Exhibiting events range from informal local competitions, to open shows for all breeds, to exclusive Labrador championships. Each has its own rules, but all follow similar principles in the quest to find a truly outstanding dog. Shows can provide a very sociable and rewarding day out for owners and canines alike.
Settling in at the Benches:
At most shows, dogs remain with their owners, but at some events your Labrador will be housed at a numbered “bench”. Secure your dog with a benching chain and offer it a drink of water. Have someone sit by the bench so your so your dog does not become bored or lonely, and postpone meals until after it is shown to keep it a active and alert.
Adjusting the “Stand”
For show presentation, your dog must adopt an appropriate stance. Train it from an early age to stand on command with its tail out, legs straight, and head held high. During the judge’s examination, you should interfere as little as possible, but you may encourage correct posture by using eye contact. Be cautious with food rewards; they can be over – exciting or may cause your dog to salivate unattractively.
When called, enter the ring and set your Labrador in its “show stance”. The judge will examine the body in detail to see how closely it conforms to the breed standard. Your dog’s temperament is being noted too, and any nervousness, resistance, or aggression will be viewed unfavorably.
Line – up of finalists:
After the individual assessments, a short list of five or six dogs is chosen and re – inspected. The judge will then place the finalists in order of merit, awarding rosettes for first, second, and third place, as well as for “reserve” and highly commended” contenders.
Assessment of the Gait:
The judge will ask for each dog to be walked round the ring, to appraise its movement. Dogs should “gait” with confidence and fluid grace; a stilted or hesitant manner will be penalized. Symmetry between dog and handler is also important. Some Labradors are natural show – offs and relish parading in the ring.
Excitement of Participating:
At the highest levels of exhibiting, training and ring handling are performed by professionals. In lesser leagues, owners show their own dogs, and attend events as an enjoyable hobby, offering friendly competition and the chance to socialize with like – minded people – all in all, a pleasant day’s outing.
Best of Breed:
Winning dogs will have the physical attributes of a champion along with a “star” personality. It is a tremendous achievement if your Labrador has captured a prize. Yet ideal looks and show style are not the sole Criteria of an outstanding dog; any dog in glowing health and with a fine temperament is just as much a winner. Countless “champions” are never seen in a show ring.