The first question I have is about handling. I kind of dont want to hire a handler for a few reasons, and I dont mind bumbling through things while learning.
I advise you to find a handler at the show or you can email the trial secretary to find out if there is a list of available handlers or sometimes the show website will list available handlers or you can show up the day of and ask around for a handler. The majority of people will do very poorly when handling their own dog. It is far better to have an experienced handler handle your dog in the ring if you have never done an SV show. Judges like dogs that have been worked and trained properly for the venue - most dogs will not do well with having the owner handle. It looks bad 99% of the time.
Another question, how many times can a dog compete for a rating? And is there any distinct reason that a dog would be V in one show and SG in another? Is that even a possible outcome? I'm not entirely sure how the ratings really work. I know how the show itself works, but in AKC shows a dog could win the breed under one judge and lose it's class under another judge, but at the end you get points which lead to a Championship. If I were to enter Xena in a show and she gets an - optimistic - V rating, and at another SV-Show under a different judge she gets a G, which title would stick? And could I compete again to get a better title?
You can show as many times as you like for one age group or class.
VP or P ratings:
3-6mo 6-9mo and 9-12mo
SG or G ratings:
12-18mo and 18-24mo
After 2 years is when it gets a little complicated...
In Germany, they do not have the open class for untitled dogs over 2 as dogs over 2 are expected to be titled before showing for a rating. In the USA, it is much harder to get dogs titled so many shows have open class for these untitled dogs over 2. Some shows will even have requirements like only 24-36mo can show in open class untitled. If you show in untitled over 24mo, the highest rating you can get is SG.
If over 2 years and titled, the dog will be shown in working classes. In these classes, the dog has the possibility of getting a V rating. If the dog is not a V conformation dog, it will get SG, G and so on. For VA, it will have to be a Sieger show and dog must have additional requirements.
Unless you are a show person with a conformation dog, I advise you not to show a dog multiple dogs after you get the highest rating for the respective class, because you CAN get lower ratings even if you got a higher rating under a previous judge. One judge's rating does not necessarily influence another (unless it is a big show with big names...and that's a whole another story
) so you CAN get different ratings under different judges. Some judges are kinder and more accepting of working lines so we show the working dogs under them. Some judges don't mind about oversized dogs as much so you show your bigger dogs under them. Some judges are very particular about color so I might not show a dog with pigment issues under them and so on.
For example, knew a working dog that was really a "G" in structure. Under Judge 1, the dog somehow got a V when shown in a working class - everyone was pretty amazed that this G dog got a V. For some odd reason, the owner showed the dog again under a different judge. Judge 2 was by the book and gave the dog what it deserved: a G rating. Now it looks bad for the dog as a V dog now gets a G rating under a bigger judge. You will still have both show cards, and you can advertise her as a "V" dog, but if people looked at the info, they will still know that the dog was rated G. Unless you have lots of aspirations for the SV show ring, show her once for the best rating possible and stop.
I will show my showlines under many judges even if it is for the same class. So even if I got my SG, I still show her for many SG's under different judges because that shows that multiple judges rate this dog as a SG rating. Same for when she gets titled and goes for a V - she will be shown many times because it campaigns her, gets her recognition, AND gives me important feedback on what many different judges think about her structure. I can then use that information to plan for the future.
For my working pup, I will most likely only show her once for each age group. Most working people I know only show once as a young dog for SG rating as they need it for the breed survey later on. And if they want to go for a V rating, they show the dog again after it is titled. I like to show so I will campaign and show my working pup along with my showline. But I will not show her as much as my showline. For example, the working pup is entered in 4-6mo in the Sieger show to get her VP rating in that age group. I could have shown her at 2 other shows, but I will not - only my showline will enter those. Then I will show her once each as 6-9, 9-12, 12-18, and 18-24 - if at all possible, I will show her under judges that are accepting and fair to working dogs. Once over 24, I will wait to put a title on her and then start showing her seriously for several V ratings as it is a personal goal of mine to campaign and show a working dog in larger shows under several judges - working dogs need to be represented as well and if we do not go out and show the dogs, then we have no room to sit around and whine about show dogs ruining everything. But again, this is because of my personal goals, my conformation background, and it is only possible because the pup has the structure, movement, and conformation for me to even try for that - I would not try this with just any working dog - dog must have the structure.
Oh and that reminds me of another question. I've seen everywhere that you can have either a tattoo OR a microchip, but all the registration forms I've seen for membership or showing just say Tattoo #. Would I just write the microchip number and write 'Microchip' in () or...what would I do in this case?
You can have either. Just fill in microchip number - they will know which one you are talking about as tattoos are shorter than chip numbers. Before the show, they might check tattoos and chips. At that time, just let the checker know which one you have.