You may have taken part in a few fun dog shows, and you may have even taken home some rosettes. If you've caught the fun dog show buzz, how about organising your own show for other owners and their dogs to enjoy?
Running a fun dog show can be extremely rewarding - and everything you need to know is right here.
"When organising a fun dog show there's a lot to consider," said Helen Taylor, whose dog club, Fun4alldogclub, regularly runs fun dog shows.
"First you must have a clear idea of what you want to achieve. You'll need good organisation skills, and I'd recommend that you don't do it alone. Having a network of reliable volunteers will be invaluable. Start with a brainstorming session and go from there.
"When organising your show, don't be overambitious - keep it simple and manageable. After all the effort you will have put in to organising it, you want to be able to enjoy the day."
Running a fun dog show requires a lot of preparation. Think about:
- Volunteers - to run a successful fun dog show you'll need lots of reliable people to elp you. Assign everyone a job and make sure everyone knows their role.
- Insurance - if you're part of a club you may already be covered - check your policy. If not, you will need third party liability insurance, so if something unexpected should happen you're covered.
- The date - when do you want to hold the event? Even though you can never guarantee the weather it's best to pick dates when it should be nice, to try to ensure a good turnout.
- Location - where are you going to hold the show, and will you need permission to do so? Is it suitable for all weathers, and if not, do you have a plan B?
- Charity - is your show being run to raise money for charity?
- Activities and classes - is it just a fun dog show or will you be running other activities, such as agility, alongside it? How many classes are there going to be, what are they, and how long will they last? Try to be as flexible as possible.
- The ring - it is recommended to only have one ring. This makes it easier to keep track of classes and will ensure more entries in each class.
- Rosettes and prizes - everyone likes a rosette! Start asking around for people who make them. Ask local pet shops if they will donate prizes. You can even approach some bigger doggy companies who may be happy to help, especially if it's for a good cause - if you don't ask, you don't get.
- Advertising - make posters, put notices in newsagents' windows or on council notice boards, use local newspapers and radio stations, and advertise on Facebook. Make noise and get the word out there.
- Health and safety - think about the venue and activities that you've chosen. Is there anything that could put a dog or owner at risk?
- Vets - you should have a vet on hand should a dog need medical attention. You could ask a local vet to be a judge.
- Paperwork - you will need to sort out programmes, judging sheets, entry tags, and winners' certificates.
- Charges - will you be charging a fee for people to enter classes? Remember, too much and no one will enter, but too cheap and everyone will enter every class, which could be chaotic.
- What will you need? A table (and pens) where people can register, equipment (agility equipment, toys, treats), rubbish bags and poo bags, water bowls (make sure there are plenty around for dogs to have a drink and ensure they are refilled regularly), and plastic fencing to create a ring.
- On the day of your show, the main thing is to make sure everyone knows their role, keep things moving, and, most importantly, relax and watch all of your hard work pay off.
Top of the classes
Choose your classes carefully. While best puppy, adult, and veteran classes are popular, they can limit the number of entries you get.
If you're aiming to get as many entries as possible in each class, here are some of the most popular categories to consider:
- Waggiest tail.
- The dog the judge would most like to take home.
- Cutest eyes.
- Best mover.
- Best trick.
- Scruffiest dog.