Every dog is special, but you might feel as though yours is the best among the rest. You might consider signing up your dog for their first competition. Not only is it a form of prestige, but winning a dog show is a great opportunity to nurture the bond you share with your faithful companion.
You will face a lot of challenges to prepare your dog for the big day. It takes a long time to train your dog the most essential skills and make them look their best. Fortunately, these tips should make things simpler and turn this event into a memory you will definitely cherish with your pooch.
Check the rules
Review the guidelines of the competition in advance so you will know if it is an appropriate competition for your unique dog. It’s also essential to make sure your dog is qualified to enter the competition. Some contests prevent neutered or spayed dogs from joining and provide guidelines on which height and weight categories your dog is allowed to join. Dogs under medication are also not allowed to join unless the medicine has worn off or the vet has given the all-clear.
Following the rules is your responsibility as a fur parent. It’s not that you want your dog to win, but because you want to make sure your dog enters a fair competition. With that being said, avoid entering your dog at the last minute. Give yourself at least a week before signing up.
Take time for obedience training
Many competitions emphasize obedience as a major criterion. Dogs who can compose themselves and follow their owners’ commands are likely to score high in this area. What’s more, you want your dog to behave properly, considering that they will be entering a contest with other dogs coming from different backgrounds.
While training, it’s also important to be familiar with the challenges of training the breed your dog belongs to. German Shepherds and Border Collies are known to be trainable unlike Siberian Huskies and Beagles. In the case of the latter, you might want to consider hiring a dog trainer to help out in getting them to obey basic commands.
Take them to the groomer
A good pampering is crucial in ensuring your dog looks their best during the show. Appearance and confidence weigh just as heavily as behavior in a formal contest even if it’s a minor one. Then again, if the competition aims to award the best-looking dog, you will want to make your fur baby stand out.
Weeks before the competition, freshen up your dog’s fur by trimming it down and using special shampoos and conditioners that add an extra shine to the coat.
Make it a habit as well to brush the fur and check for signs of fleas. If the competition includes catwalk fashion, consider shopping around for cute outfits and matching accessories for your pet.
Watch what they eat
Proper nutrition is part of your pet’s preparation for a major contest. The right food and supplements can sharpen your dog’s brain and provide them with the stamina and energy they need to take on the more physical challenges of the contest.
Moreover, you also need to make sure your dog’s weight is within contest rules. Avoid overfeeding or underfeeding your dog. Provide them with meal plans rich in protein and magnesium which is crucial for bone health and heart function.
If you choose to feed your dog with pre-packaged food, make sure to buy from reputable brands. There are too many dog food products out there that are not properly regulated, so it’s important to ask for recommendations from your vet, especially when choosing brands approved by regulatory groups like the Association of American Feed Control Officials.
You can also choose to feed your dog with raw food which contains a wide array of vitamins and minerals minus the preservatives common in many pet products. Just be sure that the food itself is easily digestible and in line with your pet’s digestive makeup.
Keep your dog fit
Along with proper nutrition, your dog should be in their best shape during the contest. If the event includes physical contests such as a run through an obstacle course or a game of frisbee, you need your dog to have enough stamina and an improved cardiovascular condition.
Exercise can also help your dog look their best by toning up the muscles and improving their mood which, in turn, makes them easily trainable. Once your dog is qualified to join a contest, go for daily walks and play catch. You might also want your dog to go swimming at the beach or in your pool.
Getting your dog to join a competition could be a highlight in your relationship. Whether or not you aim to win, opt for these tips and let the world know just how much you’re proud of your faithful canine.