With apologies to Stephen Covey, I’m enumerating the 7 habits that my friends and mentors have taught me are typical of a successful show dog.
The second: he sleeps! Anywhere and everywhere possible.
The first time I left Kunga alone in a crate in a grooming area, he went nuts, crying and pawing at the door and worried about when I’d get back. I still hadn’t learned to put a big blanket across the crate, both for warmth and a little sense of security. It’s such mayhem in the grooming areas: barking dogs, screaming dryers, clanging crates, running people. It’s a difficult place to settle down and rest. But Kunga quickly caught on to the fact that I’m certainly coming back to get him, and now he just flops down and goes to sleep amidst the chaos. The first time my friend Carol saw that, she approved mightily: it’s hard to get rest and a dog that can sleep at the show is one that has an advantage.
The other thing that took some time was getting Kunga to sleep in strange motel rooms. Our first road trips were up-all-night marathons, with him pacing around and barking at the sounds of the people in nearby rooms and dogs in the hallways. Once he decided that we were not likely to be under attack, he calmed down, and now sleeps well no matter where we are–as long as I’m there, too.