If you have just brought a pedigree puppy and have visions of treading the green carpet at crufts take a few moments to read my guide.
We have been showing dogs for just five years, and it can be an expensive, but very enjoyable hobby. My husband and I have met and made friends with so many people and travelled many miles to various shows across the country.
If you are interested in showing your dog you need to find ringcraft classes in your locality, and begin training your puppy to stand and walk on the lead as soon as possible, there are many books on the subject, but reading and doing are two different things!
Ringcraft classes are normally fairly reasonably priced and you can take your puppy to his/her first class as soon as it has had it's second vaccinations. Early socialision is important for all puppies, your puppy has to get used to lots of different people handling it, going over it, looking at it's teeth etc, however you must be very careful as young puppies mouths get very sore as they teethe just like babies do!
There are a couple of dog newspapers that you can pick up from your local newsagent. "Dog world" and "Our Dogs" these give listings of dog shows around the country, the public can go into these shows and walk around the rings to see what goes on... but please note you cannot take un-entered dogs in with you. Even if you are looking for a puppy, and can't make up your mind what breed is for you, you will find most owners more than happy to talk to you.
Visiting a dog show is also a good way to see what happens, what would be expected of you and your dog, when you finally make it into the ring, please note you cannot show any dog until it has reached the age of 6 months. You could start by entering your local companion show, this is where you will find a lot of people start in the show world, indeed it is where we first got bitten by the dog showing bug!
You can find lots of information on the internet about showing your dog, some sites even give listings of ringcraft classes. Our club is Portsmouth & Southsea Kennel Association we are based in Hampshire our website gives you lots more information on where to start and has links to other sites listing ringcraft clubs around the country. (We are a non-profit making club in Hampshire.) Ringcraft classes are normally pretty formal and welcome newcomers, you will find that most people are happy to share tips and advice with you. You will need to train at home too, but at your classes you will be taught ring etiquette, how to stand your dog (the stance will depend on the breed) and how to show it! Ringcraft classes do not teach puppy training! but your dog will be able to socialize with many other breeds.
Remember practice makes perfect and winning is not everything, don't be dissapointed if you don't go home with a red rosette (1st prize). just remember every dog has his/her day!
Good luck with your search for a puppy - or in your training.