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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am new to the world of showing Labs. I am going to my first big show in 2 weeks with my now 7 month old yellow. A 2 day specialty????I might have bitten off more than I can chew. But anyway...
I have a few questions about grooming.
1. Should I trim the long thick hairs on his face. (above his eyes, around his neck...)
2. Other than bathing is there any other grooming I should do?
3. Should I cut and file his nails down?

Any grooming tips and advice would be appreciated.
Thanks a bunch!
Lisa...and Buddy
 

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I'm still new, so take what I have to say with a grain of salt, okay? ;)

Definitely cut/file his nails down as short as possible without causing him any discomfort- don't wait until just before the show in case you accidently cut too short and cause any pain (not a good thing to go into a show with a lame dog because of cutting a nail too short, etc.). I tend to Dremel both of my dogs approx. every 10-14 days to try to *keep* them short.

As far as trimming, don't trim whiskers and try to avoid trimming the twizzle (end of the tail) for a specialty show. You can "neaten" the feet a bit by getting some of the excessive hair off that may be sticking out between toes and whatnot, but don't get too "scissor happy" because you want your lab to have hair! ;) LOL Most likely, you'll be showing outdoors anyhow, on the grass? The feet will likely be covered up by grass when free-stacked in the ring.

Specialty shows typically have breeder-judges, so they tend to like labs more au-naturale (is that how you spell that?) than an all-breed judge who is used to dogs with a lot of grooming. I have gotten to the point where although I was once taught to bathe my dogs before shows, I simply don't do it anymore- I can't remember the last time I gave mine a bath. At most, I'll spritz them down with diluted Listerine-water to tone down any muddy-wet-dog smell they may be trying to carry in with them (especially since they're house-dogs), but usually I don't have to (because they're house-dogs). I also tend to rinse them with fresh hose water after they've been playing in our chlorinated pool. They are supposed to feel a bit oily- that oil on their coat that helps with the water-repellent nature of it. Two different judges at a specialty show I was at this fall really lectured people for bathing their dogs. LOL

Does that help at all? Are there any "special needs" areas that you need to work on such as a cowlick causing a topline problem, etc.?
 

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Yes, do NOT bathe your dog before a show. If he is really dirty, rinse him with some warm water, but bathing softens the coat and it will appear incorrect to the judge as a lab coat should be somewhat harsh.
Don't trim the whiskers on his face...he needs those to protect his eyes if he is in any thicket.
 

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We don't do much in the way of grooming either. We keep up with the nails regardless of shows. I'm actually superstitious about bathing labs....turns out we've always done better in the ring (1st's) with no bath, and worse when we have....(2nd's on down....). We don't bathe anymore. Just some good brushing and wetting down with plain old water.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
That makes sense. Someone at the carwash today said he felt soft like a cat. Darn it...I gave him a bath on Monday. But there are still 10 days until the show. I will have to take him in the hills for some runs to get him dirty again. Thanks for the advice.
 

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In addition to trimming nails, I would brush his teeth or wipe them with one of those pre-moistened teeth wipes. I don't know if it matters in the ring, but I think it's nice to see dogs with no tartar on their teeth and a nice fresh breath. I would also clean inside his ears. I've never seen a judge look inside the ears, but some touch inside the ears. I would also make sure there is no eye gunk on the dog right before you go in the ring. Otherwise, grooming tables kind of scare me around Labrador rings.
 

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Brush him a couple of times a day until the show and that will bring the oils back out and de-fluff his coat :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for all the great advice. I really goofed by signing him up for a specialty show our first round out. What was I thinking? I hope I don't make a fool of me and my dog.
 

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modelmom said:
Thanks for all the great advice. I really goofed by signing him up for a specialty show our first round out. What was I thinking? I hope I don't make a fool of me and my dog.
Nah, I would think completely the opposite, since specialty shows tend to be more informal than all-breed shows. Usually breeder-judges are a bit more lenient toward mistakes than many of the "handler-friendly" all-breed judges. I LOVE specialty shows...everyone is so nice and so complimentary and the environment is more like family/friends. :) My second show (in as many weeks) ever was a large specialty show just more than a year ago...I've never regretted going, especially with a puppy, and the judges were sooooo nice!

Best of luck!!!
 

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Oh yes, and a specialty judge will find your dog, even if you aren't the greatest handler. They are also much more patient with puppies.
Have fun ;D ;D ;D
 

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True to all of the above sentiments...
I got to witness this at Potomac... the puppies were jumping on the judges, stopping to scratch themselves on the up and backs, flirting with the dog behind them, laughing at pretty much the whole process going on around them and every single judge, without exception, was smiling and enjoying labs being labs.

Good luck!
 
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