Mom and I, Nelson, entered our first Conformation Show in Des Moines on the weekend. We are taking some drop in classes a few times a month and we decided to give it a try for real. Mom has never shown a dog and I have never been shown, so it was all new territory for both of us!
We hear lots of things about conformation. Dog sports are our love and will always be, but could we be successful at a dog show? Certainly, it can’t be that difficult? Well, it was quite difficult. We both had fun and learned a lot! It is also a lot of work carrying around kennels and grooming tables, clothes for Mom, etc. Madison and Olivia came along to support us, which also means more work. My groomer spiffed me up on Thursday, and Saturday morning at six we headed south to Des Moines for my show.
I looked pretty good, but my legs and feet needed some attention before I went to the ring. The entire day on Saturday it poured rain. Mom doesn’t want a wet dog, so it made things even more difficult. She had on her shorts and sweatshirt for the drive and prior to going into the show ring.
Even if I do say so myself, I was looking mighty handsome. Thankfully, Mom found a nice suit to wear that matches my furs. Together we went to the ring and waited for our turn. Yikes, we ended up being the first of the three dogs in my class. Mom was hoping for someone to watch but no, we had to start it all ourselves.
The judge had us go around the ring and over to the ramp first. It didn’t go real well because Mom was unsure of how fast to go and I was not paying a lot of attention but we kept going. Neither of us are quitters.
I went up the ramp but then I decided not to cooperate. Mom was sending me weird, nervous, unsure vibes so I decided to twist and turn and not let the judge mess around with me. She wasn’t a warm and fuzzy judge, so it didn’t go very well at all.
After the disaster ended, we got some good tips from our breeder for us to work on. Then we went out in the pouring rain to our car and off to the hotel. Mom and I were mentally exhausted. I crashed out on the bed right away.
Sunday turned out to be better for us in the ring. We practiced some things Saturday night in our room, and I got a new show lead. I did really well on the ramp this time and the judge said I was very handsome! This was a really nice judge who helped us out more than anything. Of course, the professional handler stole the show again, but Mom and I feel good about our performance. A couple people told Mom we looked much better too.
Conformation is not easy and the professional handlers make it even more difficult. We came away with a program, armband numbers and a few ribbons but no points. We are trying again this weekend and will then evaluate and decide our course of action. I’m thankful Mom is patient and willing to work with me on showing as well as all my sports. We are a great team, win or lose!
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