Saints in Wales
Showing Your Saint
When I got my first Saint I had no intention of ever showing him. However, I decided to go to the local county show and see what happened...the biggest problem was how to go about it all!
I couldn't find anything that told me how I should stand my dog, how we should walk around the ring, what to do, what to say, how to prepare my dog. After a few phone calls, a few chats and some guess work I plucked up the courage and threw myself (and my poor dog) into it. So, for the (very) basics on what you should and shouldn't do when showing your Saint, read on........
Preparation = Hard Work! You could probably spend a good 2-3 hours getting your Saint ready. A bath and shampoo is a must and this can be a problem with those Saints that aren't too keen on the idea of getting wet and smelling like a powder puff! Anyway, I get mine into the bath then use the shower attachment to wet them down thoroughly (avoid eyes and ears), shampoo them then rinse them off. The next stage is either waiting 6 hours for your Saint to dry or getting the hair dryer out - if you're going to use the dryer then use it on a low setting so you don't burn the dog's skin.
Once he's dry, give the coat a thorough brush and comb, take extra time on the tail, feathering(on the back of the legs), under the chin and behind and below the ears. Three hours later - voila! - a pristine dog! Now the difficult part - keeping him clean!!! Those of us with Saints know how quickly they can get dirty and their favourite pastime of lying in the nearest patch of mud is not much appreciated when you have just spent the past 6 hours getting your dog immaculate!
When travelling to the show, put a bib around your Saints neck to catch all that wonderful slobber and stop it staining the newly cleaned chin fur. Once at the show you can give him another good brush and comb before going into the ring.
In The Ring
You will be expected to stand in line with other dogs and owners with your dog stood in front of you with his head facing to the right. All four legs should be set squarely, the tail should be down and the head up. The judge will proceed along the line and take a short look at each dog and then will ask dogs and owners to pace around the ring so he can see all dogs moving at once. With Saints it can be awkward to find the right speed at which to pace, too slow and your dog will look lazy, too fast and the dog will just run, a steady 'trot' is required where the movement appears flowing and smooth. It can also be difficult if it's a small ring and many of them are far too small too move a Saint well, but do your best.
After going around the ring once the judge will call each dog forward in turn and upon your turn you will have to stand your dog as before, the judge will ask the dogs age, which you should of course know, and he will then proceed to go over the dog's back, legs, chest and head, some will feel if the dog is 'complete' underneath, others don't bother, the judge will also need to look into your dogs mouth to check his teeth, some dogs don't like this and it is often easier for the owner to lift up the lip himself and show the teeth to save hassle. Once the judge has completed his 'touchy-feely' you will be asked to run your dog around the ring again. The direction you go in is entirely up to each judge but most will ask you to either run up and down or go in a triangle, either way, the dog must always be on your left side so the judge can see him fully at all times as he performs.
The judge may ask you to stand your dog again after this and once done he will thank you and you must return back to the end of the lineup.
Once the judge has seen all the dogs he will walk up and down the line up again to choose his winners, if you are placed he will call you forward, usually in the order of placement (i.e first if you are first, second if you are second and so on). If you are placed, go forward, stand your dog and smile - people who look peeved because they only got a Third or a Reserve will not be appreciated. The judge or the steward will hand you your certificate and/or rosette and call your name as he hands it to you with the placement.
If you are placed First you will be expected to stand and wait while the judge takes notes of your dog, otherwise you may leave the ring.
Do wash your dog, comb him thoroughly and present him well.
Do smile all the time, it will show if you are not happy.
Do make the day enjoyable for you and your dog - it's just a game!
Don't walk around the ring as if you really can't be bothered with the whole mess.
Don't worry if your dog decided to go to toilet during your presentation - it happens a lot.
Don't tear up your certificate if you don't come first, any placement is an achievement and just think how your dog feels!