As regards colouring, though dyeing is, of course, forbidden, the addition of a little " blue " to the bath of a white dog is allowable. It merely enhances the colour of a white coat, and could never change a creamy into a dead-white one.
Remember also that as washing tends to soften hair for a while, dogs who should own wiry or hard coats should not be bathed immediately before a show. A few days should elapse to allow the natural oil to return to the coat. Careful grooming with a dandy brush and currycomb, and massage with a hound glove, will suffice in the interval. No time spent in grooming is wasted, for not only does it beautify the coat, but, by acting on the skin, keeps up the physical tone.
Should a white dog seem dirty, he can be cleaned by rubbing whiting or magnesia into his coat and then brushing it until all vestiges of powder are removed-no light task. If traces adhere to the judge's hands, he can order the dog's removal from the ring. Hot bran also cleans a coat well.
Many exhibitors find it necessary to "condition" their dogs artificially before showing, especially those that are bad doers. For this purpose many patent preparations can be relied upon; but, as far as possible, one should depend upon natural methods practised the year throughout.
Entering a Dog for Show
When it is finally decided that a dog is to be exhibited at a certain show, nothing should be left to chance or the last minute. While there is nothing to be gained by hurry there is much to be lost by delay. By delaying unduly an entry at a most important show, I once, in my haste, entered a lady as a gentleman, thus rendering myself liable not merely to the forfeiture of a big entry fee, but, worse, to losing the chance of competing in the chief annual show for her breed.
Read every word on the schedule sent you, and make your entry on the form accompanying it accordingly. Use common-sense in selecting the class or classes in which to enter. If yours is but a fair specimen, take modest refuge in the novice, maiden, junior, or undergraduate classes, if such there are, and leave the open and limit ones severely alone. The definitions given in the show schedule you will receive are clearness itself, so it is not necessary to explain these terms here. Personally, except under favourable weather conditions, a litter class is also best avoided, for there is grave risk at such a tender age of injury from heat, contagion, or indiscriminate and affectionate handling. As a famous breeder once drily remarked to me when, in my novice days, I gloried in a litter prize, " If I want to lose a litter, I always show it."
On the day of the show, again, allow for the vagaries of fate and trains; give a margin of time and be early at the show. Your animal will pass the vet sooner, and be benched comfortably before the crush begins. You will have to provide yourself with an exhibition chain, at a cost of about 1s. 9d. to 2S., to which you must attach the numbered metal tally that, together with your admission pass, will be sent you by the secretary. The number on the tally is that of the bench of your dog. The feeding, watering, and bedding is supplied gratis by the show management. Here a hint. See that the dog's collar cannot be slipped, and that the chain is not so long as to allow of his falling over the bench and strangling himself.
Put the dog at once on his bench and stop a while to reassure him, especially if a nervous subject. If you can afford the luxury of show screens on either side, you have a useful protection against possible contagion and a disturbing neighbour. These screens should be previously sponged with disinfectant.
Be on the alert to ascertain the times of judging, for though the dogs of absent exhibitors will be duly brought before the judge by the committee if notified to that effect, yet, if your dog is off his bench, no one will search you and him out. It is always better to show your dog yourself, for obvious reasons. Nowhere so well as in the ring is a novice able to judge for herself the merits of her breed. Faults hidden on the bench are pitilessly revealed there. She should lose no chance of watching the judging, even if of a class for which she has not entered. As regards behaviour in the ring, it is merely necessary to do as other exhibitors, and obey punctiliously any command of the judge.
It is usually possible to remove a dog before the close of a show by paying a fee varying in amount according to the desired time of removal, but the good sportsman will be mindful, other things being equal, of the humbler public that can only attend late in the day.
It should not be necessary to caution the exhibitor against showing either undue elation at success or disappointment at failure, or against too scathing criticism of the unlucky judge whose verdicts she may not quite have followed. Malcontents by profession there always are, but she should not join their ranks.
A Useful Precaution
In spite of the most stringent precautions, there is always a risk of contagious disease in showing dogs. It is wise, therefore, after a show to give the dog a bath or good sponge down with a disinfectant, and, if possible, keep him apart from other dogs for a day or two.
A last word as regards prizes. These are decided but not given-except at sanction shows-at the time. Prize-money has to be paid within a specified time, and no inquiries need be made until that date has expired. Should the exhibitor be so lucky as to secure a challenge cup or trophy, let her observe the rules anent its retention.