How to train your dog for a dog show

By Contributing Writer


Your dog should know basic obedience orders such as sit, down, stay and heel, before you will be able to enter them into a dog show. There are many other factors to consider when entering a dog show, like the dog’s appearance and the conformation to the American Kennel Club guidelines pertaining to the breed standards. Once you have checked all of these standards and are ready to train your dog for dog shows, follow these steps below to to achieve success.

Step 1

Discipline your dog to sit. This will be part of almost every exercise that you will be training your dog to do in the dog show. While you are walking your dog, train him to sit without command anytime that you stop, by giving him voice commands at first and reward him when he does as you ordered. Do this repeatedly until he will automatically sit whenever you stop, even without your command.

Step 2

Master the heel position. Whenever you and your dog are out walking, make sure that she knows the heel position, which is at your left side and facing the same direction as you are facing. She should stay in line with your left hip, close to your side, but not too close. This is her place, at heel, whether she is sitting, lying down, standing or moving. At the dog show, she will be expected to run with you at heel in a predetermined pattern of turns and sit at heel when you stop.

Step 3

Teach your dog to come, which is called "recall" at dog shows. Have your dog sit down and stay, while you walk to the other side of the room. At the dog show, the judge will signal you to have the dog come and then you can signal or call for the dog to come to you. She should come straight to you with a brisk trot and squarely sit in front of you until given the command to finish, at which time she should go to heel position. If she has done all of the commands correctly, reward her with liver or a dog treat.

Step 4

Command your dog down. This should follow the same discipline actions as the sit command, only this time, use the word ‘down’ and it will mean that he should lie completely down. There will be an exercise at the dog show called "drop on recall," which means that after given the signal to come and while he is galloping toward you, the judge will signal a down at which time your dog must assume the down position immediately. Be sure to reward him when he has mastered the down.

Step 5

Order a stay from your dog. While you are training your dog to sit and down, begin to tell her to stay when you walk from her. It is important to only reward her when she accomplishes the stay, because then she will know that is the behavior she must exhibit. When you take her to the dog show this will be an exercise that will be judged; she will need to stay while you walk out of her sight, so this should be worked on daily.
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