I got an email from Henry's breeder today about showing him in "altered" conformation classes which are, apparently, available at specialties. (who knew??)
The Labrador Owner's Club specialty is coming up and I entered him in Rally Advanced, but then took a closer look at the premium after receiving her email...
There is an "Exhibition Only" conformation class for spayed/neutered dogs... is that what she's talking about? These bitches and dogs can only compete in non-regular and unofficial classes. And then there is an unofficial class called "Obedience Trial Class" for those dogs who have earned their CD.
So.... is the exhibition only class like a real conformation class (with gaiting etc), just with altered dogs/bitches? Henery will stand no problem (he knows this from obedience and rally) and will very happily stand if I've got food in my hand.
Do non-regular/unofficial classes usually run last? I would hate to have a conflict with his rally class.
No one will laugh at you and Henery. I was thinking of entering Rhys last year, but now that he is Bones, its not really do able...I'm sure MaryLou would lend you Monte's collar and lead for the class, save you from buying one.
I'd use a show collar if possible (borrowing is a good option). They are lighter weight and show off the neck better than a chunky obedience collar. You may also want to borrow a show lead. They are much thinner and shorter (mine is 18" x 1/4" for all breed, specialty leads are different/longer/one piece but still very thin) so you don't have to ball up a 6' lead in your hand.
Don't be surprised as you are gating around that Henry will want to sit when you stop. That's what obedience trained dogs will do until they learn the difference. I resolved it by never ending in heel position with Essy. I would gait around the ring, give a hand signal and tell her to stand as I stopped in front of her, facing her. That would never happen in obedience so she caught on quickly that this was different and learned to stack herself. Most dogs at specialties will free stack. Ask Henry's breeder to help you learn to stack Henry (good) or teach him to stack himself (better).