Companion Dog Shows

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Are you really worried about entering your first agility competition?  Are your worried about your dog being worried? Going to one or two companion dogs shows might help to settle your nerves in the ring. 
These shows are held up and down the country at all sorts of venues and events.   Sometimes an agility club might be organising a competition at the  event so you can get to sneak off and have peek at the classes without owning up to having a would be agility dog.  Think of it as a sort of preview on the quiet. 
These shows also solve the problem of what to do if you're the only member of the family who's dog mad when everyone else wants to drink beer.  If you're in this unfortunate position then you'll need to select your event carefully.  Point out the main attractions, such as the beer tent, steam engines, gardening stuff etc. but DON'T mention the dogs.  Especially don't mention the dogs if it's mainly a dog show.  You've lost the ad OK?

 

Photo of prettiest bitch classCompanion dog shows can be entered on the day.  Your dog doesn't have to be registered with the Kennel Club unless you want to take part in the breed classes. The novelty classes start after the posh dogs have done their bit.   They can include games and obedience and   At the end of the show there's nearly always a class for the dog the judge would most like to take home. 

There are usually classes such as "Prettiest Bitch" and "Handsomest Dog."  Here the prettiest bitches are trying to wow the judge.

 

The sack raceMost dogs love to take part in these events.  They pick up on the excitement and if there's prizes involved they usually end up with far more treats than is good for them.   A bit like a children's party really, or come to think of it the sort of parties I go to as well. Here we're having fun in the sack race

 

One of Jamie's favourite classes is the fastest recall. We usually take part in this at the local RSPCA show.  Each dog needs two handlers. One to hold it and the other to catch it.  The dogs all line up on one side of the ring and at the given signal they gallop like mad towards the catcher.  The fastest one wins.    We came third in this once but this was a fluke.  A bird scarer went off just at the right time and Jamie came straight to me.  A big improvement on his usual trick of attempting to round up all the other dogs and not coming back to me at all.  One year he eloped with two lurchers and they were found racing round the next field. 

Getting a rosette for third place And congratulations from a bystander
Well done Jamie.  We get a rosette and a goodie bag for coming third and Jamie gets a pat on the way out.  Actually he's saying "I wish they'd turn that damned bird scarer off."

 

Who's won?  I had to take Sasha somewhere a bit quieter at this show and explain to her what she needed to do in the ring.  She must have listened because we came third in the Best Movement class.
 

A perfect contact on the A frameSometimes a club might give an agility display.  At a local RSPCA show our training club held a normal training class so that people could watch.  Afterwards the trainer and experienced handlers helped members of the public to try out some agility with their pet dogs.   Some of the dogs were so taken with it that they insisted on their owners signing up for a beginners class.  

Pictured right: Oh what a lovely contact.  He did learn to do this do this at agility shows.

 

The obedience display dogs line upThese handlers are getting ready to give an obedience display at the RSPCA show.  After the display there's always new recruits for obedience classes too. 

Companion dogs shows are ideal for introducing wannabe agility dogs to the world of showing.  It gives them a chance to get used to the atmosphere without the added pressure of competing in an agility ring.  This can help if they are a little scared or worried at their first show. It means that they won't necessarily associate it in the future with agility and hopefully they'll turn out better for it.  Have fun.

Update 12th August 2011 

Companion dog shows are so popular that their value is recognised by the Kennel Club.  There is now a Companion Dog Club and information on taking part in a show on the Kennel Club website.  Good luck at your next show!

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