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Young Dog Showing Handling Competition

Getting Started!

To join in the Young Dog Showing competition you need a dog, registered with Dogs NZ on the breed register, and more than six months old. It doesn't need to be your own dog, but it helps if you are able to practice with it. The dog need to be clean and brushed and have a good temperament. Part of being a good handler is having rapport with the dog so that he or she knows what you want him to do, and you know how to get the best from him.

You do not need to be a junior member of Dogs New Zealand to compete in a heat. However, in order to participate in the National Final, you will need to be a financial junior member of Dogs New Zealand. There is an entry fee, currently $5.00, and you will be entered in a class according to your age; 5-7 years, 8-11 years, 12-15 years or 16- 20 years.

You do need a dog that you can manage easily, so best not to start with a large or untrained dog. When you come to a dog show where there is a YDS heat, if you need help, talk to the person who is taking entries. They may be able to find a suitable dog for you, ideally, one that has experience in handling classes.

The judge will stand in the middle of the ring and the steward will line up all the entrants for your class. You will need a pin, clip, or armband to hold your number card. Keep your dog on your left side and follow the others around the ring. Make sure you leave plenty of room between you and the dog in front. Your job is to move at the right speed for your dog so that it trots freely and doesn’t pull on the lead.

When the judge stops everybody, it is time to “set up the dog”. This means having the dog stand “four-square,” four feet on the ground. (You will learn more, as you go on, about the best stance for each dog.)

The judge will now move down the line and look at each dog. She may ask you to show “the bite’ which means you gently hold the dogs head and lift the lips so she can see the front of the teeth.

She will then ask you to move your dog. She may ask for, “out and back”- this means go towards the other side of the ring, in a straight line and come back directly to her. Then stop and pose the dog, often called a free stack. Or she will ask for - “a triangle”. This means to move your dog to the corner, turn left move to the next corner turn left and again and move in a straight line, back to the judge. Remember always keep the dog on your left side.

Once the judge has seen all the dogs, she will place the winners from 1st to5th. Don’t be too disheartened if you don’t get a place, some of the others have been doing this for a long time. You will learn more each time you practise with your dog and enter another heat. It is a good idea to watch the other age classes to see how they present their dogs.

The winnerof each heat automatically qualifies for the national final. However, when youare placed, and those placed ahead of you have previously qualified, then youalso become a finalist. This system encourages all our members to keep enteringand practicing their skills while providing an opportunity for everyone to joinus on finals night.

Click here to read about the Bluebridge Exclusive Dogs NZ member discount.