Monday, April 6, 2015

E -- Equipment

I learned quickly that there is a lot of "stuff" involved with showing dogs. And the bigger the dog, the bigger the "stuff."

Disclaimer: This is not a comprehensive list. The equipment you use and/or take to shows depends a lot on your breed, your personal preferences and how much room you have in your vehicle. However, I'm sharing my "must haves" to give you a starting point.
  • A crate. Dog shows are stressful. Your dog will need a safe place to hang out and decompress. Crates come in very handy in the hotel room too. I know some people who carry two crates per dog to multiple day shows -- one for the room and one to leave at the show grounds. I don't have that much room so I break down every day.
  • A crate fan. I live in Florida. It's hot. And Jedi prefers an airline crate, so he doesn't get the airflow he'd get with the wire-crate-that-he-refuses-to-use. I bought a battery operated fan that attaches to the crate for less than $20.
  • A hanging water bucket. This bucket clips onto the front of Jedi's crate so he can get water without spilling it everywhere.
    My best investments: a grooming table and forced air dryer.
  • A grooming table. Seriously, this is a back saver. I wash, brush, dry and trim him on the table. It's big and heavy. I don't groom Jedi at the show grounds. Instead, I wash and blow him out at home the day before, and do a quick spritz and fluff at the show. (I was told by a professional handler that I should rethink this.) This isn't an option for some breeds. The table size/height that you need depends on your dog. At shows I've seen some nice crate/table combos designed for smaller dogs. I got my table new for about $100, but have seen used ones on Craigslist for less than $50.
  • A forced air dryer. This is awesome! I can completely dry my double-coated German shepherd in 30-45 minutes. The dryer blows out any loose hairs (so use it outside) and leaves his coat clean and fluffy. You just don't get the same results from air drying or people hair dryers. This really is a must-have for thick, double coated dogs. I bought one on Amazon.com for about $90.
  • A show collar. This is a personal choice. The trick is finding one that doesn't stick out -- you want the judge to see your dog, not the collar -- while you still have control of your dog. I use a brass Herm Sprenger Fur Saver. I'm not sure I like it though. Jedi outgrew his collar and I had to buy an emergency substitute at the Suwannee shows in March. I'm now using a thin nylon lead. I think I might prefer it.
  • A show lead. This leash needs to be strong, thin and flexible enough that you can wad most of it up and hide it in your hand. Too much excess leash is distracting and looks ugly. I use a 6 foot long, 1/4 inch wide brown leather leash.
  • I carry a tack box (ok, it's a Star Wars backpack) with:
    • a travel first aid kit
    • comb, brush, mousse, grooming apron
    • doggie toothbrush and toothpaste, ear cleaner, cotton balls and Q-tips
    • a black Sharpie (Invariably, the cat scratches Jedi's muzzle just before a show. The marker makes the tiny bald spot less noticeable.)
    • peppermints (They mask the smell of adrenaline in my breath, so Jedi doesn't pick up on my nerves.)
    • Rimadyl, Immodium and Bonine (because we've dealt with a sudden sore leg, diarrhea and carsickness in the past)
    • poop bags and hand sanitizer
    • Jedi's shot record and a copy of the entry form
  • A cooler with water, sandwiches, steak (Jedi's bait) and maybe a shot of whiskey to calm my nerves.
  • Chairs for me and Hubby. There's a lot of waiting around.
  • Camera. I still can't believe I'm doing this!
  • Cash. Paying in cash helps keep me on budget. And If there's a working ATM at the show grounds, it's going to charge an outrageous service fee.
This is a snood
And remember, necessary supplies vary by breed. Basset hounds wear snoods outside the ring to keep their ears from dragging in the dirt. Poodles need extensive clipping, so grooming shears are a must. You'll quickly learn what you need -- usually because you don't have it. Any veteran fanciers want to chime in? -- K

Tomorrow's Topic: Finishing