Columbia dog owners prepare for American Kennel Club show

Friday, March 7, 2014 | 10:21 a.m. CST; updated 3:48 p.m. CST, Friday, March 7, 2014

COLUMBIA — Several members of the Columbia Kennel Club will be participating in the American Kennel Club All Breed Dog Show on Saturday and Sunday at the Central Missouri Events Center, formerly the Boone County Fairgrounds.

If you go

What: Columbia Kennel Club Dog Show

Where: Multipurpose room of the Central Missouri Events Center, formerly the Boone County Fairgrounds, 5212 N. Oakland Gravel Road

When: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Cost: Admission is $2; children 12 and under are free.

Grace Freeman, a sophomore at Christian Fellowship School in Columbia, competes in conformation with her standard schnauzer, Jonesy. Conformation events evaluate the breeding stock of the dog based on its grooming and physique.

“I just got instantly attracted to this, and I read all of these books on how I can get better,” Freeman said.

Last year, Freeman's dog placed in the top 10, earning enough overall points to attend the Westminster Dog Show despite having attended relatively few shows.

“Grooming with my breed, the standard schnauzer, is kind of a lot before the show, compared to other breeds,” Freeman said.

She said conformation takes a well-groomed dog; however, it also takes an obedient and well-trained dog.

Dog owner Nancy Ripperger shows her border collies in obedience competitions. She starts basic training with her dogs as young as eight weeks old.

“Teaching them how to sit, down, heeling. Heeling takes a long time,” Ripperger said.

Dog training not only starts at a young age, but it is also important to keep training almost every day.

“I train at least six times a week," Ripperger said. "Most of the times they are real short. We might train four or five sessions a day, but they will only be about five minutes a piece."

Supervising editor is Brian Kratzer.

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