How to Prep Your Show Animals

No matter what types of animals you want to show – cattle, horses, sheep, chickens, pigeons, dogs, cats – they need to be at their best to make a favorable impression, and there are certain steps every animal owner can take to impress the judges.

  • Prep the Paperwork
    Be sure that all necessary papers are in order when you plan to show your animal, including pedigrees, vaccination reports, health certificates, and more. Don't miss show registration deadlines, and be prepared to provide any other requested documentation about your animal.

  • Keep Healthy
    Long before the show, be sure your animal is in the best of health. This includes updating any vaccinations, providing the proper diet, and giving your animal appropriate exercise. This will help keep them at their best energy level and appearance to show well.

  • Research Standards
    Research the preferred show standards of size, appearance, and temperament for your animal's breed, and take steps to be sure your animal is as close to meeting those standards as possible. This may mean brushing up on training, adjusting grooming, or taking other steps to help perfect your animal.

  • Socialize
    A show can be a crowded, noisy event, and if your animal is not appropriately socialized to the situation, they may become stressed and uncooperative at the show. Be sure they are accustomed to different situations, noises, and unexpected actions so they can maintain their decorum in front of the judges.

  • Training
    Show animals are often expected to perform in certain ways, such as standing in a careful posture, demonstrating tricks, or following commands. Refresh that training before the show to be sure your animal understands your signals and you can work smoothly together.

  • Grooming
    Be sure your pet is appropriately groomed for the show, starting with a thorough bath with shampoo and conditioner. Trimming, brushing, and combing are all part of appropriate grooming, and specific animals may need further care, such as polishing hooves or braiding manes. Don't forget dental grooming for your animal as well.

  • Clean Your Gear
    While the majority of the attention at a show will be on your animal, don't forget your animal's gear. Clean, polish, and repair any leashes, collars, harnesses, halters, or other equipment so it makes just as good an impression as the animal. If you plan on using new gear for the show, be sure it fits appropriately and your animal is used to it.

  • Prep Yourself
    Even if your animal is in top condition, you may not make a good appearance at the show if you are exhausted, unkempt, or ill. Keep yourself in peak condition as well, so you can help your animal do its very best!

With the right preparation, every show animal can perform well and have a chance of impressing the judges.