Staying in Shape for the Show Ring

Most dog show exhibitors advise that long walks, running, swimming and roadwork are all good ways to condition a show dog for the ring.

On the Dogs in Review Facebook page, Dogs in Review magazine asked this question to experienced exhibitors: How do you exercise your dogs to get them prepared for the ring? Do you skip exercise conditioning altogether? Most dog show exhibitors advise that long walks, running, swimming and roadwork are all good ways to condition a show dog for the ring.

Below are some of the exhibitors’ responses from the Dogs in Review magazine Facebook wall. Tell us how you exercise your show dogs in the comments below!

Elizabeth Moir: Swimming! Best nonimpact exercise there is!

Lisa Jowett: Biking and a little treadmill time if the weather isn’t nice

Cynthia Ellis: Play ball and jogging.

Linda J. Caldwell: Running on the beach and swimming all year ‘round. Even in winter they still like to go in!

Sue MacMillan: Long walks on a flexible leash, encouraging the dog to trot, especially with young dogs. Anyone being shown gets exercised for condition (walking, biking, swimming, treadmill). I hate seeing soft, flabby show dogs.

Priscilla Clemens: Natural play!

Karla Ruth Smith: My dogs are athletes first and “show dogs” second. We do long hikes, free running when possible, road working and sometimes underwater treadmill.

Lyndell Ackerman: Free running, as I have athletic dogs and an athletic breed to represent.

Cheryl Claypool: My dogs are family dogs, so we play together, go for walks, play in the pool (which they get to use more than me), and I take them to handling classes I teach and let others use them to see how it feels to work a trained dog, but other than that, nothing at home. While on a circuit, we play fetch on a flexible leash (the only time I use one), keeping it as natural as possible and go for walks with others so it not boring. Dogs need to move side to side as much as they need to go forward to be a well-balanced dog.

Lisa Higham: Swimming, roadwork, free running … now if only I could get in shape!

Rebecca Patee Montgomery: I bike them on a regular basis, two to three times a week, plus long walks.

Trixie Breen: Walking through shallow water for resistance and lots of long walks — no question!

Pauline Masaschi: Years ago we did it by driving the van slowly on a dirt road and roadworked on the driver’s side. Today we use a treadmill tilted slightly upward two or three times a week.

Some responses have been edited slightly.



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