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Bess was quite well behaved waiting outside the ring, but when we got in there it all fell to pieces. Her first stand was okay, but it started to go wrong running round the ring. Today she wouldn't let the judge touch her, even though he was being very nice trying to calm her.

The judge did say it was a real pity she was misbehaving and as waved his heads apologetically as he showed me to 5th (last) place. I do feel by his reaction, and by the way he was giving her extra chances that she might have got placed if she'd behaved better. She's filled out a little on her new diet and I did get comments like 'she's a very nice bitch', which in some ways makes it worse. I do think she may be capable of getting a place other than last, but not the way we're going at the moment. She was perfect at ringcraft last week - so I'm pretty sure it's my nerves upsetting her. I tried to take deep breaths and drank half a bottle of rescue remedy but to no avail.

I did wonder whether it might be a good idea if I could get an experienced handler to take her in the ring? I really want to show her myself, but I wondered whether it might help to show her its not that scary after all. Any thoughts?

It wasn't a written off day though - we went on into Brighton where my sons at Uni and had to walk for half an hour to the 'dog friendly' pub where we'd planned to have lunch. Now Bess is a country dog, and hasn't been to a big town before, but she coped really well with all the people and pushchairs. We even walked back through the lanes and she wasn't fazed with the crowds - although she didn't like the busker playing the saxophone at all! The guitarist was fine though. So good experience for her.

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Hi Trish, am sorry to hear that all did not go to plan today but don't despair.....I am not an expert by any means but it seems to me that quite a few people have problems when they first start showing...and get very nervous!!! You will never do anything as stupid as I did for my first show which was to stand my dog with myself between him and the judge!!!! The more you do the easier it will get and the more Bess will get to understand what she is doing...I have seen puppies "dance " around the ring!! Just practise and look on each show as a learning experience and it will come. It sounds as if she coped very well with all that Brighton had to offer anyway!! Where is your next show?
Hi, can sympathise with you, been there, got the tee shirt as they say ! Don't worry it's hard to start with- we'd not shown for over 10 years so this time around my partner Jan agreed to handle our Saffy who at times was a nightmare in the ring. Now at almost 3 she's settling down and getting places but she's a late developer. We now have Orla 6 months & 1st show on 25 Nov - I am going to try handling her so will be nervous after a 10+ year gap! Watch this space- I am half expecting her to be silly as she'll stand fine etc. at home but at ring craft just wants to play & socialise but I know if she does act giddy I won't be the 1st person to have to cope with a puppy. Judges tend to be very sympathetic and encouraging. Good luck with your next show & try not to be nervous cause that can be picked up by your dog- just have fun and don't take it or yourself too seriously!

Rigsby was the same and still has issues.  The first show was a complete DIS-ARS-TER darling!  Backed away from the judge and then did his Zebedee act ie, Boing Boing Boing all around the ring.  We were second out of a class of two! 

He still doesn't like to have someone go over him but he is getting better and we cracked the run up a while ago.  He used to jump and play up but now I focus on where I want to go and not on him.  Keep calm and don't look at the dog, if she does something wrong, turn and start again.  

By the way, congratulations to everyone who went to Coventry.  I wish I had been there!


Thanks everyone for all the encouragement, sympathy and suggestions!  Our next show is on the 1st December - the Mid Herts Gundog Show.  We've got two weeks to try and practice a lot more. 

Bout what they suggested at ringcraft last week! :0)

Don't get downhearted we've all been there.  On my first show I was shaking so much and in such a state that when the judge asked me to take Luca in a triangle I couldn't remember what shape that was, so just ran in a circle at 90 miles an hour. On another occasion I was trying to see how she was moving and ran into the pole that holds up the ring tape and went flying, a spectator grabbed luca for me!!!.  Luca's breeder was kind enough to take her into to ring for me on several occassions and she definately behaved better for him than me.  I learnt alot by observing at ringside especially at champ shows.  Just keep enjoying yourself and try and make sure Bess enjoys it as well.  Good Luck.


If you are serious and want to enjoy showing it is important that you do not hand her over to a professional handler.  It's pointless, when you get placed the feeling of satisfaction will be all yours.   If she wins because of her prof handler the win is shallow and may not be the best outcome for the breed.   Let her win on her own merits, if she is good enough she will win

or be placed but you will have to be patient and consistent.  Another point to note is that when she is being shy and not allowing any touching, ignore it.  DO NOT SPEAK TO HER AND TRY AND COMFORT HER BECAUSE ALL YOU ARE DOING IS CONDONING HER BEHAVIOUR AND TELLING HER SHE IS RIGHT TO BE SCARED.   I learned a lesson from Mary Roslin Williams who had champion labs.   I had a very nervous bitch who refused to be shown.  Mary took the lead from me and walked (dragged actually - it was distressing to watch) my bitch past benches and a group of people.  Then she stood her up and asked somebody to go over her, she didn't speak, she wasn't rough she just told the bitch to stand.  Stand she did, it was remarkable, never had she done that for me with strangers.  Mary told me to come over and stand her up, I did, she went over her and she was fine, she even ran up and down without jinxing etc.

She told me to take her through cattlemarkets, high streets and anywhere where there was a collection of people and noise.   She told me not to stop, if she balked just tug her on the lead but keep moving forward and if I spoke is was to say walk on firmly.   It sounds bizarre and there were blips occassionally but believe me Mary knew what she was talking about and Biscuit eventually loved being shown and meeting people.   

It was thro' MRW that I learned that dogs want a leader and if you own a dog then you are it's leader and ownership of a happy well balanced dog was continual endorsement of that fact.  It's only the same when you were having difficulty with recall use the advice given and you will be successful.

Showing isn't about winning at any cost, it is about looking, listening, learning and most important enjoying the experience and remember YOU ALWAYS TAKE BEST OF BREED HOME WITH YOU.

Thanks for this.  Yes I do talk to her and calm her when she's being gone over!  So that's something for me to think about.  Bess isn't worried about people - after the show last week we went to Brighton and ended up walking her through the lanes on a busy Saturday afternoon.  First time this country dog had ever been to a town and she handled it well (and turned some heads!). 

The only reason I thought of someone else handling her wasn't to get her placed, but for her to experience the ring without a nervous person on the end of her lead! 

I don't think she's so much a nervous bitch - I think it's me who's got the nerves, and that's what she picks up on.  When the judge is going over her all she knows is that I'm nervous - so she tries to understand what I'm nervous off, and to her the only answer must be the judge!  Similar with horses - a nervous rider can made a sensitive horse nervous! 

So the answer is for me to control my nerves.  And I'm trying to work on that!  May have to resort to the still drink suggestion!

Taking the BOB home?  I take the Best in Show home!  :0)

Too right BIS everytime! of course.   Showing is a silly empty headed EXPENSIVE past time and because of this we all get bitten by the bug but for the patient to survive the experience we have to learn to really enjoy it.

And we do, it's fascinating because we see little puppies progress into adult hood.  The different stages of development can be spotted in different bloodlines over time and whether the dogs are big winners is unimportant it is just the pleasure of seeing them grow up and the pleasure their owners have showing and owning them and building a partnership.

Bess will come to understand what is expected of her and it is good that she isn't people shy but exposing her to all sorts of experiences, sounds, etc desensitises her and everything becomes the "so what" factor.


Happy to provide entertainment on the forum as we as at the ringside! :0)

Another show coming up this weekend!

Cannot WAIT to hear all about it!! Good Luck!

Trish, I can only imagine your frustration but I love reading about Bess, she always makes me chuckle! Thanks for your posts :)




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