ps. Do not teach the dog sit or lie down either at all or at least teach standing first. It’s not a good thing if the dog sits or lies down during the show – instead, it should be standing beautifully every time the judge watches.


Above: Me and our poodle puppy in the Helsinki winner 2017 last December, me and our puppy are the second pair running in this video


2. Explore the Shows and Rules in Prior


Talk to people who have show dogs and learn from them. Remember that there ain’t silly questions! If you can also read a bit about the rules and watch some videos at home, it will offer you a better understanding what will happen during the day.


In addition, if possible it would be great if you (and your dog) could visit some shows before actually participating. You don’t then have to stress about how your dog is doing but you can learn a lot by watching, maybe taking some photos and networking to people there.



Above: standing from the same show – sorry for the photo quality my fiancée was taking these with phone from quite far away to make sure he doesn’t distract


3. Ask the Breeder or Other Person Specialized to Your Breed to Help with the Day


Importance of this step depends on the breed of your dog and your experience with dogs. For us, as the first time poodle owners this is crucial because doing the trim and making the fur look perfect is very important.


Getting some help and support is always a nice thing. Anyhow, especially with dogs with fur that requires special attention make sure there is someone with more experience helping you during the day.



Above: Me, my fiancée and our dog after the judging, the breeder of our puppy took this cute group photo of us. 🙂


Have you ever been in any dog or pet show? Would you like to go? Is there some questions in your mind that I could try to answer?


  1. I’ve never been to a dog show & I think that if we get a dog we probably won’t go haha.
    This was such an interesting read though 🙂


    1. Haha! Well, at least you know what they are so you have made your decision based on knowledge. 🙂 Thanks for the comment Jas!


    1. Thanks Kari, it’s a really lovely dog. 🙂 I’m happy to hear that I was able to teach you something new via this post.


  2. Never been and not sure would I ever go as i am scared of every animal, including dogs. So I guess this wouldn’t be an event for me.
    But I am glad that you had a lot of fun and it’s amazing to read this post because it’s something new to me. 🙂


    1. Oh no, a dog show might not be the right place for you to visit then. I actually am a little bit of some animals too but small and kind dogs like our 3 kilo puppy are just fine to me. 🙂


  3. This looks like a lot of fun. I’ve always wondered the more behind-the-scenes happenings of dog shows. Whenever someone brings one up I always think of the movie Best in Show. Have you seen it?


    1. Actually I haven’t! I’ll add that to my list of must see movies. 🙂 Behind the scenes there is a lot of practice and making the dog look the best possible – feeding it well, practicing running and standing, washing, trimming, etc. Depending on the breed it is sometimes a lot of work but it’s also a lot of fun. 🙂


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