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A Glimpse Behind The Scenes Of The National Dog Show Exposes A Side The Public Rarely Sees

As you glance over at your mutt lounging on your couch after destroying your favorite pair of shoes, it may be hard to understand the world of show dogs. These athletic, perfectly trained, and incredibly elegant dogs aren't your typical family pooches. They're in a league of their own. These show dogs don't pop up by accident, either. When it comes to claiming dog show gold, handlers and owners will do anything to get to the top — and that makes for some backstage moments that would leave the public scratching their heads, if they only knew. Sit, stay, and enjoy these little-known behind-the-scenes facts about dog shows.

The dogs use treadmills

Have you ever wondered how the dogs manage to look so elegant when strutting around the floor? Well, dog handlers and trainers set up little treadmills made specifically for pooches in order to teach them the perfect stride. The treadmill helps them maintain the right pace that will have them padding to perfection in the winner's circle come showtime.

They have a strange use for soup cans

The stance of each canine is crucial in shows. In the past, trainers would teach the dogs to stand on soup cans a certain length apart. The idea is simple — just set the cans the required distance apart, and get your pup to step on up. That second part may be trickier to achieve, but the payoff is one sharp stance. Nowadays, many use wooden blocks or other markers to teach them where to stand.

The handlers have nifty grooming tricks

The grooming stations are essential to the backstage area at any dog show. Many groomers use weird hacks to keep the puppies' coats fresh, like using dryer sheets or even chalk to maintain smooth fur. According to the experts at the American Kennel Club, it's essential that white dogs' fur is handled with care. Apparently, West Highland White Terrier's fur is especially susceptible to colored shampoos. Yup, go for a clear product if you want to avoid them coming out of their wash stained purple!

Best in Show doesn't have the best prize

It may surprise you to learn that the winner of Best in Show doesn't actually win any money. The prize is pride, and pride alone. For those in the dog show world, the idea of being a champion is more than enough — no massive paycheck is necessary.