We're currently taking Bastard Dog to a few fun dog shows as part of his socialisation process. He's loving it as is dd but I can't believe how serious some folk take it.
We've seen a bloke (same bloke) at the last two shows who has 3 spaniels. He brings them along in a crate on wheels/go kart thing. He brushes the dogs non stop including in the ring.
He also does the thing of getting the dog to stand properly, he's not the only one. Loads of them are at it, this bloke in particular really pulls the dogs about. He's got the muzzle in a vice like grip and then pulling the dogs legs about so they're all lined up straight. He got pissed off with the dog for wriggling today and shook it when the judge wasn't looking
Child handler class had 3 girls in it who I can't believe were under 16. They were wearing blazers and skirts. Doing this thing where they kind of kiss their fingers nosily and then wave the fingers in front of the dogs nose to get its attention, repeatedly.
I've told dd she's got to practise her dog show walk as there seems to be one.
things havent changed i used to go to exemption shows way back in the eighties and dogs who were ten years old one week were thirteen the next week, rescue heard a girl say told them he come from battersea, her friend said did he, girl said no of course he didnt, so she shouldnt have been in rescue class, one guy whos red setter had deffo won CCs at big shows used to cack himself if he thought someone knew him from the big shows as he shouldnt have put the dog in fun classes, he once entered said dog 7 times round an agility course just to beat my daft labrador into 2nd place, so fun shows were just as bad then
I take one of mine to fun dog shows, also for socialisation purposes, and I do 'stack' him for the judge and bath/brush him the day before the show (he's mostly white with a tendency to piss on his own legs so looks yellow without a bath). I also have a thin show lead in a complimentary colour and practice running up.
I think it's because I've come from the equine world where turnout and manners are really important, you wouldn't turn up to a showing class unprepared and in the wrong kit, it's just courtesy to the judge. Doesn't cost anything to teach a dog to stand squarely and the nylon leads can be had for under a fiver. There's also usually a divide between the pedigree classes, where you might reasonably expect it to be a bit more serious, and the purely novelty classes.
That said... there are some real pot-hunters out there and some ridiculous behaviour (not to mention ill-fitting and bizarre outfits!) Try not to take it to heart, my piss-yellow dog with a distinctly un-breed-standard tail has beaten a few big names who shouldn't have been there.
Bastard dog has scratched bald patches in his fur due to fleas, which I think I've finally got rid of now. But he looks a mess. I was slightly embarrassed but the judgewas nice to dd and said he needs hand stripping. Which I've now done and he looks like a different dog.
I think that a lot of the serious show people use fun shows as a good starting place for young dogs. Personally I haven't the temperament to show as my dogs are clearly the best and any judge who cannot see that is clearly deranged but entered the fun show in the village earlier this summer. Even there people had the crates on wheels and little combs in their pockets. The LandShark won best puppy and I could feel the hatred burning me
I attend, compete in and occasionally judge at fun shows. From a people watching perspective they are fascinating.
You will often find the serious pedigree people coming to a small fun show - several reasons. They use it as good experience with either a new dog or a new handler, and often like to put their DC in to Junior Handler classes. These can be unintentionally hilarious as you will have Little Miss Junior Show Dog with a perfectly stacked pooch, next to a toddler being led by the dog, next to a stroppy teenager, simultaneously texting her mate, ogling a boy at ringside and fixing her makeup.
Sometimes they are rosette-hunting. Sometimes, especially with a puppy, they like to see how judges react to the pup and also to get a feel for pup's inclination to showing. Some dogs/pups absolutely love it, and have a real "look at me" presence - others don't, no matter how well trained, stacked or groomed they are.
I love attending the specialist greyhound events, and particularly love lurcher and terrier shows - these are usually not frequented by show dogs, and dogs with a few lumps, bumps and war wounds are positively welcomed.