It goes without saying that the tools you regularly use should accompany you to the show. However, a few other things are needed to put down your dog in top form. They include:
Grooming table, noose, etc.
Spray bottle with self-rinse shampoo or plain water.
Soft textured powdered chalk (not required for blacks)
Give yourself about an hour to prepare you dog for the ring. You should begin by thoroughly wetting the legs and beard hair with water or self rinse. Add a moderate amount of sculpting mousse to these areas and blow dry carefully with the slicker brush. Start at the top of each leg, fluffing the hair straight outwards and be sure each section is completely dry before moving down to the next. Correct drying techniques are the key to getting the furnishings looking just right. My personal preference is for a hair dryer with hot air, not cool. Hot air dries hair straighter, but you must take care to avoid making the dog uncomfortable.
When the legs are done, the beard and brows should be dried as well, with the air blowing in the direction of hair growth. A bit of sculpting gel may help control flyaway brows.
(The following step should be skipped for blacks, for obvious reasons)
When drying is complete, lift the dog and place the newspaper under him. Rub a small dab of Kolestral on your hands and lightly run them upwards over the leg furnishings to apply it. (Kolestral helps the chalk to take hold properly.) You may do the same with the white areas of the beard, cheeks, stern and chest.
When finished, use the chalk brush to apply powdered chalk generously. It serves two purposes. First, by drying the hair, the legs will maintain their shape much longer. Also, obviously, it enhances the white and brightens the color.
After chalking, throw the dog into an ex-pen while you clean up, to relax for a few moments while the excess chalk falls out. (You can recycle the chalk that has fallen on the paper! You never know when you may run out with no vendor in sight, so don't waste it.) Before going on to finish the dog, use the hairdryer briefly to blow away the rest.
Re-slicker the legs gently (the chalk will increase the potential of coat damage) and then, using the comb, arrange the furnishings into their desired shape. This is the time for final trimming. No matter how often a dog has been trimmed, a few final touch-ups are always necessary.
When finished with the scissors, check him from all angles, then use hairspray lightly for hold. You may spray the eyebrows by angling the nozzle behind the ears and spraying forwards over the face - not into it.
Do not take your dog to ringside too soon, unless you have a quiet area or holding table there for him to wait on. If the dog is one who needs a run before going in the ring, this should have been done prior to grooming. Let him relax at ringside, but don't allow him to sit, jump around or "mess" up your work...
You should always take a comb with you for in-the-ring touchups, but no sprays! These are forbidden inside the ring...(well actually, outside too, but nobody much cares...)
When the show day is over - every show day - rinse the substances out of his coat. Leaving the chalk and spray in can lead to itchiness, matting and broken hair. A thorough rinsing and towel dry is all you need. Don't subject him to two dryings with the dryer unless the weather demands it. At the end of the weekend, the furnishings should be bathed with shampoo and conditioned.
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