Over the years I've heard countless comments about a dog's "winning attitude". People talk about a dog having a fabulous "ring personality" and how a certain dog will just love to show his heart out and indeed, you do see dogs who have this magical sparkling air that just stand them out from the crowd.
Is a show dog born or is it made into a show dog? There hangs the 64 thousand dollar question. I guess not all dogs are born to sparkle and some dogs need time and patience to develop. Some handlers just have a special ability to bring out the best in a dog and others just need lots of training time with their dog.
However, it is especially humbling when a dog just won't do what you need it to do on the day. There are lots of reasons for a dog digging in his toes and behaving poorly. I hear many stories from owners about their dogs and though genes do determine a lot, a bad situation or lack of control can ruin a potential star.
Plush Puppy Drops are plant or flower essences preserved in an alcohol base. There are 3 types available that work well for show dogs. They cannot be overdosed though more doesn't work better so don't waste them. One third of a dropper will do the job approx 45 minutes before show time. If that doesn't get the desired result then dose the dog first thing in the morning, then again 45 mins prior to showtime. Keep working back i.e. the night before and the morning before for up to 3 days if necessary.
The drops don't cure the dog - the dog will do that himself. All the drops do is to allow the dog to have a good memory of the show and the ring and after 1/2 a dozen times the problem will likely go away.
There are some problems that just won't go away and if the problem is in the breeding and the parents or siblings exhibited the same behaviour then no amount of drops will correct the situation.
The Apprehension Drops are for the dog with an irrational fear of the unknown e.g. flapping ring flags, a judge wearing a hat, a bitch about to have her first season and doesn't want her rear end touched, the slobbering big dog next in the line, wariness of strangers that is out of order for the breed etc.
Then the Hyperactivity Drops are good for a dog who is out of control and over the top e.g. a young dog with nothing between his ears, a dog that just wants to rocket at flat out pace around the ring, a dog with short attention span and doesn't listen.
Lastly there is the Show Reviver Drops for frankly a dog that is lazy or without any annimation. Now this is rather good for those long hot days when everyone is over it. The drops can spark up the dog and enable it to cope better. Also good for the dog who has been shown to death and is also over it.
I've had some wonderful results with these drops. I treasure the moment when a lady with a Golden hugged me and thanked me for enabling her bitch to get her title. She had had a bad experience at a show and the bitch had not shown well since. Apprehension Drops fixed this siutation nicely and with hugs for me too. I also use the Apprehension with young puppies about to travel for their first time in the dog trailer. I rarely get a mess when I arrive. These are great too when a puppy is about to leave home for his new address and that strange new back yard can be intimidating. Use on puppies when teething as often they don't like their mouth touched.
I've had days in the high 30's when the Show Reviver Drops are about the only thing that gets everyone through the day. They do help to cope in the heat and will often just add the little bit of spark to a less than energetic dog. There's a nice dog I know that was getting past it a bit and the spring in his step is a joy to see. The owner is over the moon with the results. This is not a miracle, just a little wonder!
A few extra tips for those hot days too - don't fill your dog full of water to slosh around the ring. He does need fluid and does need to keep cool. Water him well earlier on and then give him ice cubes in a small bucket clipped to his cage. Keeps him amused and cool and light on his feet without all that big gut full. Small sips of water if really hot. Also water spray his feet.
It makes the heart sing to see a dog almost standing on his toes on the stack full of expectation and eager to please. He will almost transfer his weight without moving his feet and with ears a-twitch, he will focus on his handler without a care for anyone else. It is his show and everyone knows it. He is doing his best and you the handler can see it and feel it and it then makes your heart sing too. Make it fun and make it pleasurable. Isn't that why we do it?