I have a one year old male yellow lab that is AKC registered. I have never shown before, but I want to do a conformation show in April. I actually have only seen bits and pieces of dog shows on television and really have no idea what to expect or do. Can you give me some advice or information on what I should know or expect to do at the show. We are several hours away from any clubs so it is difficult for me to just go watch a show.
I have trained him myself since he was just a puppy using much of the advice found on these boards and from reading about 15 different training books. He is quite well behaved but tends to get very excited and playful around other dogs. That is my biggest fear that I won't be able to keep him under control with all the other dogs around.
Any advice? Help? etc?
Did you buy your lab as a conformation prospect? I'm guessing as long as he is AKC registered he can techincally be shown, but you might be discouraged to sign up and pay the entry fees only to find out that he isn't the type of lab that will win in the ring. I would strongly advise that you go to at least a few shows before you consider entering your dog so that you can see the other labs there and get a feel for how the process works. You will also benefit from taking some handling classes as it's not as simple as just walking your dog in a circle for the judge
Your best bet would be to try to find a club that is holding a Match. It will be a more positive experience for you if it's not a REAL competition. AKC showing is very competitive and with labs even more so. It's fun but you need to have tough skin though because you will lose more than you will win. But if you get bitten by the bug, it's very rewarding too.
I've been showing just a little over a year. I bought my 3rd lab from a breeder as a show prospect. She was the pick female. And we still don't really win anything other than our class.
Have you considered looking into UKC? You use the same showing skills, it's less competetive and it also gives you more shows to consider going to. Also, depending on what part of the country you live in, there may not be many labs showing, so you can build your confidence at those smaller shows.
Can you take your dog with you to the show if they are not in the competition? I would also like to just see how he acts at an event like that.
The breeder I bought him from told me that the litter he came from was bred for temperament - obedience, hunting. And I can tell you that he has been incredibly easy to train and is a natural in the field. He retrieved birds without any official training at all. When I bought him, I was only thinking about getting him as a companion but I think it would be fun to get into doing some competitive events with him. I really don't know if he is a conformation prospect, but I imagine I would find out pretty quick if he wasn't at the first show we went to. Of course, I think he is the most beautiful lab in the world, but he may not be perfect in breed standards.
I tried to understand the standards off the AKC website, but I really don't get it.
Where would I look to find a handlers class? I am in Southern Utah about 2 hours from Las Vegas and 4 hours from Salt Lake City.
Oh and one other thing... What is a small show (in # dogs)? According to the show website this show last year had 17 total. And what is UKC?
Labs from hunting stock usually will not do well in the show ring. Desire and retrieving ability are focus. My lab is field stock and definately was not bred with conformation in mind. If you are looking for something competitive to do with your lab, I would look into either obedience, agility or best yet-hunt tests (in my opinion of course ) I live in Provo UT. The two retriever clubs that I know of are in the northern end of the state, and would be a 4-5 hour drive for you to their events, but there are a lot of nice folks involved. You might find another club closer to you in Las Vegas or AZ. If your lab was bred for hunting, I think you'll find it a lot more rewarding to compete in HT's than in conformation. But, you could always give obedience a try. Still lots of fun and you could check out the conformation ring while you are there and get a feel for the types of labs that do well in that event.
There will be a big all-breed show in Farmington area in May. The show is pretty big, however, the Labrador entry is small. You might want to come and check it out. I am sure there are shows in Las Vegas area that will be closer for you.
As Tagen said above, sounds like your dogs comes from field lines, so it won't do well in conformation ring. I would also second trying to get into hunt tests, obedience, agility, etc. Even if you dog comes from show/bench/conformation lines, it does not automatically mean that the dog will do well in the conformation ring. My dog comes from show lines, but he would not be successful in the show ring because of little imperfections here and there. He is a great obedience and tracking dog and we're trying to figure out how to get him interested in hunt tests.
In the last UKC show I was at, my boy was the only Male lab. A total of 6 labs....
You MAY want to think about competetive obedience, rally and/or agility, even hunting trials too. If the dog wasn't bought for conformation purposes, chances are he's probably not the type that would win in the ring. But that doesn't mean you can't have fun in all the other events. Our second lab would be laughed out of the breed ring, but she is smart as a whip and we have gotten 2 obedience titles and are working on more, and sometimes I find THAT competetion alot more fun than showing because performance events are a real testament to the work you put in with your dog and the bond you share. Just something for you to think about....
UKC is the United Kennel Club www.ukcdogs.com . Just as the AKC is the American Kennel Club. They offer shows and trials. These shows are less formal and are a very good resource for the novice and inexperienced exibiter. Most are fairly small though.And what is UKC?
As some of the others suggested, think about getting into obedience and other performance activites. That's how I got into conformation. I started going to shows that also had obedience and would go talk to the lab breeders ringside. Good luck!
And the Dostaff Girls:
Abby, Anna, Ava, Brandy, Cali, Holly, and Ruby (and Dixie, too)
Thanks for all the advice. As you can tell I really don't know anything about this. I think I will reconsider and look into the obedience trials. That sounds much more fun anyhow.
I didn't know how much enjoyment I would get from training and working with my dog until I got my "love-rador" baby. It is so much fun working with him and of course I think he is the cutest, smartest baby out there. Maybe I will check out those shows up in Northern Utah this spring just to watch. There are a couple coming up in April in Las Vegas too. Then think about entering something this fall.
Thanks again everyone... Oh and no one answered my question about taking my dog to a show he isn't competing in... Is that allowed?