Greyt Inspirations Life

A little about our life, our business and our pets.

BooBoo goes to the shows


Blue at home

Blue at home

I played show dog with one of my dogs this weekend but things did not go well.  I entered Blue in a couple of shows not too far from home so we could drive back and forth each day.  I spent Thursday and Friday last week getting him ready.  That’s when I had my first inkling that things were going to be difficult.



Blue is 19 months old now.  He’s just at the age when he thinks he doesn’t have to do what I say all the time.  It’s like teenage rebellion.  Granted, I had him on the grooming table for a few hours, off an on with lots of breaks, but he was being kind of a brat.  He didn’t want his ears cleaned.  He didn’t want his teeth brushed.  He didn’t want his nails done.  All of those little jobs were a struggle, at least at first.  Then it was time for his bath and he tried to run away and hide.  He’s never done that before.  I had to track him down and practically drag him into the bathroom.  He’s never been so uncooperative before!


Don’t misunderstand — he was still racing to get up on the grooming table because he gets treats every time he gets up there and treats while he’s on the table and treats when I let him get down.  But he was being awfully fussy and bad about some of the individual things we had to do.  We clean ears and brush teeth and do nails all the time so this was very unusual behavior.  And he’s never objected to getting a bath before.  He likes to sleep in the bathtub on hot days.


We finally finished getting him ready and went to the show early Saturday morning.  Blue loves going to shows.  And so does Pearl.  She was very upset that she wasn’t going this time.  In fact, when I took Blue outside to put him in the car, little Pearl came climbing OVER my back gate — a four-foot high chain link fence — and raced to the car to go with us.  I saw her do it.  I was horrified!  This meant that I couldn’t trust her to stay inside the fence while I was gone.  I scooped her up and brought her right back in the house.  I had to put her in the huge crate while we were gone for a few hours.  Now don’t feel too sorry for her.  She’s tiny and the crate is big enough for a Great Dane.  We were only gone for about four hours.  I don’t usually crate my dogs when I leave but I couldn’t risk that she would climb out of the fence again when I wasn’t here.  I’m glad I keep the crate set up for emergencies like these.


So, Blue and I finally set off for the show.  We got there with plenty of time and got ready.  He looked very good, I thought.  I looked presentable, I thought.  Everything had been done to the best of my ability.  All of the other people showed up with their dogs — very nice dogs.  But I still thought the Blue had a good chance.


I had never shown to the judge before.  I didn’t know anything good or bad about him.  That was fine.  We went into the ring to show and, unfortunately, Blue decided to pace instead of trot.  We lost, lost, lost.


If you don’t know what pacing is, it’s like in harness racing.  Some horses are pacers and some are trotters.  When they trot the animal moves diagonal pairs of legs.  When they pace, they move both legs on the same side of their body.  Most dogs naturally trot but some do pace.  Wolves will pace as well as trot.  Pacing is often an energy-conserving movement since an animal can keep it up for a long time and it uses less energy that trotting.  But, when it comes to showing a dog, you have to trot for the judge to evaluate the dog’s gait and movement.  If your dog paces, you’re toast.  Blue and I were toast.


Blue has paced in the ring before.  He paces and trots here at home.  He doesn’t seem to care which he does.  If he’s excited and wants to get somewhere fast, he trots.  If he’s just fooling around in the backyard, he may pace.  I never know which one he will do when I show him.  The last time I showed him he paced, too, and we lost, even though the judge liked him a lot.  It’s so frustrating.  I asked for advice from people that time and I tried to follow it, but apparently I didn’t do a good enough job.


I practiced with him some Sunday morning and I thought that I had him trotting but we lost again Sunday anyway.  I’m not sure if he was pacing or trotting in the ring that time.  I can’t always tell when we’re in the ring and I can’t look down to see.  I’m going to work with him some more this week.  We have a couple of shows next weekend.  I hate to keep throwing away entry money.


So, for people who think that show dogs are just these perfectly trained little robots –they’re not!  And if you think it’s always easy to get a dog to trot around the ring — it’s not!  Some things are harder than they look.


If you’re wondering why any of it matters — who cares if a dog trots or paces, for instance — dog breeds have traditions and heritages like people and cultures do.  They’re worth preserving.  So, if the standard for a breed calls for a dog to move a certain way, then that’s how the dog is supposed to move.  But beyond simply preserving what’s gone before, most breeds had or still have a function and role in helping humans — hunting, guarding, herding, etc.  It’s the old form follows function dictum.  If a dog’s function is to hunt birds, then it will follow that he will have the form (and movement) that will allow him to do that work.  That’s why it matters how a dog moves.


Blue’s a very big dog.  Bigger than average for this breed.  That may have something to do with why he paces.  It may be easier for him to haul his body around at that gait.  We’ll work on it and see if we can get him to trot consistently when the judge is looking at him.


June 8, 2009 Posted by | dogs, Pets | , , , , | Leave a comment

A dog show weekend

I had a great time this weekend with my dogs. We left Thursday on a short trip to Charlotte, NC. There were some dog shows there over the weekend and I got my lazy self in gear last week to groom Pearl and Blue properly so they would look nice for the shows. Now, I used to go to shows every weekend so I had my car packed with foldable crates, maps, an extra coffemaker, acidophilus tablets, etc., etc. But that was a long time ago. I don’t travel much anymore. That meant that I was running around like a chicken with no head last week making lists and trying to remember every little thing I needed to take with me. By the time I got to the show I was literally just throwing items in the trunk of the car and praying I could find them later. All pretense at organization was long gone.



I have always been sort of an unconventional dog show exhibitor. I don’t have a motorhome or a van. I go to shows in my car. My very old car at this point. Embarrassingly old. But, hey, it’s a luxury car, it had low miles when I bought it, and it has a great 3.5 liter engine. It still runs like a top even if it is looking a little old. So, I go to dog shows in it. This should help dispel the notion that all dog show people are rich, by the way. We’re not. We’re just people with dogs who like to show them.

I still had a lot of grooming to do once I got to the shows. Blue has more coat than any two dogs should have. I think he has Pearl’s coat, too, because she is coat-deficient. She had gorgeous long hair last year at this time but when the hot summer came she shed all of her beautiful long hair and it’s been very slow about growing back. I bathed them just before we left so they were clean but they still needed some more work.

I think Blue had stayed at a motel before when he was out in California with my friend for some shows but he acted like a total rube when we got in the room. This was Pearl’s first time in a motel. They were really kind of funny. They ran around the room checking things out but they were kind of cautious, too. They had to smell everything from the carpet to the TV. They were so weird about the bed. Here at home my bed is very high and I have to help them get up. The bed in the motel room was much lower. They could easily have jumped up by themselves but, because they were used to me helping them, they would come and stand by the bed and wait for me to help them get up. There was an ottoman in the room so I pulled it next to the bed for them. I thought they would hop up on it and use it as a step. I had to teach them how to use it! They still wanted me to help them get up. They were so funny and cute.

I thought that the elevator might scare them but they had no problem with it. They walked right in and rode up and down in it. It was kind of creaky and noisy. Otherwise I don’t think they would have realized we were moving. The only time we had a scare was when the door opened and a couple of women were standing in the doorway with a cart full of Chihuahuas barking at us. They also had a tiny Chihuahua puppy on a leash. Luckily I had a firm grip on my dogs’ leads. I felt them pull — they were a little too interested in the Chihuahua puppy. I’m not sure they knew it was a dog. The next day I went indoors at the show to get something to eat, with the dogs along with me. The Chihuahuas were being judged next to the snack bar so the dogs had a good view of the little dogs while I ate a sausage biscuit. They were still fascinated by the small dogs.

I had a great time seeing people I knew and talking to everybody. Blue and Pearl won their classes each time — but they were the only ones in their classes. 🙂 Unfortunately, they didn’t win any points at these shows. These were specialty shows so there was a very large entry. I’m afraid I was a little rusty in my grooming and showing. These were the first shows I’ve been to in about a year. I see a lot of room for improvement the next time I show them in a few weeks. I need to take off more of Blue’s coat. Maybe Pearl will have more of her long hair grown back by then.

I think the dogs had a great time. I know they like the new toys I bought them. As soon as we got to the show grounds I headed for one of the vendor’s tents and let the dogs pick out something. After that, every time we walked by they wanted to go back inside. LOL When I got up this morning Blue came into the bedroom carrying one of his new toys. Dogs are great, aren’t they?

April 6, 2009 Posted by | dogs, Pets | , , , | Leave a comment

Westminster KC dog show

This is a great time of year for most dog lovers. Monday and Tuesday the Westminster Kennel Club dog show will be held in New York City. Approximately 2500 canine champions of all breeds will meet to determine the top dog. The annual event is the second oldest continuous sporting event in America, right behind the Kentucky Derby. The first Westminster show was held in 1877 and this is the 133rd year of the event.


Uno the Beagle was Best in Show at Westminster last year.

Uno the Beagle was Best in Show at Westminster last year.

If you like dogs this is the show for you. You will see the best of the best. Watching Westminster is also an educational experience as announcer David Frei discusses the history of each breed and talks about breed characteristics. You can find out which breeds make good family dogs, which ones require lots of grooming, which dogs may be too much for a beginning dog owner, and so on.


The Westminster coverage is usually good about going “backstage,” into the grooming area. Westminster is one of the few remaining “benched” shows in the country, which means that dogs and their owners are required to stay in the “benching” area in back during the show to allow the public to mingle and meet the dogs. At most shows these days people come, groom their dogs, show and leave. But at Westminster people and dogs are required to stay until the show releases them. Benched shows are great for the public to be able to meet the dogs and talk to owners, handlers and breeders about the dogs. The TV coverage usually gets back to the benching and grooming areas to see the dogs up close and meet the owners, handlers and breeders. That’s good for everyone.

I think too often people have the idea that showdogs are showdogs 24/7 and that’s certainly not the case. My dogs are either current showdogs or retired from showing. I try to keep them bathed and groomed but you often can’t tell from the way they play in the mud and snow. They sleep on my bed. They chase each other through the house. They knock things over and chew on things just like everyone else’s dogs. I don’t think they’re very pampered except when it comes to the extra grooming. I make sure they get very good food, but so do many other dog owners.

Once in a while I load a couple of them up in my old car and we head to a weekend of dog shows where we spend the day at the show and the night at the motel. The dogs love the trips because they get to see new things, meet new dogs, get a lot of extra petting from strangers, and get LOTS of treats. Plus, they like riding in cars and sleeping in motel rooms. So, it’s hard to understand why some people think that dog shows are cruel. My dogs are never out of my sight. I wouldn’t do it if they weren’t having fun. You can tell if a dog isn’t happy. Unhappy dogs don’t show well. You can’t win with an unhappy dog. Believe me: if the dogs you see on TV were unhappy they wouldn’t be out there wagging their tails and looking so happy. Those dogs are enjoying what they do. Dogs don’t lie.

Of course, some people like to cause controversy. The animal rights group PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) tried to get the USA Network to drop its coverage of Westminster this year, claiming that Westminster and dog shows in general promote genetic health problems in dogs. The Los Angeles Times covered the story in one of their blogs. When they opened the site up for reader comments fully 96 percent of people responding blasted PETA and supported the USA Network for airing the dog show. Such a strong show of support must have pleased USA.

Nevertheless, PETA will make its usual appearance outside the show. This year they’re planning to have someone outside Madison Square Garden costumed in KKK white robes. The idea, they say, is to let people know that the AKC (and I suppose Westminster) support the idea of breed purity and creating a “master race,” so that makes them like the Ku Klux Klan. Pretty asinine, isn’t it? I think it illustrates the problem with a lot of animal rights thinking. First, it’s idiotic. And, second, it confuses animals with people. People have been practicing animal husbandry for thousands of years. You could say that one of the hallmarks of civilization is when humans began keeping and breeding animals. For a group of fanatics to confuse animal breeding practices with human life is a little disturbing, not to mention insulting to people who may have suffered at the hands of the KKK or with genuine ethnic cleansing. There is no way to equate animal breeding practices with something like the holocaust. For a group like PETA to make these comparisons is sad and sickening.

You can judge the dogs for yourself when USA Network airs the Westminster Kennel Club dog show on Monday and Tuesday evenings. Live Opening Night Coverage begins Monday, February 9th at 8/7C on USA before switching to CNBC at 9/8C. USA will broadcast the complete Closing Night competition at 8/7C on Tuesday, February 10th. USA has some cool dog-related links such as finding the right dog for you, dog trivia and other things on their site, so you should check it out. There’s also lots of great dog stuff about the show itself on the Westminster Kennel Club web site.

And, if you’re going to be in New York next week, for the dog show or for any other reason, be sure to read Dog NewsBite of the Apple:  It’s the best guide around to places to go and things to see in NYC.

February 6, 2009 Posted by | dogs, General, Pets | , , , , | Leave a comment

Joe Biden picks a puppy and other news

There are a couple of interesting news items today for dog lovers.  First, vice-president-elct Joe Biden has chosen his new puppy!  Remember his wife promised him that if he won the election he could get a “big dog” to go with him to Washington.  Well, Mr. Biden has indeed chosen a big dog breed.  According to a story in the Chester County Daily Local News (Pennsylvania), Mr. Biden and his secret service contingent recently paid a visit to a respected breeder in East Coventry.  There he looked at a litter of German Shepherd Dog puppies and made his selection.  He said he was looking for a social and obedient pup.  “He is the nicest person on this earth,” Brown said about her meeting with Biden…He was very gracious.”  Brown said, “He hugged and kissed all of the shepherds.”  That sounds good.




Joe Biden and his new puppy

Joe Biden and his new puppy

Apparently Mr. Biden has had German Shepherd Dogs in the past and likes the breed.  He became interested again this time when he noticed the K9 team one of his secret service people had and he struck up a conversation with the trainer about them.  He asked the man to recommend a breeder and do some research for him.  Now the trainer will be taking the puppy for six weeks of training (including housebreaking) before he joins Mr. Biden in Washington.  They believe this will allow Mr. Biden and his family time to settle in their new home before the puppy joins them and ease the transistion.  His grandkids are going to name the new puppy.



Good luck to Mr. Biden with his new puppy.  That’s great.  It sounds like he touched all the bases and made a great choice for him and his family.  No word yet on the Obamas’ choice of a dog for their family.  They seem to still be considering their options.  I’m sure it’s difficult to choose when everything you do attracts national attention.


In other dog news, if you like to watch dogs shows (and I know there are people who do), the big AKC-Eukanuba National Championship dog show is being held in Long Beach, California this weekend.  Show coverage won’t be aired on Animal Planet and the Discovery Channel until January (I really wish they would go back to live or same-day coverage, the way it was the first year or two), but you can watch same-day coverage of the Bred-By Exhibitor group competitions on the AKC Web site Saturday and Sunday.


Toy, Sporting, Hound and Non-Sporting groups will be judged on Saturday, December 13, and Working, Terrier and Herding groups will be judged on Sunday, December 14.  If you go to the AKC Web site on those days you can watch the video for each group.



The Sealyham Terrier, last year's AKC/Euk BIS Winner

The Sealyham Terrier, last year's AKC/Euk BIS Winner

The eighth AKC/Eukanuba National Championship, Bred-by-Exhibitor Best in Show and Eukanuba World Challenge competitions will premiere as a television simulcast on Animal Planet and Discovery Channel on Saturday, January 31, 2009 from 8-11 p.m. (ET/PT). In addition, the AKC Agility Invitational will air on Animal Planet on February 7, 2009 at 8 p.m. (ET/PT).



There’s plenty of other information about the show on the AKC’s Web site.  The dogs are competing not only for Best In Show, but also for Best Bred-By-Exhibitor in Show — and since this show was created to honor breeders, that’s a big deal.  This show is also very rare among dog shows because it offers cash prizes.  More than $225,000 will be awarded to the winners of the show, thanks to Eukanuba Dog Foods.  At every other show people and dogs are only competing for trophies, with an occasional token amount of money that might cover gasoline or your motel bill.  The winners of this show can also claim, with a great deal of justification, to be the top dogs in the country.  Some of the best show dogs in the country will be seen at this show, going up against each other in head-to-head competition.  They may not have met each other before all year.  So, it’s very interesting to see how they match up against each other in the ring.


The AKC-Eukanuba National Championship is lots of fun if you like dog shows.  Visit the AKC Web site this weekend if you would like to take a look at the Bred-By group competitions.  Allow for the time difference — the show is in California so it will be three hours later for East coast people.  Remember that many times the Bred-By winner will also go on to win Best of Breed and compete in the regular group competitions, so you may be able to spot the eventual Best In Show winner.

December 12, 2008 Posted by | dogs, Pets | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2008 Round

Here we go again. I just registered for our 2nd show for 2008. Registration for the first show was a month ago. We are now booked for two of our regular shows:

Sandy Paws, Georgia in March 2008
Greyhounds in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania in April 2008

 The other “regulars” will follow soon I’m sure.

I’m not sure what other shows we will be doing in 2008 yet. Guess it’s time to start thinking about that…

I love doing dog shows and events, we get to meet so many wonderful people and their dogs. It is so much fun and I am looking forward to them.

December 12, 2007 Posted by | Business | , | Leave a comment