Show Etiquette

Planning on attending our dog shows? Great! We'd love to have you.

Here are some simple guidelines to help you better enjoy the show.

Show time - begins at 8:00 am. Best in Show generally begins around 2:00 pm.

There are 3 separate trial days for Agility, Obedience, and Rally (Friday, Saturday and Sunday).

  • Agility is in the Lyttle Cow Palace.
  • Obedience is in the Garrett Building.
  • Rally is in the E. C. Kraft Building.

    There are 2 separate shows for Conformation (Saturday and Sunday).

    • Dachshunds (Longhaired), Dachshunds (Smooth), Dachshunds (Wirehaired), Terrier Breeds, Toy Breeds, Non-Sporting Breeds (except Dalmatians) will be judged in the Finley Hall Building.
    • All other breeds are judged in the Carnival lot.

    Your Pet dog - Please do not bring your pet dog to the show. AKC rules prohibit any dog on the show grounds that is not entered into the show.  The only exception to this is a special promotion that has been advertised at the dog show that invites you to bring your dog to a certain location at the show for a specific purpose such as a Canine Good Citizen test or a clinic. Retractable leads are NOT permitted.

    Entry gate - Please enter through the Brookwood Avenue main gate to the show.

    • Do not follow dogs too closely through the gate. Give dogs, and their handlers plenty of room to go through first.
    • Please do not block the gate entrance if you are waiting on family members and friends. Enter through the gate and wait off to the side.

    Children – Children should be accompanied by an adult at all times.

    • Please do not allow your children to run or be excessively loud around the dogs. Dogs can startle easily.
    • Be mindful of your children in strollers. Stroller height is close to dog face height for most breeds. So please be mindful of how close your stroller is to any dog.

    Show Info – Wear very comfortable shoes (there will be lots of walking involved) and dress appropriately for the weather.

    • Plan to be at the show early. Most judging is in the morning. Best In Show is in the early afternoon. Once each breed has been judged, those dogs are allowed to leave; if you arrive later, you will miss seeing them. But you may still see a representative of your breed in the Best In Show judging.
    • Want to know the time and ring number your breed is showing? Go to and look or you can pick up a judging program from MBF’s table or a show catalog from Mensona Kennel Club’s table or the table at the Brookwood entrance.
    • Check out Mensona Kennel Club’s table for educational material and to just talk dogs with members.
    • Please be mindful of where you are walking, there are dog feet, dog tails and maybe a doggie accident you’ll want to avoid.

    Cell phones – Please put cell phones on vibrate, especially if you are at ring side.

    Outside Show rings – Please do not enter empty rings. They are set up for the show and for professional photographers.

    • Please do not touch the ring baby gates and stanchions. They will fall over.
    • Please stay clear of the Ring entrance (where dogs and their handlers are entering and exiting the rings). Watch the show from the outer sides of the ring.
    • Talking to exhibitors and handlers outside the ring is not the best place to approach them to talk about their breed. Exhibitors/handlers are focused on getting themselves and their dogs ready to enter the ring and won’t appreciate being interrupted.
    • Please do not talk to the exhibitors when they are in the ring showing. Exhibitors need to be mindful of a judge’s instructions so please do not distract them.

    Distractions ringside – please no food or loud noises ringside. They can distract the dog, handler, or even the judge.  Since each dog is limited in the amount of time they have to show, please be mindful of any distraction type activities.

    Clapping – is allowed and encouraged! Support your favorite dog by clapping.

    Inside show rings – all the same rules apply as the outside show rings. In addition, when taking pictures of the dogs, DO NOT use a flash.

    Crated dogs and dogs in x-pens – please do not put fingers or hands into a crate or X-pen to pet dogs.

    Petting dogs – Please ask permission before attempting to pet any dogs. Follow the Guidelines How to Approach a Dog.

    Vendors – please support our vendors! They have plenty of things that your dog is going to love.

    How To Approach A Dog

    Remember these steps when meeting and greeting a dog:

    • Always walk slowly and quietly to the dog’s owner to ask if you can pet the dog.
    • If the owner says “yes,” curl your hand into a closed fist with the back of your hand facing upward. Extend your hand slowly to the dog.
    • Allow the dog to sniff the back of your hand. We recognize people on sight; dogs recognize people by scent. Dogs sniff people to learn their scent.
    • After the dog has sniffed your hand and has become familiar with you, pet it gently under the chin or on the chest.
    • Respect a dog's space. Do not stick your face into a dogs face or poke or prod at a dog with your hands; this may make a dog feel afraid.

    If the dog is about to go into the show ring, wait to pet the dog.

    Often people have spent hours grooming their dogs.  Other dogs early in their exposure to shows may be nervous at shows or may not yet be used to crowds or children. And, some dogs grab for what they may interpret as treats or they might have finicky stomachs. Once a dog has been shown exhibitors/owners are usually happy to have the dog receive some additional petting, especially if they are adding to the dog’s socialization.