Whether you got your Shiba from us or from another breeder we would like to inspire you to show your Shiba. Our breed needs good natured people out there showing their beautiful Shibas off. Showing your dog can be a fun family activity and teach children good sportsmanship by example. There are so many new events to try everyone in the family can pick something fun to train your dog in and then go out there and compete for titles. That's the thing, you don't have to compete against other people and dogs. In many events you are in the ring with your dog alone.
Working with a trainer or a training group and/or having a Shiba mentor assist you is a great way to get started. Having someone there with you to cheer you on always helps with the nerves. I found studying sport psychology really helped get me over being nervous. Understanding human nature lets you realize everyone else is just as self conscious as you are. No one is worrying about what you look or act like because they are too nervous about their own performance and the judge is only looking at your dog anyway and would rarely notice you unless you really blundered....like fell or tripped.
I have certainly done my share of silly things in the ring. Like the time the icepack on my aching back slipped into my pants and I held it to my buttocks around the ring so it didn't slipping down a pant leg. The judge laughed as I rounded the ring, put my hand down the back of my pants and placed the icepack on the ribbon table then quickly stacked my dog for presentation. Ooops. He gave us our last major to finish Kuro's championship! And we beat pro-handlers that day. Even with that blunder. Most judges have seen it all, they were once handlers once too. I was rather proud of myself for not breaking my dogs stride around the ring! Once with my big Rottweiler Victor I dislocated my knee and it popped back in mid stride. We got a 3rd but I was thrilled I made it around without falling. I was sooooo proud of my short little legs that day!
But why on earth go do something that makes you nervous? Why put yourself in the position of being embarrassed by the family pooch? Well, there are lots of good reasons. It's basically a clean and healthy sport. Your dog gets you off the couch to attend classes, go for walks, runs or out to herd, hunt or jump through hoops! There is nothing better than seeing your children graduate. You get the similar feeling of accomplishment when your dog performs well. Notice I did not say wins, I said performs well. Winning isn't everything. Being in sync with a dog you trained yourself when you are the only ones out there, just doing your thing, well it feels GREAT!
It is important to put the sport into perspective if you want to enjoy it. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Yes, politics play a part in the conformation ring on some days but other days the best dog wins and.........your dog won't always be the best dog. Most seasoned owner handlers will say they don't mind being beaten by a better dog but it is annoying when a lesser dogs wins. Even those who have a super dog that does a LOT of winning doesn't win EVERY time and eventually a new dog will come along that is better and beat the first dog. Dogs win, finish and get out of your dog's way to his championship so don't give up.
Kuro took FOREVER to finish. He is a black and tan dog and they tend to be overlooked. If he had been the same dog in a red coat he would have finished much earlier. But he did finally finish. Bridget took her time to finish as well. She has a different look to her face then the other females being shown in my area and she could be considered long backed by some judges who don't think females should be longer than males, which they should but all things being equal as shorter backed looks flashier. My point is I had a lot of fun at the shows I attended. I like to drive, I like the time away from home with just 2 dogs, I like going to dinner with my "doggie" friends who like to talk dog just as much as I do.
In the performance events things are based on your team performance. You get a pass or qualify score or you fail in a part of the test and that disqualifies your total score from earning points toward a title in the event. If you DQ you know you have to go back and practice that part of the test more. Dogs have off days too. Be happy with the parts they did well show another day. Bring a nice lunch and watch another event or cheer on a classmate.
The reason we got our dogs in the first place was to enjoy them, spend time with them, participate in activities with them. If you can keep dog shows in perspective, enjoying the day out, the people and your dog you will have fun and be successful no matter what a judge has to say about it.