Here, in no special order, are some items that I definitely am glad I have to help me train, raise, and show the dogs. In some cases, I've described why. In others, I think the reasons are self-explanatory. I guess you might also consider the following as a helpful list for those of you who are looking to add more dog/show dog items to your belongings! If you're just starting out, it might make shopping easier.
1. Exercise Pens! Oh dear, I wish people who owned pets would discover what wonderful things exercise pens are. Raining cats and dogs?? Set up an ex-pen in your garage and avoid getting yourself and your dog soaked! Want to take the dog on the family picnic in the park? Take along the ex-pen and set it up so you can keep an eye on him. No fenced in yard and no time to walk the dog before you leave for work? Set up an ex-pen in the yard, on your deck or patio!
Ex-pens are sold in many different sizes to accommodate different size dogs. I have five ex-pens. four of my ex-pens are 24" tall and each panel is 24" wide. Each pen has 8 panels. The pens fold up into compact 2'x2' squares that are about 2"tall when laid flat. The 24" size works well for me because my dogs are not jumpers and because I can easily lean over and pick the dog up out of the pen. I had a 36" one once that had a door in it. I didn't care much for it; getting the dog out was darn inconvenient. However, I can understand how it'd be great for a dog that was a jumper. I asked my husband to take it apart, lay the panels on their sides and create a pen that is 24" wide with 36" panels. We took out a couple panels, making it 3' wide and 6' long. It doesn't fold up anymore but that is fine since it is the one we use permanently in the garage. Two ex-pens stay in the trunk of my car and always go to shows with me, one for use at the hotel and one for use at the show site. Another is always set up in my garage. The other two are extras, folded up and carefully tucked away should I ever need them. Walker won one of them as a prize for taking a Group 1. The other, which is 30" high, was given to me when a friend passed away.
At shows the ex-pens are set up outside with a plastic mat under them, protecting the dogs' coats from whatever surface is under the mat. (There have been some yucky ones, especially if we had to set up in a stall at a fairgrounds!) The woven plastic allows urine to flow through so the dogs don't trail their long coats in it. In hotel rooms, when the weather is rainy, windy, or snowy and I don't want to get show coats (or myself) all wet or messy, I set up the ex-pen with a flannel-backed vinyl tablecloth under it, flannel side up. I generally put in some newspapers or piddle pads too. The flannel fabric absorbs the urine and the vinyl protects the hotel's floor. The pen can also be used as a barrier if the room is cramped and you want to allow your dog to use the hotel bathroom (cover the floor with a flannel backed table cloth, newspaper, or piddle pads to protect it). Put the partially opened ex-pen in front of the bathroom door so you can keep an eye on the dog.
The ex-pen in my garage used to be a fold-up pen but has now become a permanent fixture. We used zip ties to attach pieces of " PVC pipe cut the length of each side. The pipe is attached across the middle of each side to provide the necessary stability. The sides are now rigid. They don't move or collapse. AgainŠit's a time saver and coat saver on inclement weather days. We bought a horse stall mat to cover the garage floor. Atop it, we put the exercise pen and thick layers of newspapers. Puppies are paper trained in that pen and have no problem understanding at shows what the pen is used for! __The mats can easily be washed with soapy water and a hose, as can the tablecloths. I've also been known to put the tablecloths in the washer, set on delicate, and clean them that way. Buy the tablecloths at WalMart or Kmart after a holiday season and you can usually get a pretty good deal on them once they hit the clearance aisle! The ex-pens and mats can be ordered from any pet supply catalog. I got mine from PetEdge and KV Vet Supply. For more about exercise pens also see this article.
The list continues:
2. Piddle pads. Need I say more??
3. Wire-bottomed 3' x 3' puppy play pens! We use a 3' x 3' for whelping puppies and have done so since the late 70's.
4. Curved-blade scissors, used for trimming around feet.
5. Small electric (or battery operated) clippers for trimming between the pads of the feet.
6. My Chi hair iron. Excellent product for sealing the hair cuticle, adding shine to the dogs' hair, and giving the coats a lovely finished look!
7. Face combs!!! About 4 inches long. Great for mustaches! Great for training puppies to let you comb their faces and not nearly as threatening for them as a regular-size comb coming toward them.
8. Kenic Dry Pet Shampoo. It is not really "dry." It's a liquid. It just doesn't have to be rinsed out of the dogs' coat. There are many, many brands of rinse-less shampoos, but I like this one best. Rinse-less shampoos are timesavers both at home and at shows. They are not used for general bathing but just for emergency use on a soiled face, butt, or feet.
9. Latex bands for topknots, pony tails, and braids.
10. My Rubbermaid tub in which I pack my dog show "stuff," including grooming tools, grooming sprays, leads, ringside basket, treats, my Chi hair iron, my grooming smock, and sundry other essentials.
11. Water bottle adapters. These are drip-less, easy to transport, and so very handy since they keep dogs from plunging their faces into water bowls and thus keep faces dry.
12. "The Wheels," the name we've given to the wheeled cart on which we stack all the show equipment to be taken into the grooming building to our grooming spot. The exercise pens, the grooming tables, the ringside tables, wire crates, plastic storage tubs, tack boxes, etc., etc. It all goes on "the wheels" and is taken to the set up. Then we go back and load the dogs in their crates on "the wheels." Without them, showing dogs would be a lot heavier work and a lot more complicated. Bungee cords are also a "must" for use with wheels.
13. Pin brushes and Greyhound/Greyhound-style combs. They are wonderful for grooming long-coated dogs. (Click here for a list of grooming tools.)
14. Ringside tables. In the "old" days, we used to take our dogs to ringside and sit by them on the floor. Thank goodness those days are over, especially now that we are older and it is harder to get up off the floor. We now have ringside tables. These are small, fold-up tables that are easily carried and set up at ringside. The dogs rest on them while waiting their turn in the ring, keeping them up and off the floor, away from other exhibitors' and spectators' feet. They also save the exhibitor a lot of leg and back pain!
15. Ringside baskets. These small totes are perfect for carrying essential grooming tools to ringside - a spray bottle, a Greyhound comb, a pin brush.
16. My bait bag which comes in soooo handy when my outfit doesn't have pockets!
17. My Edemco stand hair dryer which I have had since 1978 and which is still going strong! I don't know if Edemco still "makes 'em like they used to" but I hope I never have to find out!
18. Martingale leads.