Service Dogs at Dog Shows? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-01-2015, 01:35 AM Thread Starter
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Service Dogs at Dog Shows?

I know it is generally frowned upon/against ground rules to bring a non-competing dog into a dog show venue (I think this is what I have read?)

Does this rule apply to Service Dogs? I know they generally have public access rights, but not in all venues (i.e. the Zoo can bar them from certain high risk areas, etc.)

Are they allowed? I imagine the reason non-competing dogs are bared is since they can be a distraction/there is no way to guarantee their training, but since Service Dogs are so highly trained I would think it would be a non-issue?
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-01-2015, 03:32 AM
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Service dogs are allowed. A friend shows GSDs and her previous service dog would go to shows with her. He'd wait in the common area in his crate while she was in the ring with the dog she was showing. As long as they're not disruptive, there isn't usually any issue.

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-01-2015, 10:35 AM
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I go to dog shows all the time that I do not enter. I find people very friendly from the social aspect. Plus there can always be great vender deals to be had. It is just a great place to get your pup social.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-01-2015, 10:25 PM
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I go to dog shows all the time that I do not enter. I find people very friendly from the social aspect. Plus there can always be great vender deals to be had. It is just a great place to get your pup social.

Actually, it is not. A service dog should already be social enough not to react to other dogs in a negative fashion. A service dog should be able to keep its mind on its owner and ignore its surroundings even in a dog show environment, and yes, service dogs should be allowed in a dog show, even if they are not entered.

But, it is not just a great place to get your pup social. Sorry. Dog classes are a great place to take a pup. Dog shows have tons of dogs and people, half of them nervous and getting ready to go into the ring, who have all paid to enter the show. It is no place for dogs that are not trustworthy around other dogs. It is not a place for puppies to be getting used to other dogs and people -- too many of both, and likely to over-whelm a youngster anyway. If a pup is ready to be entered in a dog show -- six months, then enter the dog and pay your fee. Don't just bring dogs that don't belong to a dog show.

For one thing, it means, that since most of the premiums say clearly that unentered dogs are not permitted, that some steward will have the unpleasant business of asking you if the dog is entered, and if it is not, asking you to leave. No one wants this confrontation, because it sours people to the sport. But, accidents and incidents happen at dog shows occasionally, and it makes people furious when a dog that really shouldn't be there is involved. There are enough dogs at the show that are entered. Unentered dogs should not be there, save service dogs.

If you have a service dog. Than you need a service dog. If you need a service dog in the grocery store, then you need a service dog at a dog show. That shouldn't even be a question. Not letting a service dog in some areas of a zoo may be for the benefit of both the animals in the zoo, and the service dog, depending on the type of zoo. I don't know those rules.

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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-02-2015, 03:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Persinette View Post
I know it is generally frowned upon/against ground rules to bring a non-competing dog into a dog show venue (I think this is what I have read?)

Are they allowed? I imagine the reason non-competing dogs are bared is since they can be a distraction/there is no way to guarantee their training, but since Service Dogs are so highly trained I would think it would be a non-issue?

where did you get this information?

in my experience is is very false
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-02-2015, 11:28 AM
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OP sorry I got side tracked a little about specifically service dogs on my first post. I have a friend who served overseas that goes to Dog Shows with her service dog occasionally, never a problem. I have been going to a large indoor/outdoor show in my area for years and I usually not entered. My dogs are at least 6 to 8 months old when I start them going and it continues to old age. Dogs and owners must be well behaved. I have contacted the clubs in the past to see if it is AOK. I never approach the conformation ring or prep area. This show has a large vendor dealer area and there are many people like myself. You can watch agility, obedience and testing. There is a large area outside for walking your dog on leash only. I enjoy this as this is an area where everyone is on the same channel, good conversation and good for a 6-8 month old pup. I have never been asked to leave. I find good people, good dogs, good deals and I will be doing it again soon. Check with the club or clubs that are sponsoring the show and have fun.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-02-2015, 11:49 AM
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Some shows allow unentered dogs, and some don't. If it's not allowed, the kennel club will state it in their premium list. I've never asked the reasoning behind not allowing an unentered dog. I just assume it's a lack of space for crating dogs that aren't being shown. or not wanting spectators dogs in the mix. Russell has been with me to several out of state shows, when I had no one at home to take care of him. He hasn't been shown yet.

Anyway, a service dog should be a non-issue, and allowed at the show.

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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-02-2015, 11:20 PM
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Yep, it is listed on the premium list.

But even in the vendor area. The larger the show, the larger the vendor area, but also the larger number of entered dogs. The Christmas classic has thousands of dogs there. And yes, when we are not competing, we will walk through the vendor area to get to other venues or to check out what is offered for sale.

Once in a vender area, I was at a show that I was entered in, with two youngsters -- 3 or 4 year old children in tow. Some hag needing to get to a conformation ring with her dog, was upset that my niece was not walking fast enough for her, and she chewed me out for having the kid there in the vendor area.

Another time, a Newfoundland in a vendor area, decided that my dog Heidi did not need to exist and made a lunge at her. I got in between and prevented a problem. I assumed the Newf was entered somewhere and hoped to God it wasn't conformation, because that reaction to another dog for a Newf was just wrong. Bad temperament. Shouldn't be bred. But I would have been ticked off if I found out that dog was just someone's pet and not entered in anything. We have enough issues with 2000+ dogs in a location, that there is just no point in having an incident between a competition dog and a pet. Out in the wider world, we look at every dog with the idea that it may attack our dog, and we ensure that doesn't happen. The expectation at a dog show is that dogs ought to be owned by people who have a clue, and the dogs have reached a level of acceptance of being in the presence of other dogs. You just don't get that with the population as a whole, but these ought to be the elite owners.

Service dog owners also ought to be elite owners. And yes, they should be there. Leave your pets at home. Take them to classes, and when they are ready, pay your money and enter them, then they do have a right to be there. Until then, go to classes, and matches and run-throughs, go to shows without your dog, it doesn't belong there.

For owners who have an entered dog and a second dog that is not entered, follow the premium list. If it says no un-entered dogs, don't bring the dog or enter it in something. Even so, people who have a dog entered, ought to be owners who know how to properly manage their dogs at a show and rarely contribute to incidents at shows, whether their other dog is entered or not. I expect a lot of leeway is given so long as the owner of the dog is a competitor.

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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-03-2015, 12:38 AM
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Too many spectators are clueless when they are at a show. They get in the way, they try to pet dogs without permission, and if they have a dog with them, they rarely watch to see what their dog is doing. I've had to quickly steer my dogs around people standing in the aisles, all the while keeping my dogs looking straight ahead to keep them from making eye contact with another dog. Eye contact is just an invitation to a ruckus. It's a bit of a dance, and when you are really pressed for time, then it gets annoying.

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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-06-2015, 09:18 PM
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Originally Posted by dogfaeries View Post
Too many spectators are clueless when they are at a show. They get in the way, they try to pet dogs without permission, and if they have a dog with them, they rarely watch to see what their dog is doing. I've had to quickly steer my dogs around people standing in the aisles, all the while keeping my dogs looking straight ahead to keep them from making eye contact with another dog. Eye contact is just an invitation to a ruckus. It's a bit of a dance, and when you are really pressed for time, then it gets annoying.
And some people are plain rude. The girls were not trying to pet her dogs, we did not have the dog with us at that moment, we were not standing in the aisle.

The thing is, a dog show is for the vast majority a hobby/sport. It is an opportunity for good sportsmanship, fun, helping new people, enjoying the things you really love. If it isn't fun, then find another hobby. If you are so cross that you snap at a couple of pre-schoolers or their aunt in the vendor area, where the kids are doing nothing more than walking at a youngster's pace, then it's time to hang up your show lead and switch your hobby to golf or fishing or poker.

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