Dog Show Spectator Etiquette and Tips
If you are attending your very first dog show, there are some basic unwritten rules your should follow to help make sure your experience as well as that of the exhibitors and dogs is as pleasant and wonderful as possible.
Purchase and then study the show’s catalog or schedule, usually sold near the entrance to the show. This will tell you in which ring and at what time each breed is being judged.
If you want to find out the ring number and time for the Chihuahuas before going to the show, check the show Superintendent’s web page. InfoDog is home to the Superintendent, MB-F. Other often used Superintendents are Jack Onofrio or Roy Jones.
To find the Ring Number and Show Time, look for the judging schedules/program section of the web page for the dog show.
Plan to arrive early. In most cases, once each breed has been judged, those dogs are allowed to leave; if you arrive later, you will miss seeing them.
Wear comfortable shoes because you will be doing a lot of walking. Unless you bring a chair or arrive early, be prepared to stand most of the time, as seating is usually limited.
Stay clear of the ring entrances/gate. It is difficult for exhibitors to get in and out of the rings when spectators are in the way of the entrance. If there are large entries, the exhibitors need plenty of room to gather to be ready to enter and exit the rings.
Be sure not to cause any distraction. Each dog and handler has only moments in the ring for the judge to evaluate him and any distractions (food or objects thrown into the ring, body parts hanging over or under the ring barriers, and/or loud disturbances) can throw their performance off. With that being said, don’t bring your cell phone ring side. If you must have it with you, turn it to vibrate or silent. Ringing, beeping, musical tones and any other noises such a device may make, are distracting to the dogs, the exhibitors and the people standing or sitting next to you.
When wanting to speak to an exhibitor/handler, always ask first if it is a good time to talk. You might be catching someone as they are nervously waiting to go into the ring, or intent on grooming for an upcoming ring time. If you want to talk with an exhibitor, always wait until they are all done showing their dog. Prior to showing, they are focusing on their dog and getting ready to show. Make sure they aren’t about to go into the ring. Or, they may be just closely watching dogs they are interested in seeing. If an owner/exhibitor is engrossed in something, they will be happy to let you know when and where is a better time to talk. Sometimes, the best time to talk with handlers is in the grooming area. They’ll love to talk about their favorite breed!
And while you are speaking to exhibitors, no matter how tempting, do not pet their dog without asking for permission first. The dog may have just been groomed in preparation for being judged.
If you miss the Chihuahua breed judging, you can still see the judging of the seven groups, which takes place prior to the Best In Show judging. The information on Best In Show judging can be found in the Show Program.
At each dog show you will find vendors and information booths. This is a great opportunity to get supplies, grooming products, speciality dog food and even jewelry and dog inspired gift items.
Most times, the dog club holding the dog show will also have an auction table where you will find a large variety of canine inspired items as well as things like electronics and other highly sought items. I always suggest supporting the clubs in the auction or 50/50 raffle. This event are usually a major, annual fundraiser and the monies are always greatly appreciated!