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Hi Trish, there is alot to learn it true, however, we were all absolute beginners at one time so try not to worry about getting everything spot on first time.
First things first, yes you will need to do a very little bit of trimming just to tidy up Bess' neck/throat area. Do you have any thinning scissors? I'd recommend 48 teeth, single sided. Use them flat against the coat and just trim off the hair that sticks out from chin down to the sternum. She might also have some excess hair between her toes. Use straight edge sissors for this. Pull the long ends of hair down so that it sticks out between the pads and trim it off flush with the pad, then pull it up between the toes and trim off anything that's left sticking up then trim carefully around the edges of the foot. Have a good look at the dogs at the show to see how they're presented, you might even catch someone doing some trimming, ask if they mind if you watch.
You'll need a benching chain and a collar to fasten Bess to her bench, remember to take a blanket or some piece of bedding so she's comfortable. She might not like it at first, so you might have to stay with her to begin with, then try leaving her for just a minute or two at a time so she knows you're coming back. You'll need a ring card clip or an elastic band if you want to wear your number on your upper arm. Have a cloth to wipe any slobber and a bristle brush. Do you have a slip lead? These are the most common leads used in the breed.
You'll undoubtedly be nervous, but try to focus on Bess and keeping her calm and last of all, enjoy yourself. Remember the most important thing ''you always take the best dog home'' regardless of whether you get a place or not. We all of us do much more losing that winning.
Have fun, regards Dawn R.
just thought you would like to know , Mr Watt, who is judging the bitches, will be very kind & understanding. If your girl is playing up just quietly say you are both new to it all & I expect he will give you a little extra time.( no long conversation, it isn't allowed. )
As a judge I would rather see an puppy being a bit of a handful rather than looking bored. Of course there are degrees of naughtiness but the judge should be assessing the dog & not your handling skills. Judges & owners of this breed soon learn to have a sense of humour, don't worry about providing the entertainment, we've all been there!!
Don't wrestle with her too much in the ring, if she really won't stand, step back, relax & just let her stand naturally. the main thing is she enjoys it.
Feet should be neatly trimmed. Ears & neck only need doing if they are untidy, some young bitches only need the fluffy bits on top of the ears pulling out & the thicker hair under the ear thinned out.
Good advice on benching after you have been in the class & no crate.
We will be at the show as well so come & say hello.
Most Irish Setter exhibitors are like their dogs ...very friendly.
Good luck Trish and Bess, hope you have lots of fun.
I've decided to take Rigsby (Suteresett Mr Uppity), and as this will be his first proper show since March, I'm feeling excited and nervous.
I'm also on a very steep learning curve but it's worth sticking with it. I have seen improvement over the past couple of months so I'm hoping he's going to start catching up with his siblings!
Good luck and above all enjoy yourself.
P.S. I bought Dee Milligan Bott's grooming D.V.D which I found very useful. It won't tell you everything you need to know but it's a good starting point. It has some very useful tips on the bathing of the dog, which is just as important as the trim. I use Groomers Evening Primrose Oil shampoos and conditioners as I find it suits Rigsby's coat.