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Equipment You’ll Need To Show Your Dog

Before you start for your first show there are certain pieces of equipment you will need. One is a strong collar that fits your dog well; either round leather, flat leather, or a chain. Another item you will need is a bench chain. A bench chain is just what its name implies—used to chain a dog to the bench, snapping onto the ring in the collar and to the ring provided for that purpose on the bench.

When fastening the dog to the bench, be sure to leave enough chain so that the dog can lie down but not long enough to allow him to jump off the bench, as he could possibly hang himself.

You will also need a show lead. A show lead is usually much finer than the leads used for walking a dog. Before purchasing a show lead, find out what type is used by the successful exhibitors in your breed. In some breeds the dogs are exhibited on the same chain collar used for benching with a fine leather snap-on lead attached to it.

In some breeds the exhibitors prefer leather one-piece leads. I say leather, but this type one-piece show lead is made up in whalehide, lacing, nylon belting, and many other materials. In the toy breeds some exhibitors use a nylon string, which is no heavier than the lead of a pencil. Terriers are almost always shown on a leather collar and lead.

You will need a sponge, and if you have a liking for the synthetic ones, they will do very nicely. You will want to take along a towel—an old one will do. Your dog will have been bathed before being brought to the show, if he is of a breed that requires bathing, but if he becomes carsick and drools over himself, or if he walks through a puddle and then through dust or dirt, the sponge and towel will help you clean him before taking him into the ring.

If you are sure that you have done every necessary bit of trimming at home perhaps it will not be necessary to carry trimming tools with you. However, a great many people find it advisable to carry with them at least a few trimming tools for those last-minute repairs. A pair of scissors, perhaps a small stripping knife, and any other one or two tools you are fond of for trimming in your breed may come in handy. A comb and brush are necessities, and will be very welcome just before you go into the ring.

Talking of equipment leads me quite naturally to a discussion of crates. A tack crate, with one or two drawers, would have all these tools stored in the drawers ready to go at a moment’s notice. It is not at all necessary for you to take your dog to a show in a crate or to have a tack crate; the majority of dog-show goers do not use crates.

If your dog rides well in the back seat of your car or even on the front seat next to you, and you enjoy having him there and wish to take him to the shows that way, you will find at least nine tenths of the exhibitors doing it the same way.

If, however, you feel you would like to carry your dog to the shows in a crate, or if you haven’t yet made up your mind, I would like to point out these advantages. En route, if you have to jam on your brakes suddenly, the dog will not tumble from the seat to the floor and perhaps hurt himself enough to be limping when he goes into the ring. Instead, he will scarcely be aware of the sudden stop.

If your dog is riding in a crate, he will not be looking out of the window and getting himself all excited at every dog or cat he sees; he will be asleep and resting. If you want to go out for dinner and it is necessary to leave your dog in the car or in a hotel room, you will find that he will soon become so accustomed to the crate that he will be more than happy while you’re away and you won’t have to worry that he may become bored or angry and start to chew on the upholstery—an expensive pastime.

Suppose you are staying overnight at a friend’s home where there is another dog and you can’t very well bring your dog into the house. It may be too cold or too hot to leave him locked in the automobile. He can be kept in his crate and the crate placed in the garage, the basement, or even in your bedroom, and you will rest assured that he will annoy no one and will get his proper rest.

The greatest advantage in using a crate is that it gives you an ideal surface on which to clean your dog at the show, and when the dog is on the bench the empty crate is an excellent place in which to store your belongings. At an unbenched show it is ideal and worth its weight in gold.

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