First, grab your dog's registration certificate. All the names and numbers you'll need are on there.
Next, you'll you need an entry form. They usually come inside the premium. Once you get on a mailing list -- MB-F, Onofrio, breed clubs, etc. -- premiums will be mailed to you regularly. Premiums can often be found online at Infodog (for MB-F shows), Jack Onofrio Dog Shows, or through the website of the club hosting the show. In a pinch, you can download an AKC Event Official Entry Form here. In any event, the entry form will look something like this:
Go slow, you don't want to make any mistakes. Tip: Photocopy the form first. If you're anything like me, you're going to make mistakes! I also enlarge it (it's usually half page sized) because I write big. As you fill out the form:
- Check the show(s) you are entering. Some entry forms are used for multiple shows and/or multiple events (i.e. conformation and obedience). Read the form carefully.
- Make note of the fees. Disregard the lower price for additional entry. With conformation, you only want to enter one class per show per dog.
- Double check the entry closing date. It comes up faster than you think. Make sure to leave room for delivery time. Remember, the Post Office doesn't work on Sundays or holidays.
- Indicate Breed: Self explanatory.
- Fill in Variety: Some breeds divide dogs by color (i.e. cocker spaniels), size (i.e. poodles) or coat (i.e. collies). If your breed doesn't have a variety, leave blank.
- Check Sex: Again, I'm sure you can figure this out!
- Pick a Class: This is tricky. If your dog fits a puppy category, pick that one. Watch the date! It's a calendar date. If your dog was born on January 1, he may enter 6 to under 9 month puppy class on July 1 and remain in that category until September 30, but on October 1 you must be in the 9 to under 12 month class. You are only eligible for the Bred By class if you are listed as the breeder. American Bred is only for dogs born in the United States as a result of a breeding that took place in the United States. Open is for everyone. It's also the most competitive class.
- Fill in Division: Again, some breeds divide dogs by color, size or coat. To be honest, German shepherds don't have "variety" or "division" classifications, so I'm not too clear on this. This is a great question to pose to your breeder/mentor/breed club.
- Additional Classes: Skip this.
- Write Full Name of Dog: That's the fancy schmancy registered name (for us, it's Zente's Jedi Mind Trick) not the call name (Jedi).
- Write Registration Number: Check the appropriate box and carefully write in the number. NOTE: A PAL/ILP number will not work for conformation, but is perfectly acceptable for obedience, rally, agility, etc.
- Fill in Date of Birth: You know this one! (Double check though. This is very important, especially if you're entering one of the puppy classes.)
- Don't Forget Place of Birth: Country, not city or state.
- Carefully fill in Breeder, Sire (father) and Dam (mother): Copy verbatim from your dog's registration. Write legibly -- some of these names are pretty odd and can easily be misspelled in the catalog.
- Write Actual Owner(s): That's you and any co-owner(s).
- Fill in Owner's Address: Yours, unless you have a different agreement with a co-owner. NOTE: Your address will be printed in the catalog. If that makes you uncomfortable, consider getting a post office box now.
- Indicate Name of Agent (if any): This would be your handler. Owner handlers (like me!) leave it blank.
- Don't Forget Signature: The entry form is not valid without a signature.
- Telephone Number: Your phone number will not be printed in the catalog.
- New Exhibitor? and Owner/Handler Eligible?: Check yes or no as appropriate.
- Email address: Your email address is also not in the catalog either. However, they will send your confirmation this way, so make sure it's legible.
- The back page is mainly for junior handlers. Send it in anyway. The fine print says that your entry is not valid without it.
You should receive your entry confirmation a week to 10 days after the closing date. Double check it when it arrives. Notify the Show Superintendent if there are any mistakes, especially if it involves your dog's name or registration number.
Finally, there is some important paperwork to take with you to the show. I bring the following with me:
- Show confirmation letter.
- Copy of Jedi's rabies vaccination. (Just in case something happens.)
- Hotel confirmation paperwork.
- Directions to the show site. (Some of these sites are so out of the way that you can't get cell service for GPS.)
Tomorrow's Topic: Judges