In December, I had an amazing opportunity to be a dog reporter at the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship. I had the chance to try out a lot of neat dog sports things including dog diving and testing out my skills in the conformation ring. So today I wanted to share with you my pals my experience being a show doggie.
I got word a few weeks before my trip to Orlando there was an invitational event called the Bloggers Stakes on Saturday afternoon and Eukanuba asked if I wanted to participate. This event was for press to try their hand at showing a dog in the championship ring. I said sure thing Eukanuba, I would love to participate as the dog being shown. They explained that this event gives the press and bloggers a chance to experience a dog show as a participant, not just covering it from the side of the ring. They also said one member of the press would be crowned the blogger stakes champion. That perked up my ears! Hmm … an award that even London the standard poodle doesn’t have (yet). I said, “I’m in!” Then they said they needed to talk to my assistant (Mom) to give her all the details.
Mom got off the phone and had a look of panic on her face. She said, “Preston! Do you know what you just agreed to? We only have a few weeks to make you into a show dog?!?! You’re not a show dog, you don’t know how to show, how to stack, which I have no idea what that is, and how to wow the judges.” I told mom, “Don’t worry, I got this! I have a plan!”
Preston’s Champion Show Dog Makeover Training Plan:
1) Take a class. I’m big on higher doggie education, so I set up a session with the president of our local kennel club. He gave us a thirty minute crash course on where we are supposed to walk, how to set up on the table, where to hold the treats, how to walk me, etc. I thought it was fun. Mom looked kind of stressed trying to figure out how to hold the leash, the treats, and keep me still all at the same time. I also learned I wasn’t up to breed standards. I’m too tall, my tail is crooked, and I am bowlegged. But … I had the perfect amount of westitude to take home the ribbon.
2) Get the look. My amazing groomer shows Scotties so I knew he was the man to make me look all fluffy. However, there was one small detail I didn’t plan for … I needed to be “stripped” instead of having my hair cut. Stripping is where they pull out hair with a special comb to make the coat thick. I thought pulling my hair might hurt, but sometimes beauty can be painful. My groomer did the best he could, but he said it would be months or maybe even years before I had the thick show coat. Before we left, he showed Mom a trick with hairspray to make my head fur look all fluffy.
3) Get a show lead. I learned that my regular leash would not cut it – I needed something flashy. So, on the first day of the Eukanuba show we visited the vendor booths looking for the perfect lead that says, “I’m the best, you have to pick me!” We found the perfect show lead for me, it was white leather with blue bling all over it. The nice lady at the booth even gave Mom more lessons on how to bunch and hold her arm while showing me.
4) Talk to a member of the profession. We had to talk to the number one westie in the country, named Party Boy, and his show team. I sent the rents on this mission to get the top-secret westie info. I hope they weren’t crazy stalkers in the grooming area embarrassing me. Mom said Party Boy was so handsome and so fluffy white. His team told Mom to train me to like grooming (ok that isn’t going to happen) and what shampoo and styling product Party Boy endorses.
5) Pick my handlers clothes. I wasn’t taking anything to chance so I gave my handler (Mom) a Eukanuba pink colored sweater to wear in the ring.
So … stop by tomorrow to read my account of being a show dog . Plus, you better watch the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship THIS Saturday at 2 pm central on ABC. Maybe you will see me (not in the ring, but maybe in a clip!). There will also be a big Twitter party while the show is on. Use the hash tag #celebratedogs to join in. I’ll be there!
Click here to read Preston, champion show dog attempt, part 2 to see what happened!