Training Your Dog for a Dog Show – Tips and Tricks for Beginners

dog training for shows

Professional dog breeders and dog owners enjoy showing off their canine friend to the public. We could all agree that it is a really nice feeling to win on a dog show. But, what if we lose? Do you need help with dog training for the upcoming show? Are we going to blame the judge, or the audience or our dog?

Instead of doing this, we should blame ourselves because a good dog should have a great presentation and nice movement. So, instead of throwing rocks on anyone else than ourselves, we should try to bring our dog’s movement and presentation to perfection.

Of course, we should always be smart, and choose which of our dogs is suitable for a dog show. We guarantee that non-socialized German Shepherd will not show any correct movement or visual presentation, no matter that it is your dog and you think it is the most beautiful dog in the world.

We should take their social skills as a starting point before we take the dog to the exhibition. Secondly, if you are planning to bring an aggressive adult dog, prepare for hell. We have witnessed many cases on various dog shows that a dog attack another dog, the judge or even his owner. We wouldn’t like something like this to happen to us.

dog training for shows

So, if we have a dog that is socialized and it wouldn’t mind being in the same room with many other dogs, and of course it is not showing any signs of aggression toward other dogs or people, you are good to go… Or are you? Well, let’s see… You probably know that your dog is eligible to participate if it is purebred and has all the documentation that guarantees his bloodline. But, if it is a mixed breed, do not worry…

You can still take part in specialized events for mixed breeds. Next, we think that it would be nice if you attend some dog shows as a spectator, just to see the procedure and the rules. We wouldn’t mind coming prepared for the first time, right? It is a good way to get a better sense of what the judging panel is looking for and of course, what to expect from your dog.

The next step is to get the proper leash (lead) for your dog. You really should have one as soon as you start training your dog and preparing your dog for a dog show.

In order for the judge to see the movement and the structure of your dog, you should practice gaiting. The correct gait is usually a trot, with the dog’s head up. A trotting dog’s right front leg and the left-back leg should move forward at the same time, same as the left front with the right back. For start, we should use treats in order to lure our dog to follow us without a leash (lead).

The most important thing is, the dog should always be on our left side. Once the dog is comfortable in following you, the formal lead training ca begin. Put the dog leash (lead) that you will be using while presenting the dog on a dog show, take the dog on a short distance from your home and then walk back at a speed that encourages your dog to trot. Repeat this process but, carry the dog further away from home each time.

dog training for shows

On a dog show, every dog should “stack” or stand squarely and still. Many contestants would let their dogs to do “free stack” most of the time but will perform “hand stack” while the judge is examining the dog. Just to be clear, the specific position is different for most of the breeds. In order to train your dog to do the perfect stance while judge examination, take a look at the guidelines for your dog’s breed. To train the dog for hand stacking, hold a medium-sized treat in your right hand. Keep it partially covered so the dog could only see part of it while you adjust the positions of its feet with your left hand.

You should adjust the dog’s front legs first, moving them at the elbow. Then, while keeping your left hand on the dog, move to the back legs and adjust them at the hock. In order to achieve this, you should be patient. Repeat this process many times, until you see that the dog is comfortable with adjusting. Finally, you should teach the dog to maintain the position. Pull the treat away for a second and tell the dog to stay. If it holds the position, say “Yes” and give the treat to the dog. You should always have a treat for your dog, while on a dog show so you can use them as baits for the dog.

The next step should be to teach the dog to tolerate a detailed examination. As you probably know, the dogs are physically examined by the judge while in the ring. A successful show dog must tolerate this without resistance. No matter how easy does this sounds, we should make our dog accustomed to this by touching his body on an hourly basis, including the inside of his mouth. Because the judge would need to examine the fans as well.

If the dog is younger, it will quickly grow accustomed to this. Once the dog is comfortable with it, we should bring another person to do the same thing, so the dog could be comfortable in examination by other people. If you reach this far… You are good to go… We wish you great success on the next dog show. If we start soon to training our dog for show is better.


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