Dear Toy People

Yes you. The toy-show-dog* people.

*Henceforth to known as “nasty-little-toy-dogs-who-pee-on-everything”

I have a few tips to make your dog-show experience more enjoyable in the future.  Or at least to make the dog-show experience of your judge and ring steward more enjoyable in the future.

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First: I understand the convenience of having dogs so small that you can wheel in 10 or 12 miniature crates stacked on carts, thereby having the entire entry in several breeds.  How convenient for you that you can make your own points by keeping your entire litters.  One boy and two girls and you can get 9 of your points out of the way.

And it is good that you brought along your friend/husband/child/grandchild to take a dog back in.   But how much more convenient when they are at ringside to help switch dogs.   I realize that you consider your “babies” too delicate to groom outside with the other dogs and wish to groom by the toy ring.  But when you are set up several rows back or on the other side of the ring and between each class must go back to your setup and take out a new dog and put a leash on him and hand it to your friend/husband/child/grandchild while you put dog number one back in the crate and take two minutes to complete this transaction and get back to the ring with the next dog, well . . . do you realize that AKC only allows the judge 2 minutes per dog?

Don’t then complain when the judge is running 20 minutes late by the end of the block and does not have time to wait for the photographer to arrive so that you can get a picture for your one-point-win against your own dogs.

Second: I realize that your dogs are very small and it is easier to scoop them up and carry them than to make them walk on a leash when out and about.  But that may be counter-productive when you are at the dog show.  It was fortunate for you that yesterday’s judge wasn’t a “movement judge” as carrying your dog around the ring and then setting it on the table is not usually how it is done.  People with the shih tzus: your dogs are really not all that small and delicate.  Put a collar and leash on her and keep walking.  She will learn to follow.   Bending down in front of the dog and squeaking a squeaker in its face that is nearly as big as the puppy’s head is (obviously) not going to make the dog want to go forward and chase said squeaker.   Have you ever thought of offering the dog liver?  You’ll be surprised how well it works.

And finally: You need to find somewhere acceptable at the show for your dog to be able to relieve herself before ring-time.   When a 6 lb dog lets loose of a pint of pee, I know that this is not “bitch marking” and that the reason the poor little thing was not moving was because she couldn’t.  This was supposed to be a “scoop-your-own” show which was also meant to include inside the ring.  How also convenient for you that the judge, by then running 15 minutes late, did not have time to wait for you to do so.  In the first instance he was able to move the down-and-back to the side of the ring, in the second he avoided using the first corner of the ring by using the (then cleaned and dried) diagonal for the go-around.

And a note for chief ring stewards or for those responsible for ring supplies to the toy ring: a roll of paper towels would be a real plus, and if you could throw in a can of spray cleaner it would be even better.   Though it may have added to the spectators’ viewing pleasure to watch the ring steward in skirt and panty hose down on her (aging) hands and knees trying to clean up pints of pee with the little towelettes from the foil packages supplied for the judge to wipe chalk off his hands with.  And, chief ring steward, don’t then show up for the first time at 11:30 when the ring began at 8 a.m. and chuckle that you “forgot about the toy ring up here” and asking if the steward needs anything.   And note to ring steward: make sure that there are paper towels and cleaning supplies at the ring before starting to give the nasty-little-toy-dogs-who-pee-on-everything people their numbers.

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