Next month marks the start of the greatest dog show in the world! Crufts was sadly cancelled last year, amid Covid uncertainty, but is back this year and is expected to be bigger and better than ever.
As dog lovers from around the world turn their eyes to the hugely popular show, we’re especially excited for its return as we will be there too!
Taking place between the 10th and 13th of March 2022, the show, which is organised by The Kennel Club, celebrates all aspects of the roles dogs play in our lives. We can’t tell you how excited we are to have the opportunity to have a trade stand, to be able to soak up the atmosphere and to meet customers new and old over the three-day event - our stand is in Hall 1 -114a.
We’re all for celebrating our cherished canine companions (at any opportunity we get) and we believe every dog deserves to reach its full potential. To help celebrate our presence at Crufts, we’ve put together a few fun tips, inspired by some of the events at Crufts, to inspire you and your dog to create your own little slice of Crufts at home.
Dog agility is so much fun, for both you and your dog. It’s exciting, challenging, and brilliant exercise.
There’s no need to worry about how quickly your dog learns, each dog is different, and the focus should be on enjoying the tasks. Remember to use lots of encouragement, healthy dog treat rewards and praise. Keep sessions short to ensure your dog doesn’t lose interest, five or 10 minutes for each task, for example.
By teaching your dog to make a connection with you, perhaps with a simple “watch me” or “look” command, you will improve your dog’s focus so they listen to your guidance as their handler. Start in a quiet location where distractions are kept to a minimum.
Teaching tricks will help you both to improve your techniques, such as timing and the placement of tasty dog treat rewards. Teaching your dog to spin, for example, is great for flexibility and to help your dog gain confidence. By using treats to twirl your dog left, right or in a circle, you will build up to a weave and a figure of eight around your legs in no time.
Moving to Music
Heelwork to music and freestyle competitions at Crufts are fabulous events.
A dog that is ‘at heel’ is walking alongside its handler, most often staying close to the handler’s leg. Fabulous for close control, when your dog is in heel position you can communicate quietly and effortlessly and reward him with ease. Establishing the heel position is easier with a delicious dog treat in your pocket or a pouch! Once you and your dog have mastered it, moving to the music and devising routines will be easier to learn.
Basic obedience helps with focus but remember this task is about teamwork so you will need to practice your moves too. Break each move down and train each one separately, putting them together to create your own routine. We’re particularly fond of freestyle because not all dogs can be Crufts winners, and it allows you to add just about any move you master into your dance routine.
At Crufts there is a whole ring dedicated to obedience, because just about everyone loves a well-behaved dog! Training should be fun; it should exercise your dog’s brain and strengthen the relationship between you.
Never punish your dog or physically force him to do something, instead base training on positive rewards. Be patient and start slowly, use clear consistent commands, praise, and dog treats to teach your dog the basics.
Basic commands that are particularly useful include:
If your dog is a fan of the zoomies you’d be forgiven for thinking he has all the speed he needs, but don’t be fooled, training your dog to use pace at the right moment and in a controlled way is a whole different thing!
The Flyball event at Crufts is one of the show’s highlights. Fun, fast and exciting, the Flyball competition is a sport in which teams race against each other, jumping hurdles, catching a ball and negotiating obstacles. To compete competitively it takes a lot of training and preparation, not to mention equipment, but elements of it can be a fun family activity at home and a great way to put all your dog’s favourite pastimes into practice.
If you haven’t seen it, it’s brilliant to watch.
Best in Show
The first Crufts Best in Show competition winner was crowned in 1928. Judges look closely at the dog to consider the attributes of the breed. These attributes include weight, shape, coat texture and length, colour and teeth.
Breeders devote their lives to ensuring their dog fits the criteria. Although your dog might not be in the running for the ultimate Crufts prize, you can still help to make sure your family pet is as healthy, happy and as beautiful as can be.
A dog with all the basics, including a good diet, fresh water, a healthy body weight, interaction, exercise and love, tends to be a happy dog, although dogs can enjoy a pooch pamper session too. Grooming, brushing, looking after your dog’s teeth and the occasional bath will have your dog looking its best and ready to impress.
Your dog might not make it to Crufts this year, and that’s just fine; to us, all dogs are perfect - even if the only thing they win is our hearts. Bringing a slice of Crufts to your home is fun but if you do have tickets to attend, make a note of our stand number (Hall 1 -114a) and please do pop by to say hello, we hope you love it just as much as we are sure to.