14 Behind-the-Scene Secrets from the National Dog Show

14 Behind-the-Scene Secrets from the National Dog Show

Hands-on learning

national dog show purina Courtesy Steven Donahue/See Spot Run Photography

For prospective dog parents, a benched show just might help you narrow down the choice of breeds you want to add as a new family member—or you'll fall in love with a breed that wasn't even on your shortlist. The point is, the NDS is far more than a prestigious dog show. It's a rare opportunity to get the goods on any given breed because the owners are often the handler—and the breeder, too. They are eager to share everything they love about their dog—including their health, dietary, and exercise needs, personality quirks, and anything else you could ever want to know about the breed, including the eye-rolling, yet endearing weird things all dog breeds do.

Things you don't see on TV

national dog show purina Courtesy Steven Donahue/See Spot Run Photography

If you've watched any televised dog show, you know how the show unfolds—each dog is introduced, the dog and handler run around the ring, and the judge gives the pup a once-over. What you don't see is the clock ticking away while the other dogs sit patiently ringside, hoping to get called out by the judge for another run around the ring. It gets pretty toasty with all the hot arena lights, so while the dogs wait, a person from the dog's entourage is ringside with a spray bottle to quench the pup's thirst or to cool its feet. Some dogs stand or sit on cooling towels, and bulldogs and pugs who are more sensitive to heat are cooled down with ice packs. Be sure you know the warning signs of heatstroke in your own dog.

Grooming galore

national dog show purina Courtesy Steven Donahue/See Spot Run Photography

Breeds like the Weimaraner, Boxer, and Doberman Pinscher only require weekly brushing, but breeds like the Afghan Hound, Komondor, and Bichon Frise have higher maintenance coats that necessitate more grooming. Add the show factor, and all breeds step it up a notch, especially the higher maintenance ones. (I'm pretty sure these dogs travel with more hair products than I do.) Brushes, bows, wraps, hairdryers, grooming sheers, hair spray, etc. take up a lot of the precious square feet each dog is assigned, but rules state that all grooming must be done at the bench. Even show dogs get itchy. Here's what makes any dog's skin itchy.

14 Behind-the-Scene Secrets from the National Dog Show, Source:https://www.rd.com/advice/pets/national-dog-show-behind-the-scenes/