Esther and I have a tendency to switch focus of our adventures from time to time. Bicycles kept us infatuated for many years. Motorcycles and Jeeps are always a welcome distraction and dogs have always been in the middle of all of it. Recently the dogs have gone from being a part of the action to becoming THE action. We have three great dogs right now, Akitas, and two are competing in dog shows and the other comes along for support and to guard our things.
There are many types of dog competitions but for the most part when people say a “dog show” they mean a “conformation dog show.” This is where the dog is judged to see how closely it conforms to the breed standard. The purpose of the dog show in its’ purist form is to judge breeding stock. The AKC (American Kennel Club) follows this purpose strictly and thus only allows in tact dogs to compete. The UKC (United Kennel Club) is more inclusive and allows all dogs to compete.
But there’s much more to gain for you and your dog than just acknowledgement that your dog fits the breed standard well. Participating in dog shows is a great way to socialize your dogs. You are surrounded by a majority of dog savvy people who read body language well enough to give space when needed. The spectators typically respect that you’re showing a dog and have other things to focus on so they don’t approach unless you look very available and open. Once done in the ring, the dogs love their social time and get to meet with many types of people and children in a pretty relaxed environment for them.
Being Akita owners this is especially helpful because the Akita can be a bit more work to socialize than some other breeds and having respectful dog people around can make the job a lot smoother. I don’t ever expect an Akita to be an “off-leash and play with random dogs” kind of a dog but I do expect them to walk politely around other dogs and I think many Akita owners struggle with this task. This is a great place to be able to comfortably ease your Akita into learning to focus on you instead of the other dogs.
This one is huge and will increase the odds of your dog surviving any type of emergency where vet care is needed. If you go through the effort to train your dog to “stack” which loosely means teaching the dog to keep his/her feet planted in a location, you will have an easy dog for your vet to examine and work with. A vet who says “I love that your dog auto-stacks for his exam” is a vet that will very thoroughly examine your dog. An unruly dog who squirms and/or grumbles simply won’t allow for the vet to obtain as much information as the calm stationary dog.
You Hate Money
Let’s say you just hate money and want to spend it all as fast as you can. Dog shows are perfect for you. There aren’t weekly or monthly local dog shows so if you want to go to more than a few shows per year you’re going to have to travel. In addition to travel you’ll have entry fees, grooming supplies, loss of work, higher medical bills as your diet goes to crap, and eventually if you go to enough shows you’ll get an RV because finding dog friendly hotels, and transporting your dogs back and forth from the show to the hotel while getting grooming done in between makes a fun canine experience feel a whole lot more like work.
Hey, getting ribbons is fun and some days you have the best dog!
Zappa after winning Best of Breed in his second show out of retirement
So that’s why we’re out there with our dogs trotting around in circles in a ring and so far it’s been quite a fun experience!