A Beginner’s Guide to NOT being an Assmarmot a.k.a. That time we talked about show etiquette again because some people weren’t paying attention

3 Mar

We here at The Dog Snobs are, despite all outward appearances actually pretty decent people. You can think of us like Emily Post if she swore like a sailor, was covered in dog hair and had a questionable grasp on which fork goes with what (Out-to-in kids. It’s very simple.). So you’ve mastered the basics  now because some little munchkins ruined a few solid weekends we’re gonna go over some of these again.

1) Respect your elders and your betters.

Let's be honest, that's what the rally Q ribbons are...

Iron your Rally Q ribbons, same thing,

Check the pissy attitude at the door. We don’t know who you are. We don’t care who you are. There is always someone out there who knows better than you do. If someone is honestly trying to give you a head’s up on a rule change or can see you’re new and is passing along a bit of helpful advice, sit down and shut up. Whether you end up using that advice is a different story, but it’s only respectful to listen. The person that thinks they know the most about dogs often knows the least.

2) You don’t have to take advice given.

Or have spongey pizza. you know, whatevs.

Or have spongey pizza. you know, whatevs.

Rarely is advice given that doesn’t have a good intention behind it. See the good, thank the person and move on. Occasionally advice is nasty or judgmental or just not the way you would ever consider training something. “I’ll take that into consideration, thank you,” and a quick scurrying away is more than sufficient. Going into detail, arguing or just getting nasty just falls back under Rule 1.

3) Jeans are rarely appropriate. Jean-anything else (Shorts, minis, dresses, vests) are NEVER APPROPRIATE.

All jorts, always.

All jorts, always.

Rule of thumb for any trial is clean and tidy.We really hope that’s your rule in your day to day life, but we aren’t here to judge your pajamas or hoochie club wear. What annoys the hell out of us is inappropriate clothing in trials that clearly have a dress code or an implied level of competition. Yeah, Obedience, we’re looking at you. Dress like you have someone to impress, not like you’re going to hang out at the mall with the other kids.

4) For the love of God read the damn rule book

Performance is surprisingly one place that doesn't help.

Performance is surprisingly one place that doesn’t help.

Know how to hold the leash in obedience? Pro-tip, the other weekend only two entries out of Beginner Novice A did and one was because I threatened to cut off her hands*. It’s free online. At least take a glimpse at the class you’ve paid to be evaluated for. It will only take away a little bit of time from your already inefficient training style.

5) If your dog is an ass, learn to apologize.

The beer will cut the sting a bit.

The beer will cut the sting a bit.

Rude dogs are rude. Owners who ignore the rudeness are assholes. Don’t be an asshole. If your dog is an ass, apologize. It will save us all a lot of DogShowScores stalking and trash talking.

6) Dog Shampoo and a comb cost less than an entry fee. Buy them first.

Not inside the show grounds you are not.

Not inside the show grounds you are not.

Please don’t show up for a trial with a ratty ass dog. Bathe it, brush it, make it look like someone loves it. Show some respect for your dog, the judge and the sport.

7) You did badly, own it.

Accept it and move on.

Accept it and move on.

You had a bad show day. Your dog NQed. You tripped over a rally sign. What you thought your dog would be a natural for they had a humiliatingly bad failure in. Tough titties, kitties. Your performance, your dog’s performance and your collective performance are yours. Own it. “I had a bad weekend. I am disappointed. We’ll try again.” is the refrain of the good dog people, the triers we see out there working hard improving things one bad weekend at a time. The whiners conversely are focusing their problems outward. You can say that other people are mean to their dogs and your dog is too smart for the activity and blah blah blah… but here’s a little tip; No one is impressed by your excuses. No one. Shut up and train it, or just go away. No one wants you here.

It’s really not that hard to show and be courteous or to find courteous people but some days it can be a challenge. Keep on keeping on minions and try to at least be courteous to one another. It’s a chore but we don’t have to mop up blood later.

*We’re friends. It’s okay.

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44 Responses to “A Beginner’s Guide to NOT being an Assmarmot a.k.a. That time we talked about show etiquette again because some people weren’t paying attention”

  1. Katherine @ Crossbones March 3, 2014 at 2:39 am #

    #4! Yes! At my first rally trial I grabbed a Novice A exhibitor’s arm to get her attention and got her to change her dog into my dog’s collar so she wouldn’t enter the ring with hanging tags and NQ on the spot. She had no idea that was a rule. Oi! (It was worth scaring the bejeezus out of her – she qualified!)

  2. Jessica March 3, 2014 at 3:19 am #

    “Shut up and train” may be my new personal mantra.

    • TheDogSnobs March 3, 2014 at 3:28 am #

      Train don’t complain, works well too and is rhyme-y if you’re into that kind of thing.

  3. Diana March 3, 2014 at 3:39 am #

    Once again, love it. I don’t know what a jort is, and I am quite convinced that I do not want to know.

  4. Connie Kaplan March 3, 2014 at 3:49 am #

    Oh please..no jeans are you kidding me? They are dogs and I will continue to train and trial in jeans…

    • Laura, Lance, and Vito March 3, 2014 at 4:09 am #

      I agree! Love the rest, but the dogs are supposed to be judged, not me! I respect the judges by knowing the rules, not holding up the ring, and having an awesome dog 🙂

      • Susan March 3, 2014 at 2:00 pm #

        Actually, obedience is a team sport. You are both being judged. How you present yourself says a lot about what you think of you and yourself as a team

    • TheDogSnobs March 3, 2014 at 4:11 am #

      That’s your choice. There are others that make a neater picture.

    • Lori Martindale March 3, 2014 at 10:59 pm #

      AGREE!!! It’s obedience, not conformation, and jeans (nice looking, non-ratty ones) are PERFECTLY acceptable and have been for years. Pretty sure I got my first UDX wearing a pair.

  5. lisa2812 March 3, 2014 at 4:03 am #

    So I know the dress code for conformation, I know the dress code for agility (get your sporty on), but what on earth is the dress code for Obedience and Rally? The trials I’ve been to (though I haven’t competed yet), most people are wearing jeans.

    • TheDogSnobs March 3, 2014 at 4:27 am #

      The judge has to dress like a grown-up, I’m going to put the effort in to look kinda like one too. Personally putting in a little bit of effort on myself (And I mean like literally just not wearing my work jeans) is going to give the judge a better picture of us as a team. Why wouldn’t you at least try? I wear jeans literally every day working with dogs. They’re practical comfortable and easy for working dogs. Nothing about them says “Showcasing my dog” which is exactly what obedience is. I’m paying for time to show my dog to their best skills. I’m not holding up my end of the deal if I can’t be bothered to wear decent pants.

      Business casual is always a safe bet from podunk to big trials. I have khakis in a variety of colors and polos and sweaters to coordinate. Totally appropriate in the biggest indoor trials.Skirts aren’t done as a general rule but conformation a to b class switches and it happens. Cold nasty weather or outdoor trials, do what you must but the neat the clean rule still applies.

      • Lisa C March 3, 2014 at 7:31 am #

        Thanks for the reply.
        I’m in rural Australia, and most are outside in the elements and involve overnight camping, so perhaps thats why I see so many in jeans here?
        I have been watching Crufts videos and noticed obedience competitors wear nice smart casual outfits.

        I definitely don’t want to offend when we finally start trialing!

    • Jean March 3, 2014 at 4:35 am #

      And I compete in Stock Trials, so yeah, it’s jeans. Sometimes we try to hold Conformation, Obedience, Agility or Rally with said Stock Trial on our hotwired patch of grass at the ranch. Again, it’s jeans. But it, also, isn’t AKC. It’s an ASCA show. PS: All Breeds welcome (except in Conformation)

      • Jerry March 4, 2014 at 3:26 pm #

        Amen to that. All-Breeds and handlers, including “TheDogSnobs” are welcome to come to any ASCA performance trial in nice shoes and non-jeans. That being said, ASCA clubs are not responsible for your dry-cleaning or shoes lost in the mud. Dress up as much as you want, ASCA judges are looking at the dog, not what the handler is wearing.

        In general, the competitors and judges at ASCA trials are very helpful to the new people. If you have a question, just ask. Most of us still remember what it’s like to be a newbie handler with a young dog.

  6. Juli Goodrich March 3, 2014 at 4:19 am #

    Just in time for a major show I’m attending next weekend. I’m just staffing a breed booth, but I will be totally counting assmarmots this year. 😉

  7. Darcy March 3, 2014 at 12:19 pm #

    Love the pie wedge graph…. “Never” and “also never” … Hysterical… This is why I love you at DogSnobs. Jeans are appropriate at a rodeo? Maybe.. Also never… Just sayin

  8. Melissa March 3, 2014 at 1:41 pm #

    What about camouflage? Thought I would get your attention. 🙂 I wear it but I compete in a completely different arena than obedience & conformation – hunt tests so it is not an option.

    I was told once that if I did obedience trials (Novice A), I should wear the same things I train in so I feel comfortable and the dog thinks it is training.

    • northern belle March 16, 2014 at 9:16 pm #

      After this Snobbism, I think I will learn hunt tests instead of obedience. I look better in camo than chinos. In fact, I would not be caught dead in chinos. Give me a pair of dark wash or black jeans.

  9. Vicki Smith March 3, 2014 at 1:55 pm #

    Huh, always thought Obedience and Conformation were the formal side of dog shows and that one was expected to dress up. I’d be embarrassed to wear jeans to one of those venues even if all I was doing was watching. Agility….about anything goes. I wear jeans. My body and Khakis have never been compatible and it will be a Cold Day In Hell before I appear in public in tights and a t-shirt. And never, ever, will I be seen in shoes with toes that look like I belong to an alien race. However, when judges like Blair Kelly and Scott Stock appear in the agility ring wearing white ducks, ties, and navy blazers one does wish that one had made a higher-level fashion choice.

    • Kitten March 6, 2014 at 12:58 am #

      I guess this means I will have to go on a diet if I ever go back into an obedience ring. LOL My old obedience outfits went to the goodwill box awhile ago, and not because I quit training.

      Now that I am formally obese (per Jillian whoeversheis), I consider jeans a dressy step up from my preferred daily wear… loose black stretch pants in the largest size that will stay up.

      Amazing how one’s perspective changes with time. I remember when I wouldn’t be caught dead in anything less that a Kasper or Tahari wool crepe suit and a silk blouse. (I used to show obedience in a wool jacket.)

  10. gvannini March 3, 2014 at 4:52 pm #

    This is fabulous. Of course my sport of choice is agility so jeans are dressing up compared to what some people wear lol, but I always dress business casual for rally and extra nice for conformation (except at show where I’m doing both in which case I kind of dress in the middle… nice pants and nice shirt but no skirt). Number seven is the best. So many people need to understand it. From conformation to earth dog lol

  11. Devora Locke March 3, 2014 at 5:52 pm #

    OMG- People like you make dog sports uptight and stressful. Get a grip, and mind your own damn business. Maybe then we could all have some fun.

    • TheDogSnobs March 3, 2014 at 6:04 pm #

      Yes, we’re minding our business on our blog suspiciously not titled ‘Devora’s blog of her own business.” We’ll have to fix that.

      I’d be stressed too if I let a personal blog make me uptight… though judging by your post that ship had already sailed.

  12. Ken Knudson March 3, 2014 at 6:54 pm #

    I think your rally, trial, obedience, conformation, agility or whatever you call your cute little dog-and-pony (well, dog) shows are ego-stroking wastes of the dog’s time and energy. Having said that, I’d most humbly request, since you already skipped the respect part, that you all at least treat your companion animals humanely.

    • Melanie March 4, 2014 at 12:30 am #

      Seriously? Ego-stroking is exactly what I would call your post. And self-pleasuring on someone else’s Blog? Ewwww.
      Most dogs I meet love nothing more than working with their people- they don’t care about ribbons or points, they are thrilled to show off, use their brains and skills and they celebrate their successes! Granted, there are self-gratifying pompous human asshats in all sports, dog or no- not to mention blog posters.
      And how did you get animals not being treated humanely out of this blog? Sheesh. It is titled Dog Snobs for a reason- dogs rule!

    • Gail F. March 4, 2014 at 12:58 pm #

      Mr. Knudson, My dog has better manners than you do.

    • kenknudson March 4, 2014 at 7:01 pm #

      That was pretty rude and ham-handed, wasn’t it? My apologies.

  13. Dogdayze March 3, 2014 at 7:31 pm #

    You sure do seem obsessed with controlling the behavior of others. Suggest your energy would be better spent focusing inward. You’re not better, you’re not even funny.you’re just an agility troll. So bravo to those who aren’t afraid to say so.

    • TheDogSnobs March 3, 2014 at 8:03 pm #

      1) What is an agility troll?
      2) Wrong.
      3) We don’t know you and we don’t want to. Suggest your energy would be better spent focusing on the reasons you troll popular dog blogs on the internet e.g. Ugly, mama dresses you funny, no friends etc, rather than harassing bloggers who actually do things with their day. 🙂

  14. Laura Carver Lindberg March 4, 2014 at 1:10 am #

    I wear dress slacks and a blouse for obedience classes at my National Specialty. I feel a higher level venue requires dressier clothes. I wear dressy jeans and a nice blouse or sweater (according to weather) for local club trials. Make up on, hair fixed and appropriate jewelry. I save my NEW Sketchers for the trials:>) I feel I am appropriately dressed. Our instructor’s taught you should be ready for a pic and that you represent your club. Worn, faded jeans, t-shirts and hoodies aren’t approriate, but I do see them @ trials. I am headed to my Cardigan National Specialty in April….I will NOT be trialing in jeans :>)

    • TheDogSnobs March 4, 2014 at 3:06 pm #

      We applaud your decision making/ 🙂

    • northern belle March 16, 2014 at 9:11 pm #

      I hope you will be wearing a cardigan. 😉

  15. Beth March 4, 2014 at 6:32 am #

    Always a good read with plenty of head nods and chuckles. Geez responders, don’t take yourselves so seriously! Did you not read #2??

  16. Marsha Dusek March 4, 2014 at 3:00 pm #

    That’s a very unkind attitude towards Beg Novice A people – a class with people totally new to showing their dogs and who need support to keep them growing in the sport instead of disrespect and intolerance.

    • TheDogSnobs March 4, 2014 at 3:08 pm #

      Reading the rules, being polite an entering with a good attitude, being dressed appropriately and having your dog looking nice… What specifically is intolerant of Beginner Novice A? Being new doesn’t excuse you for acting like a d-bag. Learn the deal or get out. It’s very simple.

      • Blackberrypoodles March 4, 2014 at 3:52 pm #

        I have assisted Nov A competitors in the past by pointing out: A. They weren’t walking the course in the right sequence; B. Their dog had dangling tags on it’s collar; C. Your boyfriend shouldn’t throw a ball in the ring when your dog crosses the finish line to reward it (thank goodness the judge didn’t see THAT!) When I was in Novice A and up to and including tomorrow, I appreciate ANYONE with a knowledge pool greater or more diverse than mine (there a many of those, btw) who is willing to take the time to help me and my dog be successful. I have a new dog and am in classes that include people who are entering agility for the first time, and I’m amazed at looking at things through their lens…and remembering how similar it is to how mine was.

      • TheDogSnobs March 4, 2014 at 4:01 pm #

        Exactly. 🙂 Point #1. I’ve been helped ringside numerous times and if I can help someone else I’m happy too. Getting my butt yelled at as someone tells me that they “already know” and they’re “Not stupid” isn’t my idea of fun. Mentors are harder to find for a reason, unfortunately.

  17. Nora March 4, 2014 at 4:24 pm #

    Umm, yeah. I have only shown in Obedience a handful of times, but pretty sure I wore decent-looking jeans when I did. I have a placement photo from Novice A at Sheltie Nationals in which I am wearing jeans and a nice twinset sort of thing. We were showing in a dirt ring (same ring Agility was in the next day) so practical was, well, practical. Even in Agility, the judge, yes, has to look halfway professional, but I don’t as long as I am covered (I often run barefoot because I have greater stability, but judges aren’t allowed to JUDGE barefoot–poor things.)

    Also… there are times to give advice, and times you shouldn’t. In Agility, I would NOT be running up to a competitor about to enter the ring or who has just left it shouting unsolicited advice (unless I knew the competitor really well). MAYBE I would say something to a nervous Novice competitor about a collar or something, but only if they weren’t right about to walk in to the ring. Plus it’s perfectly legal to walk in to the ring with a collar and tags on your dog, or a martingale, or a harness, (in any Agility venue I’ve competed in), as long as you take them off before you run! My dogs run naked, so I go in to the ring with all kinds of technically illegal collars, and I would find it very annoying if someone started shouting at me that I had the wrong collar on the dog while I was standing at the gate trying to remember my course.

    • Nora March 4, 2014 at 5:53 pm #

      P.S. Not too long ago I was walking a tricky Masters Jumpers course, trying to remember the damn thing and keeping in the back of my mind that I would need to run over to the other ring to walk an Open Standard course for my other dog. No fewer than 3 people (none of which knew me well–the ones who KNOW me KNOW about me and shoelaces) told me, while I was walking, that my shoelace was untied. Yes, I knew when I entered the ring that my shoelace was untied–it was the least of my concerns at the moment. Made me resolve to REALLY stop wearing shoes with laces. That I did in fact get lost on that course is immaterial (I probably would have anyway) but my point is that sometimes unsolicited advice IS unnecessary and distracting.

      (And yes, I thanked them for telling me, even #3.)

  18. Laura Carver Lindberg March 4, 2014 at 10:25 pm #

    I actually did Beginner Novice prior to Novice. A good training club will get you up to speed in your class and also via OB run-thrus at the club. Even as a new Beg. Novice exhibitor, I knew the basic do’s and don’ts (no snap collars, how to hold the leash, heeling patterns and class excercies) because our instructors taught them. Newbies are nervous and mistakes will be made, but a good training club turns out “prepared” newbies!

  19. Tara Mullen March 5, 2014 at 3:00 pm #

    YES! YES! YES! I love this. Especially the clothes and the grooming. I do performance and conformation so the switch can be very shocking. If you’re going to devote you time, energy and money into training a dog, can’t you at least brush it? Or send it to the groomer once a year? And at my first show where I only did obedience I thought “I don’t need to dress up.” and I showed in less that beautiful clothes (nothing skimpy but we were camping). But a woman who shows in my breed, that I very much respect, kindly told me off afterwards for not dressing with respect, for my sport, my judges, my dog and myself. I listened and never dressed like that again! Always prepare for a photo.

  20. Crazy Spotted Dog Lady March 5, 2014 at 9:37 pm #

    OK, we know how you feel about obedience in jeans. What you’ve failed to mention is wearing bedazzled and embroidered vests (sometimes denim) with cute puppies and kittens all over it…

  21. Mountain Poodle March 7, 2014 at 10:14 pm #

    I love to see a well turned-out pair in Obedience. I especially love it when the turn-out somehow reflects back on the breed. I’m thinking now about a woman I showed against a couple of times. She worked a beautifully groomed Aussie and she showed in jeans (nice ones with rhinestones on the pockets), a fancy, western-shirt, and polished boots. She looked like she could go show in Western Pleasure after she got done with sits & downs. A long time ago in Novice A, I showed against a guy who was working a Bernese Mountain Dog that pretty much embodied lack-of-drive. The handler took his dog into the ring wearing…. and I’m not making this up…. a fishing vest and a hat that had flies stuck in it. Perfection! Call central casting!

    One thing about clothing that was not mentioned, is that matching your pants to your dog’s coat color can mask subtle imperfections in your dog’s Obedience performance. One of the reasons I’ll never have a white dog is that I would not be caught dead in public in a pair of white pants.

  22. Jen Robinson March 9, 2014 at 9:41 pm #

    Good post. Helps me understand why I don’t like going to dog shows, and hate showing my own dogs.

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