I can see why other people show their dogs, I just don't agree. What other people do with their dogs is really none of my business, I just don't support nor advocate for that sort of practice.
I personally think its a combination of both- I do Obedience and Agility with my two and the rising costs of not only the entry fees but the petrol as well have meant I have had to cut down on how far I will go - unless i make a holiday out of it and camp for longer!
The average cost of entering a class at an obeidience competition is between £3.50 and £6.00- THAT IS PER CLASS . My two enter two classes each that can be £20 + before thinking about petrol.
Agility is slightly cheaper but where I am there are less shows so I travel further and end up camping for a few nights.
Having a hobby that involves your loved ones is very rewarding and enjoyable and I dont hold that against anyone, BUT saying that I do find the showing af Cavaliers right now quite upsetting since recent research has shown that the majority of Cavaliers do suffer with CM or SM.
Given the secrecy we have experienced around the health of cavaliers and breeders/breeding programs I can't help but think that showing these dogs has to take a back seat to getting them healthy again.
Just my thoughts?
Ruby - my stunning soul mate who defies the odds every day
Charlie- my angel at heart and devil at play
I too would hazard a guess that petrol costs will have a big effect on numbers showing their dogs. It is a worrying time in the UK at the moment, people are losing their jobs, not having pay icnreases, and in some cases having cuts in pay. We all still have to pay mortgages, bills, and basics for our families and dogs, showing will have to take a bit of a back seat for quite a few people, just as other hobbies or activites, ie horse riding for the kids, tennis lessons etc. If people who show do have a family then probably the shows will be the first thing to be cut back on in hard times.I agree with those that do show their dogs though, that it must be really enjoyable both for them and their dogs. A miserable dog, who hates being there will look hang-dog however many treats are wafted passed his nose, so there would be no point in taking him.The shows I've been to watch have lots of excited and happy dogs there, who enjoy the atmosphere and company. Think of it from their point of view. There are lots of lovely doggy smells, lots of other dogs the can say hello to, lots of activity to watch and join in with, lots of people making a fuss of them!! not to mention the treats.Wow it sounds like heaven!
Reading Our Dogs magazine regularly, the drop in show numbers is general to all breeds, not just Cavaliers. Karen mentioned obedience entries going up to around £4.50 a class - a championship show entry is now at least £20 a class, and often £25. Enter a couple of classes (not worth going for just one), add on petrol, and you can be looking at £100 for each show. No prize money, and the costs of keeping dogs (food, insurance, vets bills) are going up all the time as well - I'm not surprised that people are thinking twice and being far more selective about which shows they go to. Interestingly, at the more local, cheaper Open shows entries seem to be increasing a bit.
As far as Cavaliers are concerned, I regularly meet small-scale breeders who are simply pulling out of breeding and showing because they have SM in their line or have put a lot of time, effort and money into breeding SM/MVD-clear dogs and it just seems to be increasingly impossible to breed healthy puppies.
Dogs may not be able to speak, but they can certainly make their feelings known, and an experienced dog owner will have a pretty good idea by reading their body language what they are feeling or wanting (Cavaliers are especially good at letting you know what they want!). If my dog is quivering with excitement and wagging his tail furiously, I would guess he's enjoying himself. Dogs are not natural, wild animals, they are domesticated animals who at some stage in their evolution decided that living at close quarters with humans in return for not having to hunt for their food or fight off predators was a worthwhile exchange. 10,000 years later they are still making this decision - it is worth doing some of the daft things humans ask of them in return for food, shelter, praise, fun, and the opportunity to develop and use their brains. If they didn't think the exchange was worth it, there is usually nothing to stop them walking out of the front gate and going feral. Some dogs decide some things are not worth it - hence the dogs who hate showing and make it obvious. But a good dog owner works with their dog's natural instincts and abilities, not against them. I do obedience with my rescue Aled, who spent the first 18 months of his life shut in a kennel on a puppy farm and when I got him was worried by almost everything. Last month, at 4 years old, he won a fifth place in PreBeginners and the judge's report said 'Aled is such a happy chappie'. Training has really built up his confidence and enjoyment of life, he loves the fuss and praise he gets, he copes much better with life generally; but I had to train him in a way that worked for him - very differently from the way I can work with Oliver. But for me that is the fascination of doing obedience (which as a sport I find pretty boring!) - learning how to work with your dog as a partnership.
Kate, Oliver and Aled