Before you start for your first dog show there are certain pieces of equipment you will need. One is a strong collar that fits your dog well; either round leather, flat leather, or a chain. Another item you will need is a bench chain.

A bench chain is just what its name implies - used to chain a dog to the bench, snapping onto the ring in the collar and to the ring provided for that purpose on the bench. When fastening the dog to the bench, be sure to leave enough chain so that the dog can lie down but not long enough to allow him to jump off the bench, as he could possibly hang himself.

You will also need a show lead. A show lead is usually much finer than the leads used for walking a dog. Before purchasing a show lead, find out what type is used by the successful exhibitors in your breed. In some breeds the dogs are exhibited on the same chain collar used for benching with a fine leather snap-on lead attached to it.

In some breeds the exhibitors prefer leather one-piece leads. I say leather, but this type one-piece show lead is made up in whalehide, lacing, nylon belting, and many other materials. In the toy breeds some exhibitors use a nylon string, which is no heavier than the lead of a pencil. Terriers are almost always shown on a leather collar and lead.

You will need a sponge, and if you have a liking for the synthetic ones, they will do very nicely. You will want to take along a towel an - old one will do. Your dog will have been bathed before being brought to the show, if he is of a breed that requires bathing, but if he becomes carsick and drools over himself, or if he walks through a puddle and then through dust or dirt, the sponge and towel will help you clean him before taking him into the ring.

If you are sure that you have done every necessary bit of trimming at home perhaps it will not be necessary to carry trimming tools with you. However, a great many people find it advisable to carry with them at least a few trimming tools for those last-minute repairs. A pair of scissors, perhaps a small stripping knife, and any other one or two tools you are fond of for trimming in your breed may come in handy. A comb and brush are necessities, and will be very welcome just before you go into the ring.

A good crate is optional. It may have one or two drawers I which you can transport the above equipment. Your crate should be a wooden one which is well ventilated with holes or openings close to the top in order to let out the heat. I believe the wooden crates are superior to the aluminum ones for show purposes.

The first few times a dog rides to a show in a crate it is wise to line the floor of the crate with newspapers and then tear some newspapers in strips on top of the lining. If the dog gets carsick you can empty all the papers at one time.

The torn strips will help keep the dog clean until you get to your destination. Because of their small size they tend to cover over any moisture or soil. Later on you will probably line the floor of the crate with an old turkish towel. Newspaper has the one disadvantage of leaving smudges on a light-colored dog.

With the above equipment you are ready for your first dog show. Good luck!