Going to a specialty; need advice
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Thread: Going to a specialty; need advice

  1. #1
    Tatyana is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultGoing to a specialty; need advice

    So, I'm going to Sierra Vista specialty in September. This is my first specialty, and I have no clue about what's going on. I picked up "Absolute Beginners Guide to Showing Dogs," to at least help me figure out classes, etc.

    My main purpose in going for me is to start figuring out what kind of Lab I like, what kind of Lab the judges think is the best, and to see if the differences between my and judges' opinions are more cosmetic or structural. So, which classes do you think will be the most beneficial for me to watch? I am going to come and see Julie and Monty, so I'll watch some puppies. But should I really focus on adults?

    Any other advice will be greatly appreciated, too.

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  3. #2
    ruff n tumble crew is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Going to a specialty; need advice

    My best advice......keep your eyes open and have a great time. I would plan to make a day of it. Anything less would be akin to sacrilege. LOL Also, bear in mind that every judge will have different views. They may or may not like the same things that you or I do. If you have a mentor, stick close and pick his/her brain for as much info as you can get. Once again, have a great time!!

  4. #3
    WigWag Guest

    DefaultRe: Going to a specialty; need advice

    Make sure you see the winners go back in for winner's dog and/or winner's bitch. You will see 1st place in each class and get an idea of what is in each class - puppies, open, etc. Buy a catalog (look under a tent for a table set up that sells them), plop down a chair and start watching. You can see what the dog's name is and breeding in the catalog - look at the handler's armband number and look it up. You can also follow the classes going in by the catalog. Try not to focus on one or two dogs in a class. Instead watch each dog as the judge goes over him/her and even make notes on your catalog of which ones you liked and didn't like. Then see what the judge does. And yes remember that you might have picked a specific dog that got dumped and yet it could definitely still be a very nice dog - just different from what that judge liked.

    Walk around and watch for people either standing around or coming out of the ring. If you see a dog you like go over and pet him/her and ask the name and then ask "What's his/her pedigree?" You might get a bunch of names you never heard of but that's okay just try and remember a little or you might hear a name over and over that you know and/or remember. That's a good thing since then you are being consistent in what you like. Some people will be more friendly than others. Those that are being friendly you can chat more with and those that are not you can smile at and then move on.


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  6. #4
    CaliforniaLabLover's Avatar
    CaliforniaLabLover is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Going to a specialty; need advice

    I agree- the best advice that someone gave me when looking at dogs was to get a show catalog and mark the dogs you really like the looks of (you'll be surprised, if you're consistent with what you like, how many are going to have common relatives when you do some pedigree searches when you get back home). Don't be shy in (quietly- if ringside) telling people that you're new and looking to get another lab in the future, and ask about breeders, dogs in the ring, etc...I've learned that most of the people around here are really, really open to helping out newcomers to the "lab fancy" and almost everyone has a pretty strong opinion that they're pretty happy to share!

    I've never been showing up in northern California (I just started showing at the end of April), and have never shown with the "big-name breeders" up there (not many came down south for the LRCSC specialty in April that we were at), though I'm really looking forward to sitting ringside and watching everything and everyone! I find that sometimes sitting quietly ringside and listening is a great way to learn, too.

    My classes will be amongst the first in the morning (6 am- yikes!), but I will be happy to help out in any way I can afterward. I think I've talked a couple of lab friends into coming up, too. They have all been in it longer than I have, and have a lot of experience to share. Maybe I can even talk my breeder-judge friend into coming up...she has a beautiful black bitch who needs one major to finish. She is a wealth of knowledge and has been in it for a long time. We'll see. It is a pretty long drive for people in southern California, especially when the specialty itself is spread out on a Friday and a Monday like that.

    ~Julie, Rogue, Monty, and Eddy~

    "The reason a dog has so many friends is that he wags his tail instead of his tongue." -Anon

  7. #5
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    Fallriver is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Going to a specialty; need advice

    More good advice...get there early and get your chair close to the ring and in a good spot to see them gait so you can see the dogs without standing all day ;D
    Sometimes the chairs can be three of four deep and you can miss so much. Ideally, you will find a successful, long time breeder and you can snuggle your chair up close to them and just watch the dogs and listen, listen, listen!
    Dana


    To err is human:To forgive, canine."
    - Anonymous

  8. #6
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    DefaultRe: Going to a specialty; need advice

    Also try and sit where you can see the down and back movement.

  9. #7
    Tatyana is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Going to a specialty; need advice

    Well, our plan is to start driving from Salt Lake City around 4pm on Thursday. We should be in Grass Valley around 11pm on the day before the specialty. Should we set our chairs up on Thursday night?

    We're staying at Best Western there, too, Julie. Did not want to drive all the way to Stockton only to have to drive back at 5am.

    Is there going to be only one ring? How will I know which side the dogs will be gaiting along?

    I will definitely get a catalog and try to meet and talk to quite a few of the breeders/people there. Thanks for great advice to a newbie.

  10. #8
    CaliforniaLabLover's Avatar
    CaliforniaLabLover is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Going to a specialty; need advice

    I don't know whether or not we can set up chairs Thursday night, but it may be a possibility and would be good if we can.

    For the classes I've shown in, the judge always does either a down and back from where the group is (usually under some sort of cover, along the same side as the entrance is on...the judge is usually standing around that area as well) or a triangle down one side, across the opposite end of the ring, and then back to where the judge is standing. I don't know if that helps or not... I am much more visual than verbal when it comes to describing things. LOL

    ~Julie, Rogue, Monty, and Eddy~

    "The reason a dog has so many friends is that he wags his tail instead of his tongue." -Anon

  11. #9
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    DefaultRe: Going to a specialty; need advice

    At my first specialty I took a digital camera and got shots of everyone as they were free-baiting their dogs.
    The armband # was in the pictures so I could refer to the catalog.

    Have fun!!

  12. #10
    Tatyana is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Going to a specialty; need advice

    About taking pictures, will the flash from the camera scare the dogs? Should I use my camera without it?

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