We're pinning a blue ribbon on the Houston World Series of Dog Shows. There's so much for humans to see and explore: a creative grooming contest where a dog can be transformed into a lion, the canine Frisbee™ exhibition, the dancing dogs, and designer doghouses created by local architects and craftsmen.
But what's in it for Fido? It turns out quite a lot, including the very popular AKC's My Dog Can Do That, a beginner agility exercise that's open to all dogs who attend the show, even mixed breeds and rescues.
Not all dogs are necessarily interested in competitive sports, but My Dog Can Do That is a quick and easy way to test their interest. "Some dogs really take to it. Others not so much," says Tom Pincus, chair of the Houston World Series of Dog Shows. "The types of obstacles we’ll have are seesaws, weave poles, jumps. Weave poles are basically poles that are sticking vertically and the dog is supposed to weave through them.
"There are certain breeds of dogs, border collie for example, that really need to do something rather than just sit around the house. For people who own that type of dog, they can [go on to] meet other dog owners, keep the dog active and interested. We can point them in the right direction; there are several training clubs around town."
If dogs who visit the Houston World Series of Dog Shows show interest, then they and their owners can later explore training options in Houston to see if they have an aptitude for not just agility, but other sorts of American Kennel Club competitions: obedience, rally, tracking, scent work, herding, earthdog tests, lure coursing, field events and coonhound events.
The grooming programs also are expanded at this year's Houston World Series of Dog Shows. Don't worry, the creative dog grooming contest is still on Sunday afternoon, but visitors will also find breed standard grooming (poodle coats, terrier coats, drop coats) on Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Hall A.
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What also sets this dog show apart from the pack is its dedication to local rescue groups. "I think we’re the only dog show in the country that invites rescue clubs to participate with us with the expectation that they’ll be able to find homes for the dogs," says Pincus. "I’ve been all over the country and I’ve never seen it. Our hope is that all of these rescue clubs can adopt out their entire stock."
If you're not quite sure which dog is right for your home, don't miss Meet the Breeds in Hall C on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, where folks familiar with the different dog breeds will describe the joys and challenges. But don't leave the show without a quick shopping trip through McScotty Market; it's always amazing to see all the products that make your life, and that of your dog, just a bit nicer.
The Houston World Series of Dog Shows is scheduled for 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., July 18-22, NRG Center, One NRG Park, 281-536-0528, houstondogshows.com, free on Wednesday, $5 to $10 on Thursday, $10 to $15 on Friday and Saturday, free for children 12 and under.