How to Groom a Show Dog

Medium
30 - 90 Minutes
4 Weeks

Introduction

Before you groom your dog for any show, be sure you understand your dog's breed and what they typically look like and what show dogs, in particular, should look like within in the breed. The show judges will judge not only based on your dog’s skills but on how well your dog shows and is cared for. 

To meet the requirements of a show judge, you will need to understand what typical show dogs look like. Be sure you start this grooming process early, well in advance of the show, so any issues have been tackled long before the show. If you need to cut out huge knots or mats, you want to give those time to grow out. Also, if this happens to be your first show, you'll need time for any mistakes to be handled.

Dog's Perspective

If your dog is a fabulous show dog, then he probably knows this routine already. However, if this is your dog's first show, he may be a little anxious while trying to understand why you are suddenly poking and prodding at him so often. Before you begin a show dog’s grooming process, get in the habit of brushing him every day. Touch him, look in his ears, spread his paws, so he's used to being handled in such a way before you begin to groom him for the big show.

The Before Show Method

Effective
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Spray
Slicker Brush
Shampoo
Scissors
Pin Brush
Nail Clipper
Deshedder
Clipper
Dryer
Towel
Step
1
Brush
Brush your dog daily weeks before the show to ensure his coat is smooth and silky.
Step
2
Wash
Research shampoos for your dog's skin and fur and keep your dog well-maintained with regular baths. Be sure your dog is bathed the day before or the day of his show with the same shampoo you have been using prior to the show. This will ensure his skin is used to the shampoo and does not become dry and flaky the day of the show.
Step
3
Condition
Use a deep conditioner on your dog the day before or day of the show. This will leave a sleek shine along your dog's coat. Be sure you rinse it all out before you dry your dog so it does not leave a dull appearance, heavy with residue.
Step
4
Dry
Towel dry or use a dryer to fluff your dog's fur while drying.
Step
5
Cut
Clip or cut your dog's fur with clippers and scissors based on your research for how your dog’s particular breed should look for a dog show. This cut may require length on your dog's tail or length on the back of his legs but not on his sides. Be sure you know your dog's breed and how your dog should look before you begin to clip this fur.
Step
6
Face and body
Brush out your dog's fur after you have cut and clipped anything that needed trimming based on standard appearance for your dog's breed. Remember, if your dog's breed does not have a standard cut you, need to brush his fur out so it's soft and smooth and only trim to make his fur appear even. Once he is clean and trimmed, brush out all of the fur in one direction from his face and his body.
Step
7
Nails, teeth, ears
Do not skip out on grooming your dog’s nails, teeth, and ears. Be sure your dog's nails are trim and cut without any issues. Brush your dog's teeth, removing any plaque or dirt. And clean out your dog's ears well so they not only appear healthy and clean but also smell really good.
Recommend grooming method?

The Maintain Method

Effective
0 Votes
Slicker Brush
Shampoo
Scissors
Nail Clipper
Clipper
Dryer
Towel
Step
1
Baths
Keep your dog's fur and body clean by bathing him on a regular basis and brushing him every day before bed and at the start of the day.
Step
2
Ears
Clean your dog's ears every few days to keep out any gunk. The day of the show, be sure you do a good ear trimming, plucking all of the fur from inside your dog's ears as well as cleaning out any visible dirt.
Step
3
Teeth
Give your dog treats that will help keep his teeth clean, brush his teeth on a regular basis, and see your veterinarian for an annual cleaning. This will help keep your dog's teeth healthy and beautiful for the day of the show.
Step
4
Conditioners
For the few weeks prior to your dog's show, bathe him and after his bath use a leave-in conditioner to condition his fur leaving it soft and with a beautiful sheen.
Step
5
Under coat
On a regular basis, use a rake to pull out your dog's undercoat as it begins to shed. Before shedding becomes a problem, be sure to rake out your dog's undercoat and loose fur so there is no fur sitting on top of your dog during the show.
Step
6
Show day
The day of the show, just before your dog goes out into the ring, brush him out, smooth his coat on his face and his belly, and lightly spritz him with a spray bottle filled with water. Do not soak your dog's fur by any means; just give him a gentle spritz for shine.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • There are certain things you'll need to have on hand the day of the show. Know that list well in advance and pack this bag with everything you might need on site.
  • Be prepared to brush your dog just before he goes on.
  • You will be offering your dog treats throughout the show. Make sure these are treats that are not going to leave your dog with poor breath offending any judges.
  • Don't skip out on any oral grooming processes. Make sure before showtime, your dog's teeth are brushed, his gums are beautiful, his ears have been cleaned out, and his nails are done.
  • Make sure you are grooming the potty areas when you groom your dog for show. Keeping this area clean will be important, especially during showtime.
  • Research your dog's breed and what show dogs within that breed typically look like.
  • Research as well what judges look for, not only within your breed but with all dogs they are judging.
  • In advance of the show if you can, research the show itself. Certain judges will run a circuit of shows. Some shows will be more stringent than other shows. Know as much as you can about the particular show your dog is participating in before you decide to participate.

Conclusion

If you want to create the perfect Best in Show dog, do your research and know what you're doing long before the show. Practice on your dog well in advance so your dog not only looks like Top Dog but wins Best in Show as well.

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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