364 – Healthy, Happy Travels to Westminster Kennel Club

Healthy, Happy Travels to Westminster Kennel Club

Dr. Marty Greer provides thorough and thoughtful advice for keeping your dog healthy and happy on the way and at the big show.

Preparing the Dog

  1. Enter the dog.
  2. Assure the entry has been accepted.
  3. Arrange travel.
  4. Have an appropriate travel bag or crate, depending on if the dog will travel in the cabin under your seat or in cargo, with or without you on the airplane.
  5. Do NOT try to pass the dog off as an “ESA” – Emotional Support Animal if this dog is not certified as such. There is current proposed legislation that will restrict the use of this term as it has been overused and misused by many travelers.
  6. A Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI) is required for all animals crossing state lines. This applies whether you are driving or flying the dog to the destination. Most of the time, you will not be asked for this document. However, if you are without it, your travel plans may be interrupted. This must be issued by a veterinarian who is “Accredited” by USDA. Not all Veterinarians are accredited so be sure you have a veterinarian who can sign this paperwork.
  7. A current rabies certificate is also required for all dogs traveling.
  8. A “Letter of Acclimation” if the dog is flying in cargo. This will reflect the temperatures the dog has been acclimated to prior to travel. This is issued by your veterinarian.
  9. Microchip and identification collar with your current cell phone number.
  10. Anti-anxiety medication if indicated. Acepromazine and Benadryl/diphenhydramine are NOT anti-anxiety medications. Alprazolam, trazodone, or gabapentin may be suitable if indicated and prescribed by your veterinarian.

Preparing the Equipment

  1. Make a list of the least amount of equipment and supplies you can manage with. Consider shipping these ahead to the hotel.
  2. Arrange to rent equipment
  3. Travel bag, leash and collar. A quiet toy to keep your dog busy and avoid annoying fellow travelers.
  4. Travel crate, absorbent material, leash, collar, ID, small bag of food enough for one meal, bowls (the kind that flatten are easiest) and a toy to keep your dog busy.

Preparing you!

  1. Buy tickets for admission to Westminster.
  2. Make flight arrangements. Be sure you include the dog(s) on the reservation.
  3. Make hotel reservations. Be sure you include the dog(s) on the reservation.

361 – Specialty vs All Breed Part 2: Identifying Solutions

Specialty vs All Breed Part 2: Identifying Solutions

Our experts are back to help us identify solutions to the dilemma of specialty versus all breed shows. Part one is available for listening here.

All breed shows offer a moderating influence on the extremes that can reign at specialty shows.  They also enable judges and owners to see the quality of dogs presented at specialties.

“The ultimate learning tool for judges is to get your hands on good dogs.”

And, in a special opportunity, I had a listener contribute thoughts on this topic that I think are absolutely on point and applicable to this conversation. Welcome Tracy Dineley, Clandara Perm Reg, with her input.

“I just wanted to write to you after listening to your latest podcast as this topic has been on my mind for the last few years and I myself have spoken about it many times and have also written about it.

First let me give you my 411. I have been involved in purebred dogs since 1981 as a professional handler and breeder exhibitor. I have been breeding and showing Staffordshire Bull Terriers since 1984. I have bred more all-breed BIS dogs than any other breeder in Canada and more National Specialty winners in Canada than any other breeder. I have over 80 champions in Canada and the US.

It is my opinion that showing strictly or mostly at one or the other, specialties versus all breed shows is actually detrimental to any breed. It divides a breed, usually not for the better, in two directions. In some cases, it has divided breeds to the point that they almost end up looking like two different breeds.

All breed judges versus breed specialists have different priorities when judging. An all-round judge will judge the whole dog. They won’t focus on one thing. They take soundness and movement into the equation. They may even refresh themselves with the breed standard.

The breed specialist judge tends to focus on types or heads. They forgive movement flaws and sometimes forgive to the point that they will put up maybe a pretty or typey dog that is just plain unsound.  They might even focus on things that are an issue in their own breeding program.  It is not always the most balanced opinion.

In my breed, I have found that many breed specialists will interpret the breed standard to suit themselves. For instance, the breed standard calls for a level topline, but many breeders say that level doesn’t really mean level. I also find that many specialty winners cannot win at the all-breed shows at a high level. I think it’s usually because they are not sound enough. Just the same as some top-winning BIS winners who cannot win a Specialty. They are not typey enough.

In my opinion, we should all be striving to win under both judges. To have a dog that is correct and typey enough to win a specialty and sound structurally correct enough to win under all-rounders at all breed shows.

I think your speakers on the podcast were perfect for this topic. I think out of the three breeds, Staffy Bulls, Collies, and Bull Terriers, the Bull Terriers are the only breed that has it right.  I believe you could take pretty much any specialty-winning Bull Terrier and do some serious winning at the all-breed shows even to BIS level.

I think the possibilities of creating extremes happen on both sides and therefore are detrimental to any breed. We need balance. We should always strive for the best to be somewhere in the middle of extremes but have the best of both worlds.

Thank you for your podcasts, I look forward to them every week!”

189 – Ins and Outs of RV Parking at Dog Events


RV Parking Crews Not “Parking Nazis”

Bert and Bruce Rettick, dog show RV parking mavens in Northern California, share their knowledge and advice about safe parking of rigs at events.

“We take the responsibility off of club members,” Bert said. “If you take two or three club members and put them out in an RV parking lot, it’s taking away from doing other things. Club membership is diminishing. There’s just not the bodies to do the work.”

The couple have been dog show exhibitors for more than 30 years. Bruce started helping out parking crews while Bert was showing their Boxers and Boston Terriers. Eventually, clubs began asking him to take on the responsibilities of managing parking.

In their years of working this particular niche of the dog show world, the Retticks have developed important checklist items.

Safety First

“This is a village out here,” Bert said. “We look out for one another. Safety. RVs all placed in the same direction if you have to evacuate. Aisles wide enough for a fire truck or ambulance to get in. Generators are in the same direction. Exhaust pipes are required on generators. Driving cars in and out of the RV parking lot during show hours is a safety issue. Parking two rigs awning to awning can leave water heaters butted against each other on the other sides, which can cause explosions from propane. We need to be proactive not reactive.”

Parking Location Doesn’t Determine Results

Bert noted that while she hears complaints about favoritism in parking, business is business.

“You are just as important with your one dog as people are with 20 dogs,” Bert said. “But from a business decision, 20 dogs three spaces closer makes their job easier also. My bottom line, you can win a BIS no matter where you’re parked. The judge doesn’t ask if you’re in 1A or the day of show lot before pointing.”

Kennel clubs, according to AKC rules, do not have to offer RV parking, Bert said. It’s up to each club. Handicapped parking doesn’t necessarily mean close to ring, she added. “We try to make sure they have a flat surface to get to the ring. Handicapped parking means we will accommodate exhibitors to get to the ring as safely as possible.”

“We do the best we can with what we have to work with. I hope people take time to think about the bigger picture,” Bruce said. “Without the exhibitors, the dog show doesn’t happen. You gotta be kind to your people.”

Just Be Nice!

On the other hand, a little niceness to the parking people goes a long way.

“We can control a lot of things, but Mother Nature is not one of them. A little more patience, a little more understanding. There are reasons, sometimes, that exhibitors may not be aware of that can hold up parking,” Bruce said.

Tip of the Week

Remember to listen to the end for Allison Foley’s Tip of the Week from Leading Edge Dog Show Academy! Allison is talking about SPACE and how to use it wisely in the show ring.