How Do I Prepare my Shih Tzu for a Show?
If you have decided to enter your Shih Tzu into a conformation event, it is best to begin preparing well in advance. You will want your dog to have a through check up with the veterinarian approximately 5 months before a show and follow up within 1 month of entry.
It is is recommended to never try out a new groomer right before you enter your Shih Tzu into a dog show. You will want to establish a good relationship with a professional groomer well in advance of entering your dog into competition. Even if you normally groom your dog yourself, when it comes time for the intense competition, you will want a professional to make final touches, if not complete the entire grooming process.
What About Topknots?
A Shih Tzu must have a show topknot as opposed to a maintenance topknot, when competing in a dog show. A show topknot will use up to 8 bands and a bow. These hair creations can become very complicated and intricate. Hair is curled, braided or other. Unless you have a great deal of experience in this area, it is strongly recommended to allow a professional dog groomer to handle this aspect.
What commands Will My Shih Tzu Need to Know for Conformation Dog Events?
Your dog will need to walk straight and proud along side you in the ring. Understanding "Stop" and "Stay" is a must. Performing in front of a large audience must not intimidate the Shih Tzu. This can be instilled in your dog by first entering dog matches where you can both gain a lot of experience.
Your dog should also be very comfortable with sitting and allowing someone (other than you) to inspect them. The judge will be touching the dog's body and looking into the dog's mouth. You may wish to have a friend practice as the "judge" and train your Shih Tzu to become accustomed to this dog show element.