Preparing for the Show Ring by Mary Dewey
One prepares for the show ring long before the show entries close. Hopefully one starts preparing for the show ring before buying their first pup. There is a lot of homework to be done, before even getting ready. I shall assume the homework is done and one is preparing a fully mature Newfoundland for the ring. The Newfoundland is a slow maturing dog and if one really wants to win, I encourage waiting for the dog to be fully mature before entering those shows. It is a real joy to show a fully mature Newfoundland and win over good competition.
A Newfoundland must be well conditioned before going in the ring. Even the best moving dog needs muscle tone, and walking the dog regularly helps build the bond between dog and handler.
The purpose of dog shows is to evaluate dogs for use as breeding stock. Before one thinks about preparing the dog for the ring, one needs to read and understand the Standard and fully assess their dog. Conformation classes are a good way to help with this, as one is usually surrounded by objective observers. They see the dog move and can make suggestions about moving the dog at the correct speed and stacking the dog to show off its attributes. Not all dogs are handled the same way and the more one prepares the better the dog will show.
Years ago we did not bathe dogs before the show as it was felt that the shampoo would soften the coat and not show the correct coat to advantage. Dogs were well groomed and were not dirty, but they showed the correct oily texture to the coat. I acknowledge the need to bathe the dogs in today’s competition, bur it is important to remember the value of the coat to the working dog. A dog without the correct coat cannot be protected from the harsh North Atlantic Ocean. You cannot produce the correct coat in the whelping box if you don't have it on the dog in the first place. You must know what you have in your dog before you show it.
I have very definite views on scissoring. Ears and feet should be trimmed to give a neat appearance. The rest of the coat should be thoroughly combed and brushed, but should otherwise be left alone. Dogs are sculpted today to give a certain appearance. People are even shaving dogs. This is not correct and should be severely penalized by the judges.
The best show dog? One who is clean and well conditioned with a good temperament.
reprinted from NewfTide 2002, Images © Chad Perry 2009, used with permission