A countdown of some lessons learned: characteristics that contribute to a dog’s success in showing.
And #3 is: copes well with chaos.
Shows can seem like madhouses to the uninitiated. The first time I walked into a venue I was overwhelmed by the noise, the movement, the number of dogs and people, and the incomprehensible announcements over the loudspeaker. Everyone seems in a hurry to get to the ring, to unload their trailer, to buy a new show collar.
If I was daunted, I can only imagine what this might be like for a dog, who would also be assaulted by the myriad of smells they’re subjected to on the grounds! Kunga is a confident and curious dog but even he was a little taken aback by everything. Add to that the changes in feeding times, exercise patterns, and travel, and the dog has a lot to deal with.
I saw my poor (non-showing) Bloodhound Lucy go through a little of this experience last weekend at a “Bark in the Park” event. Even with only a tenth of the noise and activity of a show, my sensitive girl was freaked out. Normally friendly and happy, she barked at every person and dog that went past her crate (which set Kunga off, not a happy combination). It reminded me how stressful show dog lives can be. The ones who can get used to the chaos and thrive in it are the ones who will show the best.
Here are Kunga and Lucy after a long day at that park event: wiped out!