The Best Advice I Ever Got

At this year’s National Specialty, I asked exhibitors old and new to tell me, in a single sentence, the most valuable tip they had ever received—the thing that someone had told them or shared that really stuck in their mind. Here are some of the answers, which might inspire those in Shih Tzu or other breeds as they try to mentor and inspire newcomers.

  • Look at the whole picture.
  • Have fun!
  • Be a good sport—always congratulate the winners and be kind.
  • Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.
  • They don’t walk on their mouths.
  • Don’t give up.
  • Remember that you have a different judge every day.
  • Train before you go into the ring, to make sure that dog is going to do what you want it to do.
  • Balance, balance, balance—moving and standing.
  • Your first impression is usually the best.
  • Breed to the older dog first.
  • Find the right products for your dog’s coat and learn how to use them.
  • Good sportsmanship is essential.
  • A good mentor willing to share makes all the difference.
  • Remember that you always go home with the best dog!
  • Rinse thoroughly.
  • Brush daily.
  • Don’t flip your wrist or dig—brush straight.
  • Act like you know what you are doing—chin up, back straight, long strides.
  • You can’t groom or show as well as a handler, so you have to breed a better dog.
  • Start with the best.
  • Just be calm and smile.
  • Don’t take anything too seriously—it’s just a dog show.
  • The judges put their pants on just like you do—they’re just people.
  • Concentrate on the advantages of your dog and ignore the faults; your real competition is yourself and your dog.
  • Only show your best.
  • Relax and have fun!!!

  • And everyone really did have fun at this year’s National. Plan to join us next year in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We’re going to Flamingle!!!

    Jo Ann White
    American Shih Tzu Club

    CREDIT: Reprinted with permission from the June 2018 AKC Gazette