Conformation Competition

The American Kennel Club (AKC), United Kennel Club (UKC), Canadian Kennel Club (CKC), and other registries award championship titles to purebred dogs who successfully compete in their dog shows. The requirements for each registry's competitions vary, but basically the dogs must compete against other dogs of the same breed. Judges choose the dog(s) who, on that day, best represent all that is correct about the breed according to the breed standard. (The standard is a description of the breed usually written by the national breed club.) The dog's physical conformation (how he is put together) is being judged, as well as how he gaits (moves, usually in a trot) and, to a lesser extent, his temperament.

Teaching your dog to do tricks is great fun and excellent training. As you teach your dog a variety of tricks, you're perfecting your training skills; your dog listens, follows directions, and performs the trick, and then you (and your audience) laugh! It makes training fun, too, which means you're more apt to continue doing it.

A trick that is easy to teach and looks great is the weave through your legs. Have some treats in both hands. Stand with your legs apart enough for your dog to walk between them. Using the treats as lures, encourage your dog to walk between your legs and then walk a figure-eight pattern around them. Stop after one figure eight and praise your dog, popping a treat in his mouth. Repeat the exercise, praising enthusiastically each time. When he is doing it easily, start decreasing the treats and signals.

This is a very simplistic explanation of dog show competition. There is much more to it—so much so that entire books have been written on it. To get started, you will need a copy of the breed standard for your dog. You can go to the AKC's website (, the UKC's website (www.ukc, or the registry that governs your dog's breed. You can print the breed standard for your dog.

The websites also have information about conformation competition as well as upcoming dog shows. Go watch a few shows, watch the dogs, and talk to people before entering your first show. To succeed, your dog must be an excellent representative of his breed; you may want to have some people who are knowledgeable of the breed (not friends and neighbors!) take a look at him. Showing can be a fun activity, but it is also very competitive; many people, especially breeders, take it very seriously.

Pit Bulls as Pets

Pit Bulls as Pets

Are You Under The Negative Influence Of Hyped Media Stereotypes When It Comes To Your Knowledge Of Pit Bulls? What is the image that immediately comes into your mind when you think of the words Pit Bull? I can almost guarantee that they would be somewhere close to fierce, ferouscious, vicious, killer, unstoppable, uncontrollable, or locking jawed man-eaters.

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