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why are dog shows a competition?

Discussion in 'Getting Started in Conformation' started by JessicaR, Apr 22, 2014.

  1. JLSOhio51

    JLSOhio51 Forums Enthusiast

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    Ann:

    You have no idea how tickled I was to read your response here. I have been like a kid waiting on Christmas morning while I waited on someone in the dog show world to weigh in on the subject.

    Let me say from the outset that your response was totally different from what I expected to see. What I truly expected was for a dog show person to tow the line and defend the practices that are commonly "excepted" throughout the industry of dog shows. Instead, your response was as honest and straight forward as anyone could ask for.

    When I initially came to SN, conformation was on my radar of the types of things that I might eventually participate in. It didn't take long for me to rule out conformation as a viable option just by reading the input of members here. My problem is that I am a "Rules vs. Practice" type of guy. I don't care what the rules are, I expect what folks are allowed to do, and what the officials allow to occur, match up. Obviously, if "everybody does it" (or at least a lot of people do it), then the officials have to know it. If they know it, they should change the rules to allow it or disqualify those that defy the rules.

    Ann, thank you for that answer. I find honest evaluations of what is/isn't involved not only helpful, but also commendable. For the record, I don't really take issue with chalking or not chalking (or any of the other things that owners do). My only issue is a clear set of rules should be followed by all.
     
  2. EJHUNTL

    EJHUNTL Forums Enthusiast

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    I agree both Ann & Tagg had very informative comments. I can see how conformation could be a fun event, so long as people keep in mind that it's all about the dog.
     
  3. JLSOhio51

    JLSOhio51 Forums Enthusiast

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    For what it's worth, I also agree with Tagg's post and I've already indicated where I fall re Ann's post.

    Just so that we are all on the same page on this issue (or at least that everyone understands my issues/objections to conformation), let me offer this:

    My objections are not to owners cosmetically doctoring their entrants into competition. My objections are not to rules (good or bad) that I think might be silly or unnecessary (it's the old "beauty is in the eye of the beholder syndrome). My objections (more appropriately, disagreements and not objections) are:

    1). Competitors often fall back on the old "breed standard" mantra when their practices seem to be (to me) the antithesis of being representative of "breed standards";

    2). There are rules, but clearly judges are allowed to be capricious and subjective in their application (again, a personal interpretation).

    The whole idea of conformation competitions seem pretty neat to me so I understand its draw for many. There just seems to be too much STUFF attached that doesn't belong in a true competition as offered by the rule makers. There are lots of competitions that have the same issues, but we just happen to be talking about conformation.
     
  4. Mom2Melli

    Mom2Melli Forums Enthusiast

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    Ah Jeff, isn't it just perfectly normal to take your Persian/Himalyan cat, use frost n tips (hair bleach) on the white portion, bag the little sucker and hang him from the curtain rod while the stuff sits for a few minutes before rinsing? They come out so sparkly white, whiter than anyone elses, white enough to win nationally, white enough to make it clear to everyone and anyone that his little genetics must be worth mega-$! Yes, it's in the rules NOT to dye, bleach, etc. Rules, what rules?

    The judges should make an example you say? But ALL the judges who examine the ultra-white-bright coated furball just happen to think that is perfectly natural and don't DQ the little fella who just happens to be of a very distinctive, well-respected, and politically-active breeder? Rules, what rules? Remember, judges can commit political suicide too -- never asked to judge again -- for making waves with the club big-wig breeders.

    Don't ruin ALL the fun now. Enhancement is "not allowed" wink, wink.

    BTW -- true story about the curtain rod hanging . . .
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2014
  5. Ann

    Ann Moderator

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    Oh my....this gives new meaning to the old saying, "Truer words were never spoken" !!!

    Make no mistake: Some judges are fairer than fair and do their best to be objective, even though they might have a kennel full of blues or sables themselves.

    Then there are others who look at the end of the leash before they look at the dog. A wise exhibitor learns very early to wean these judges from their repertoire and put them on what we call our "Do Not Show" list. Those are the judges you only show to once to learn the lesson. As people figure it out, that judge may get only a token entry or two in the shows they judge, and their assignments become fewer.

    The good judges (and there are many) are the ones that draw majors, if exhibitors are paying attention. Sometimes, you'll miss a show with a good judge and the entries may be low as well, but generally good judging is rewarded with good entries.

    Fortunately, we do get to vote with our feet...and our entries!
     
  6. JLSOhio51

    JLSOhio51 Forums Enthusiast

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    Mom2Melli:
    You have me at a bit of a disadvantage here. See, I don't like cats. I mean I really don't like cats. :no: So, if you ever see me in the vicinity of a cat - with a bag in my hand - call the animal authorities!!! Grooming ain't on my agenda at that moment. In order to not get picked up by the animal police, I tend to avoid the little beauties.

    On a serious note, I hear your point about the judges committing political suicide. As such, I don't judge them (pun intended) for their actions (whatever they may be), but this type of concern is why conformation isn't on the horizon for me. When everybody knows, that everybody does it, but nobody says anything about it - that ain't the place for me. I have to say though, I have loved every conformation competition that I have ever seen.

    Great point Ann. To those who compete and enjoy it, my best wishes to them. Those who have an issue with it should vote with their feet and entries. No-one forces anyone to be involved if they don't wish to.
     
  7. Lightplum

    Lightplum Forums Sage

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    Yes its to evaluate breeding stock...and quite frankly before the invention of internet it was best to view the "stock" at a show. Now times have changed...and yes dogs are fuffed to the hilt, but like ann said either you join them or you get left behind. I can show Noah with very little "extra" coat enhancers...and actually I love this! Shelties are just that breed that can be "sculpted" due to the fur..you take a short coated breed and the structure better be there, there is no room to hide the faults.
     
  8. JLSOhio51

    JLSOhio51 Forums Enthusiast

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    I have to admit, that I do like looking at the Shelties that are "puffed" and "poofed". Perhaps they are just too darned cute for their own good. I just can't shake the whole rules vs. real aspect of the entire issue. If the rules said "puff away" or "poof away", I wouldn't have even entered this discussion.
     
  9. BarbV

    BarbV Forums Celebrity

    Wow Ann! No truer words have ever been spoken!

    As I was reading this thread, I was feeling very disturbed. I don't show, but I believe in the Sheltie standard and the desire to show it. So I support conformation for that

    But like many, I've been disturbed by the politics behind the scenes and all the exposes about the dog world. Hard to know what to believe v.

    Your post was a breath of fresh air...that there is, in fact, recourse. That judges can be blackballed and breeders can and do deal with poor judging.

    Personally, I don't have issue with the plumping and polishing. As said, a proper judge will see beyond that by feeling the structure beneath.

    The only outstanding question for me is Best in Show. No one judge can be so in tune will breeds, that he/she can truly judge the breeds against each other. So for me this is an empty title.

    If I was a breeder the only title that would truly count for me is how my pup stacks up against his breed and the quality of the judge.

    My tuppence worth....from an outsider looking into the show world.
     
  10. Mom2Melli

    Mom2Melli Forums Enthusiast

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    Oh dear -- there Jeff and I go agreeing again!

    Seriously -- I do compare the show grooming of the Persians to the shelites. There is a ton similar in the prep work, including how ears and feet are shaped, the texture of the double coat, the wash/dry/fluff procedure, etc. I hated it. It stressed me out so much the shows were no fun at certain levels where the competition was harder than others. The first time I went to a dog show was years after I left the cat show ring. I was working for an Aussie breed club at a specialty show and all-breed obedience competition. I felt so at home. I realized then and there that conformation would never be my gig -- even though obedience or rally or other working titles could be, tests of skill against yourself and perfection and time, mostly.

    This leads back to my thread for Sheltie.Mama when getting the little Shay-Shay puppy and should the little bugger be shown. Why do that to yourself? Why not go for performance titles, things you can mostly control with training and skill, things that are a lot LESS subjective (though there are some subjectivities for sure). I personally would rather see the impressive list of titles like many of the shelties around here have than just purely conformation. Conformation is a part but not the be-all and end-all to the mark of a breeding-worthy dog which goes back to the intent of the thread and my first post on it.

    Is it changing with the breeders and the purchasers? Are we yet looking for the all-round dog to be sire/dam to the ultimate little ones? That will be the puppy I hunt for when my time comes.
     

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