Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Advice From Veteran Fanciers

I joined an online dog show forum about a month back. Members include everyone from veteran fanciers to newbies like me. It's full of great information and I've learned a lot. In between shows I posted a question: Any tips on how to show on a budget? (This can quickly become expensive!) I received 30+ responses! I want to share some of them with you. BTW, my comments are italicized for your enjoyment.
  • Take a cooler. Food at show grounds is often expensive, bad for you and just plain bad. Restaurants are expensive, fattening and often bad too.
  • Ask others who you trust about judges preferences for your breed and keep notes from show to show so that you know where your entry fees are best spent.
  • Make sure you wait until your dog is mature enough and in good coat so you don't waste your money while he/she grows up.
  • Find handling classes, seminars and people you think do a good job and learn everything you can about grooming, training, and handling while you're waiting for your dog to mature. That way when the dog is ready ... so are you! To be competitive you need a nice dog who is well groomed, well trained, and well handled. Spend the money up front learning instead of losing.
  • Watch Craigslist for discounts on dog stuff. Sometimes you can find some amazing things for cheap. (Which reminds me, I really want a portable grooming table. If you know of a reasonably priced used one in the north Florida area, please let me know! -- K)
  • After showing for awhile, figure out what equipment you 'can't live without' and invest in those items for the long haul. (Again, grooming table!)
  • Shop at Goodwill, thrift stores, etc. for show clothes. Buy wash and wear (not dry clean only) and check labels.
  • Don't get sucked into buying the catalog. Many shows are MBF (Infodog.com) so the listings online around 8:00 the morning of the show.
  • Resist going "shopping" at the shows for dog goodies. (Or budget beforehand. Seriously, you want a couple goodies!)
  • Make sure you bring your paperwork with you that the superintendent mails you.
  • Make a list so you don't forget things and end up buying duplicates at the show.
  • Take your emergency pack: safety pens, extra pair of panty hose if you wear them, comb, bandages, sunscreen, etc. (Kaopectate!)
  • Gas up the night before, check air in tires, have change for tolls and money for parking.
  • Share everything whenever possible: travel, rooms, catalogs.
  • Set your priorities. Home bills gotta be paid first.
  • And from me: sign up with Hotels.com (or something similar) to find great rates and earn free nights. Hotels are expensive!
Anybody else have any ideas? Seriously, keep them coming! -- K