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Article: 5 steps to winning your first dog show

5 steps to winning your first dog show

5 steps to winning your first dog show

It’s officially summer, which means the season of dog shows is upon us. With many family fun days, fetes and dog shows running summer competitions, you’ll want to make sure your pup is ready to put their best paw forward and wow the judges.

Whether you’re entering them in cutest pup awards, agility tests, treat sniffing or even the waggiest tail competition - here are five steps to help you and your dog finish with a rosette.

Practise makes pawfect

They say practise makes perfect, and while perfection isn’t guaranteed, it certainly helps to practice ahead of the event. There’s no better way to prepare for a show than spending some quality time practising with your dog.

In the lead up to the competition, research which events your dog will be competing in. If the competition is agility focused, then heading outdoors for some obedience training is a great start. You can begin by teaching your dog to walk at your heel off lead and follow your commands.

In some dog shows there is an award for the cutest dog present. Judging this round of the competition can be particularly tough, because all dogs are adorable by nature. So, your time together may be best spent brushing up on any tricks your dog knows. Giving the judge a paw, or rolling over, might just win your dog the gold. dog giving paw


Groom to impress

Make sure your dog is looking their best to give them an extra shot at stealing the limelight.

Ahead of the show, make an appointment with your regular groomer to get their nails trimmed and their fur smelling fresh.

On the day of the event, give them a good brush to keep their coat looking healthy. You could even give your dog the edge by dressing them in their best collar, and maybe a matching lead if you have one! If not, shop our full range of collars and leads.

dog wearing rayleigh lead and collar

Distraction training

Dog shows are filled with distractions due to crowds of people and their four-legged companions. It’s just as important to practise in crowded spaces, like town centres or parks, to make sure that your pup’s attention stays entirely on you.

Trial them on a lead first until you feel their attention is undivided. Then over time practise without a lead.

dog focusing on owner


Don’t forget to bring the essentials

If your dog is food orientated, their favourite snacks are an essential. Not only are treats a great way to incentivise your dog to complete tasks whilst in front of the judges, they also make a yummy post-show reward.

Other on the day essentials include a collar and lead. Don’t forget to wear suitable shoes as you may be required to run alongside your dog, such as in agility events.

Water will likely be provided for your dog, but it may be worth packing your own water and bowl, in case it’s a hot day.

Another important item on the day? Your dog poo bags! There’s only one thing worse than your dog needing to go for a number two in the middle of the show, and that’s having nothing to pick it up with. Be prepared.

golden retriever with treat


Be patient

Regardless of your dog's performance, remain calm and encouraging with your instructions.

It’s not all about winning and just taking part can be an enriching experience for your dog. Dog shows are a great chance for socialisation for dogs, something many of the pandemic puppies are in desperate need of.

Regardless of the outcome, make sure to give your dog lots of praise.

dog show rosettes

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