Friday, February 7, 2014

Make Your Own Dog Show Survival Kit

Aren't there things you always need at dog shows but have to scrounge around to find, or make do with what you can find?  Inspired by some of the creative "Survival Kits" I've seen on crafty blogs (Teacher survival kits, campus survival kits, cubical survival kits, etc.), I created this Dog Show Survival Kit.  This is packed with stuff that you might have already thought of, maybe have stashed in your car or at the bottom of your bag but I hope this gives you a couple of new ideas AND inspires you to keep them all in one handy, easy to reach place.
Everything shown below fits into this plastic pencil case.  This kit contains things you might find yourself wishing for during a conformation or obedience trial or things that you might find yourself in need of back at the hotel.  It does not include any actual dog equipment like leashes, collars, etc.  I have to HOPE that you would remember that kind of stuff when your destination is a dog show.  These are the things you will probably need at some point but might not always think to pack.

The Paper Stuff
Form- with dog vaccination records, registration numbers, jump heights and titles won for each venue.  Some shows require that you double check the dog's registration number and jump height.  Don't just pretend, actually read and check.  Typos happen.  If you have a memory like mine then you need a cheat sheet for this info. THIS copy is the back-up cheat sheet for when the one you keep in your training bag gets soaked with Pepsi. (not shown)

Post-It Pad and Pen- For when you meet a new friend and need to write down their deets, or take notes on something cool you saw in the vendor area.  Also handy for a quick go-out practice session.  A

The MacGyver Stuff
Rubber Bands- You never know if the show site will have your preferred size so bring your own and never suffer from pinched upper arm flab (this is my issue) or a loose armband (something I have never experienced but have seen happen to those with small frames). B

Zip Ties (and twist ties)- Zip ties are my go-to quick fix for just about everything!  In an emergency, they can fix a crate, a collar, a shoe, your car, just about anything!  Twist ties are their younger cousin, good for holding up signs and bundling things like stray pens or jerky sticks. C

Paperclips- Not as essential as zip ties, but I am a fan of using a paperclip to keep important papers from sinking into the depths of my training bag (I paperclip things directly to the top of the bag). They can also reset your watch and are handy for hanging up ribbons.  They're small so keep a couple around. B

Safety Pins- Extremely important should you pop a button, they can also create a blanket fort for a cage-reactive dog or secure a broken strap/handle on a bag or soft crate. B

The Clean-Up Stuff
Poo Bags-Not only great for picking up poop, making a make-shift trash bag for your garbage and you can stuff your ribbons and camera in one for a rainy dash to the parking area. D

Band-Aids- Might as well extend this to a mini first aid kit if you have the space.  Never know when you'll snag your leg on a sharp object or pick nervously at your fingers until your cuticles start to look like a lava flow. E

Tylenol/Advil- I don't know about you but the cacophony of a show site mixed with the flourescent lighting of an indoor venue give me a huge headache.  Save yourself from retreating to your car and looking like an anti-social hermit, just take an NSAID and enjoy the company of others. E

Gum/Mints- Do NOT go in the ring with gum in your mouth.  But if you forgot to brush or you ate a garlicky lunch, these will be most appreciated by those in the surrounding area. F

Travel Tissue Pack- If it's cold, my nose runs.  If it's really nice out I have allergies and my nose runs.  If I see a really awesome performance or a dog that reminds me of one I've lost, I get teary and my nose runs. G

Hand Sanitizer/Wipes- Ever been to a dog show at a fairgrounds where the bathroom is basically a communal outhouse and instead of paper towels they have one of those weird cloth towel roller things with stains all over it?  SO worse than a port-a-potty! E (these are inside my first aid kit)

The Optional Stuff
Blank Greeting Card- Use this to thank someone who did you a solid like loaning you a leash or you can fake having known it was someone's birthday and they'll be super-jazzed. H

Emergency Poncho- See poo-bag above, it's like a HUGE poo-bag.  For your body. Also can create a floor cover if the venue requires you to tarp under your create or it's wet outside and you want to spectate but didn't bring a chair.  I

Chapstick- If your stand mouth-agape at fantastic OTCH dogs for too long, you will need to replenish the moisture on your lips. J

Sunscreen- Mainly for outdoor trials like agility.  Do not underestimate the sun's power even when it is super cold out! K

Bobby Pins and a Ponytail Holder- If you have long hair, these will help keep your sanity.  (Or just get a drastic haircut like me!)

Sewing Kit-This takes precautions one step further than safety pins.  The tiny scissors can come in handy for things other than sewing.

Small Tube of Super Glue- This can fix things that zip ties and safety pins can't touch.  Things like the end of your dumbbell popping off or the handle coming off your travel mug.

Sharpie-I find that good markers are always in high demand at dog shows.  If you are the person with the Sharpie, you will be an invaluable and beloved person. L

Floss-I like flossing (it can replace cuticle picking when I get nervous) and I HATE having something between my teeth. M

Tide-To-Go Pen- Glob of ketchup on your khakis?  No worries!

Lint Roller- If you still care about the hair.  Or if you've got a young person in showmanship.

Glasses Repair Kit (or spare contact lenses)-  If you wear glasses, you know that the one thing worse than rain on your glasses is breaking your glasses at a really inopportune time.  Like a dog show! Also, a terrible place to lose a contact. N

Mini Flashlight- Hopefully the times you are picking up poop in the dark are few and far between at a dog show, but there will be early morning and maybe a few late nights (Friday night rally trials for example).  Or if you're staying overnight at a hotel, who KNOWS how well lit your patch of grass will be, if you even have a patch of grass!  Don't leave your poop behind because you can't see it!

There you have it!  Did you see something on the list that you'll add to your kit?  Are you going to rush out today and buy a pencil case?  (97 cents at Target!)  Now you tell me, what did I leave out?


  1. OMG! This is just perfect! I've printed it out and am on my way to Target now. I'm forwarding it to all my dog show friends. With your permission, I'd like to reprint it in the German Shepherd Dog Club of North Florida's newsletter (Your genius will be duly credited -- with link.)

    1. So glad you like it, Kelley! By all means share it, I'd appreciate a link back.

  2. Corgi Pants! Such a cool kit. Must needed on long car rides too because you will never know what's going to happen. I just went to Yosemite recently and long story 4 hour trip ended being 15 hrs :( just to arrive to the hotel! AY. Thanks for linking up and reminding all of us to think ahead! See you next week on Thoughtless Thursday!

    1. You make a great point! These are things that would be handy to ALWAYS have in the car!

  3. What a great kit! I don't show my dogs, but I have been a steward at a couple of shows and I can see the value in having a kit like this!! Thanks for joining Barks and Bytes Blog hop!

    1. Wow, you're right! Although, a steward with this kit would probably never get a minute of rest! :)

  4. Thanks so much for linking to the Barks and Bytes hop. Sorry I am a bit late stopping by, but I love your kit and I am going to share! :)

    1. Thanks! No worries, hopeful this isn't a time-sensitive post and it will be useful for a long, long time. :)

  5. Great Article. We do not show but we do take alot of day/weekend trips and this is perfect no matter what you are doing with your dog. Thanks for the great list and I'm off to buy the things our kit is missing.

    1. Awesome! I just got some Shout wipes in the dollar spot ta Target! Also saw cute little LED flashlights, travel packs of tissues, post-it notes and lint rollers!

  6. These kits are great. My neighbor trains show dogs and she was telling me about all the things that she needs when she is at a show. I had no idea how much show dog equipment there was.

    Susan Hirst |