Live Show Etiquette











Without a doubt, the live show is an exciting experience! So many things to think about, so many things to look at and so many people to meet! And you’ve probably planned to attend this show for weeks, perhaps even months, and now the day is finally here! It’s a lot to take in at once, for sure. And though it’s easy to get caught up in the whirl of things, keep your fellow attendees in mind. Remember that the live show network functions best when gracious behavior is the rule. And above all, always remember to have fun!


To be a shower who others appreciate, practicing some courtesies is a good idea:


  • Unpacking at the Show: This is a very hectic time for everyone, and it often seems more of a scramble than anything else. So it’s important to understand that certain behavior can go a long way to encourage a more pleasant atmosphere during this busy time such as:

  • Refrain from socializing or introducing yourself to fellow showers, artists or vendors during this time. Chances are that they’re so busy trying to get their tables set up, that friendly interactions can be distracting. Truly, people need to be busy with the business at hand. Permit people the time and “space” to fully set-up and become relaxed before approaching them. Once they are situated, they’ll be in the proper frame of mind to greet you and socialize. (The same courtesy applies when people are packing up to leave the show as well.)

  • Arrive on time and be ready to go. Never arrive at the hall late and demand everyone wait for you, particularly after the first classes have been called.

  • Critique, Questions and Advice: When we come together and see each other’s models in person, it’s natural to have thoughts and ideas regarding all that we see, positive and negative. It cannot be stated strongly enough that it’s important to keep negative internal musings to yourself; only offer your comments if they are positive and upbeat. Other courteous behavior should be practiced, such as:

    • Refrain from critiquing or criticizing other shower’s models or work, whether exhibited or not. “If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all.” Unsolicited advice or criticism, whether directed to the person or within earshot, is always impolite. Rather, wait for someone to ask you for input first before offering it.

    • When a critique is asked, it should be offered in a polite, productive, thoughtful and courteous manner. And be sure to offer solutions to the problems you point out since it’s insensitive to offer no practical fix for the problems you’ve identified. And always find plenty of positive things to say about someone’s model, too. And absolutely, “know your stuff” with authentic, useful insights before you offer advice.

    • Refrain from mobbing entrants, judges or staff for critique, questions, advice or general help. Rather, wait until they have a free moment and a clear head to be fully able to address your issue. And be sure to ask, “Is now a good time?” before launching into your query. If the time isn’t right, then return to them when they’ve indicated it will be convenient. It’s inappropriate to behave as though your issues are the most important at the time.

  • At your Exhibitor Table: Each entrant is assigned a table as a storage area for showing paraphernalia. The size allotted to you is usually 8x10 feet, but can vary in size depending on the situation of each show hall. You also get to use the space under your table for storage. Although this is your own “personal space” in the show hall, it’s important to remember the following:

    • Endeavor to make your corner of the live show a happy and fun experience for all around you.

    • Introduce yourself to all your neighbors.

    • When at your table, make an effort to create a friendly, approachable demeanor, quick with a smile and introduction. Avoid appearing grim, intimidating or brooding since this will put people off. Yes, showing is exhausting and the day can run long, but a good attitude goes a long way for everyone’s enjoyment.

    • Likewise, don’t be a Dreary Darling. If people ask you how you’re doing, don’t drone on about your troubles or ills. This is a good way to end up alone all day long. Rather, be friendly and upbeat. Truly, a happier attitude somehow always makes things more fun.

    • Help a neighbor with his/her paraphernalia if it appears assistance is needed.

    • It’s OK to put little “Please Do Not Touch” signs on your table, if you wish. Just don’t get carried away over this because you must accept a certain level of risk when you bring your models to a live show.

    • Keep your own stuff in your own space. Avoid running over onto another shower’s exhibitor table or cluttering up his/her side of the aisle. Store items under your table or in your car, if necessary.

    • Keep your table space in mind when you pack your models, so only bring enough models that will fit your space. But if you bring more than can fit, perhaps leave some under your table or even in your car, and rotate them as needed.

    • Keep your table and aisle organized and clean.

    • Avoid placing items on your table that could tumble, spill or fall onto a neighbor’s space and property.

    • Sometimes showers will share an exhibitor table to cut costs. So if you’ve decided to share a table, it’s important to be respectful of your tablemate. If it’ll help, perhaps bring a yardstick, ruler or measuring tape to divide the table equitably.

    • If you’ve brought only a few models, while your neighbor has quite a few, it’s a nice gesture to offer them some of your table space.

    • Do not block an aisle, emergency exit or doorway for any reason. These features need to be kept clear not just for your neighbors’ considerations, but for fire and safety issues, too.

    • Do not hoard all the chairs for your table.

    • Be careful when moving around tables and through aisles, even in your haste, since show halls are often crowded and cramped. Always be mindful of people and property around you. Remember, if you damage something, you may have to pay for it. If you do bump someone's table, offer your apologies and stay a bit to ensure all the models are safe, even if that means being late to the show table.

    • Likewise, when moving around exhibitor and show tables, try to give them a wide berth, to spare your fellow participants undue anxiety.

    • Be alert and attentive to anyone who needs to get passed you or around you.

    • Be careful not to trip people in the aisle.

    • Set up your sales items so as to avoid becoming a bothersome nuisance to your neighbors with bad traffic patterns or crowding.

    • If you have brought snacks and treats for yourself throughout the day, it’s good policy to bring extra to share with your neighbors. And it’s always a nice gesture to have a bowl of treats on your table for people to enjoy, like candy, nuts or cookies.

  • For the Classes: Trying to keep up with your classes is a challenge, putting it mildly! Which means your strategies should be well planned in advance to minimize crisis. But whether or not things are running smoothly for you, never forget the following:

    • Always be helpful to your fellow showers, particularly newbies.

    • Be realistic with your entries and avoid “doing it all” (newbies are advised to bring only ten to fifteen models to their first show). Indeed, it’s a mistake to bring the maximum number of entries allowed by the show because it usually ends up in a detrimental frenzy with these unfortunate consequences:

      • You’ll only stress yourself out.

      • You’ll contribute to a delayed show, as classes have to be held up for you.

      • You’ll miss out on all the admiring and learning that’s such a unique opportunity at a live show.

      • You’ll miss out on the best thing a live show has to offer -- fun and camaraderie!

    • If a show requires show tags to identify entries in the ring, be sure to have all your entries accurately pre-tagged the night before. Do not hold up classes because your entries aren’t tagged, or tagged incorrectly. Also, it’s best to attach the tags on the furthest back hindleg, looped around the pastern, with the required identification facing upwards, so the judge can easily record the placing. However, do not allow the side of the tag with your name to face up for the judge to see. Judges do not like this because it leaves them open to accusations of bias.

    • Pay attention to the announcer for your classes. It’s inappropriate to hold up the show or continually ask the host, announcer, judge or a neighbor about classes because you weren’t attentive.

    • Pay particular attention to your entries in simultaneous classes, and be sure to put each entry onto the correct show table.

    • Pay keen attention to callbacks so you don’t delay the show. And accept that if you miss the callback, your entry misses out on a championship award. (Callbacks are when the first and second placers of each class are called back to the show table to award championships.)

    • Be responsible and courteous in getting your entry to the show table, walking calmly and carefully. Do not bully your way to the show table for any reason.

    • A Handy Tip: It’s a very good idea to create your own class list and bring it to the show. This list should have the names, numbers and entered classes for each of your entries, along with a blank space for each for notations on placings or championship qualifications. This way, when callbacks occur, you’ll have the correct information at your fingertips and not delay the show or put the wrong entry in the callback. Also, over time, these lists offer solid data on which entries are your best showers and which aren’t.

  • For the Show Table: Being around the show table demands great care and thoughtfulness because it holds people’s cherished models and expensive property. At all times, please practice these courtesies:

    • If possible, it’s polite to place your entry at least eight inches from the others to allow each one to have the appropriate space required for a fair evaluation.

    • In a large class, models can become crowded and bunched up on the limited space of the show table. If the host is unable to split the class or move part of the class onto another table, it’s a nice gesture to move your models in such a way as to accommodate other entries. And perhaps everyone can work together to organize his/her own models along rows or in other layouts that would best accommodate the cramped situation.

    • Do not bully a spot on the show table for your entry. Conversely, it’s a nice gesture to suggest better spots on the show table to fellow showers if you believe the lighting or orientation would better flatter their entries.

    • Likewise, take great pains to be careful around the show table, at all times. Do not bump or jostle it.

    • When placing your entry onto the show table, be careful not to bump or knock over any entries as you put it down. Be careful with dangling jewelry that can inadvertently cause a tumble, such as long necklaces or large bracelets.

    • If your entry is unstable or breakable, such as a ceramic model, you can lay it down, showing off its “glamour side”, on a piece of soft, cushioned material. But stay close to the show table while your entry is being judged since the judge may ask you to pick up the model to reveal the other side to make an accurate assessment of it. Do not talk or comment while doing this and leave promptly once you’re done.

    • Do not block or obscure another entry on the show table, such as putting your entry in front of another’s. Not only does this makes it difficult for the judge to see the other shower’s entry, but it’s also considered rude.

    • Keep your entries grouped nicely together with the rest of the entries on the show table. Be considerate of the judge and do not place your model on the show table far from the rest of the entries, such as at the far end of the table or on the other side.

  • Do not take an inordinate amount of time preparing your model for the class. This includes tacking up, adjusting tack, dusting, combing or preparing any facet of your entry. This delays the show and is discourteous to fellow attendees. Indeed, twenty minutes is far too long for such things, and indicates better planning and preparation for each class is required.

  • It’s important that a shower provide documentation for odd or unfamiliar colors, breed variations, and tack or performance set-ups. Please do not expect or assume a judge or host to know everything! In fact, it is not the judge’s responsibility to figure out what you are entering. Judges expect documentation when it’s needed. Plus, it will speak kindly of your entry if you demonstrate that you’ve taken the time to verify it. And this documentation should be no more than one side of an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper to lay beside or under your entry, unobstructed. Do not place an entire book, binder, folder or presentation on the table for documentation.

  • Do not show the same model in more than one breed class, especially when the rules require otherwise.

  • Any helpers should not get in the way of fellow showers, judges, the host and staff.

  • Do not physically get in the way of the judge while he/she is judging; a judge should never have to ask you to move out of the way.

  • Do not talk to the judges while they are judging. Likewise, do not engage in conversation around a show table while it’s being judge since this can be distracting.

  • Only remove your entry from the show table when the judge has laid down the awards and indicated showers may then pick up their entries.

  • Do not forget about your model and leave it on the show table after the class has been cleared for the next one because this delays the show.

  • If you have a question about the class placings, ask the judge calmly, respectfully and politely at the appropriate time. Be sure to thank the judge, too, for the information. And, above all, regard it as a learning opportunity, not as an opportunity to belittle or attack.

Other Courtesies: It’s important to practice these additional considerations as well:


  • Always be gracious, polite and friendly and exhibit good sportsmanship.

  • Do not drink alcoholic beverages during the show and do not smoke in the buildings or outside around doors that would allow smoke to waft inside.

  • Do not ever take, touch or pick up another person’s model or property without permission, even if you know the owner or if the model is for sale or if the model is presumed unbreakable. This is The Golden Rule that must be practiced by everyone, at all times, to include children of all ages. And remember, if you damage the model, you’ll have to pay for it, and since most models are irreplaceable, you’ll also make the owner very angry. No fun.

  • Do not ask strangers or survey the Internet for answers to your questions about a show because, more often than not, you’ll get incorrect information that can complicate matters unnecessarily. Rather, contact the host directly for answers.

  • Send in your entry packets to the show early and do not wait until the last minute, especially if you’re a newbie.

  • Do not assume the show hall will be climate controlled. Instead, contact the host in advance for this information and plan accordingly.

  • Keep in mind that the host is usually so busy at the show, he/she may not be able to easily or immediately answer your questions as they arise. So it’s best to anticipate questions and present them to the host prior to the show.

  • Never carry bulky backpacks, purses, boxes, etc. without being especially careful with them. Many a model has been damaged from a thoughtless smack from such items.

  • Always walk in the show hall. Do not run in the show hall, ever, even if you are about to miss a class.

  • Never monopolize anything, such as prize tables, the attentions of the host, judges or staff, a showring, etc.

  • Help those who look lost, seem to have a question, are alone and need help carrying items or need someone to watch over property while they attend to a necessary task.

  • Always offer sincere, happy congratulations to those who placed well in the class, even if you didn’t. Really, it’s an exciting experience to do well, and that should always be highlighted with support.

  • Remember that no show is perfect. Honestly, there will be glitches and setbacks no matter how well run a show is. Yes, there is the occasional poorly run show, too, but the truth is that everyone is trying to make the best of things even though the best-laid plans can go awry. So always be gracious, tolerant and understanding rather than acting like a demanding, self-righteous or angry victim. Actually, if there are any problems, it’s a beautiful idea to offer your help to iron them out.

  • Cameras: Refrain from taking photos of models on an exhibitor’s table without asking permission first because this is a shower’s “personal space”, making it impolite to simply start snapping photos. However, it’s generally alright to take photographs of the entries on the show table under these conditions.

    • When they aren’t being judged

    • When set-up is over

    • When you stand far back enough to avoid bumping the table

    • When you do not hold up judging with your photography

    • Avoid pointing your camera at people without permission, since many people are quite camera shy

  • If you start to feel overwhelmed or stressed out, please, step outside for a moment for some fresh air or “down time”. This will put you back into a happy state of mind, which benefits you and those around you.

  • It’s inappropriate for showers to share the same models for different divisions. For example, you showing a model in Open and your companion showing the same model in Novice or Youth. For the same reason, try to refrain from having someone else do most of your class preparations or provide you with needed paraphernalia. It’s important that you do the work, with your own models and stuff, because our community values individual efforts, so to do otherwise engenders ill will. No ribbon is worth this.

  • Bring your own show supplies and refrain from depending on others (though it’s a good idea to bring extra items, just in case). Such supplies are:

  • Bring your own show supplies and refrain from depending on others (though it’s a good idea to bring extra items, just in case). Such supplies are:

  • A pen, tape and paper, for record keeping, taking peoples names and contact information and for any required checklists or notes.

  • Bring extra nametags since they tend to get mangled throughout the day.

  • A tablecloth for your exhibitor table since many tables are rough, sticky or dirty.

  • A tablecloth for your exhibitor table since many tables are rough, sticky or dirty.

  • A clean soft cosmetic brush and clean soft cloth for dusting your entries. Dirty entries can be penalized.

  • A repair kit containing such items as Super Glue, touch-up paint and small brushes.

  • If you have haired models, bring scissors, hair mousse or gel and a toothbrush. It’s also a good idea to bring some appropriate glue and extra hair in case you need to repair any damage at the last minute. Hair that’s frizzy, messy and ungroomed, or with glue infused throughout, can be penalized.

  • Extra show tags because you may need to replace a damaged or lost tag or perhaps you may want to show that new model you just purchased at the show.

  • Index cards in case you need to write down documentation or explanation for your entry.

  • For performance showing, you’ll need tweezers, sticky wax and small cosmetic scissors for dealing with the tiny bits of tack and props.

  • Always thank the host, staff, volunteers and the judges before leaving. They worked hard for you and it’s good to acknowledge them for it. And say a pleasant good-bye to newly found friends and table neighbors, too.

  • Send a Thank You note or email one to the host after the show. And it’s a nice gesture to do the same for the judges you showed under, too.

  • And absolutely never forget why you’re at the show in the first place -- to have fun! Truly, the reason for going should be camaraderie, learning, admiring and having a great time. So if fun isn’t a primary reason, then perhaps it’s time to reevaluate your priorities for attending. Really, do not ever treat a live show as a “life or death” situation, or behave in ways that distract from the real purpose of attending. There is no ribbon, trophy or accomplishment worth a rotten time, for you or anyone else.


A judging assignment is hard work because judges are on their feet most of the day and having to make some tough choices. It’s also important to understand that judges have to work against the clock, since shows that run too long are undesirable. So please remember that judges are often very focused on their task at hand and trying to do their best for you, so don’t interpret that as being aloof, impatient or dismissive. Also take into account that a judge can act more reserved to foster a professional distance, which encourages proper decorum and courtesy.


A bit of advice -- it’s very important to research judges and choose which show you attend based on who was hired to judge your classes. The truth is that judging alone can “make or break” the experience for you, so it’s important to identify those judges who suit your sensibilities best, and then patronize those shows that hire them.


Some identifying behaviors of a good judge are:

  • Is deeply knowledgeable of the information required to place the entries credibly, being fluent in authentic, factual information and adept in the application of this knowledge.

  • Arrives early at the show hall, is ready to judge, and is fully aware of the division(s) he/she must judge.

  • Is professional, friendly, calm, confident and courteous.

  • Is groomed and dressed in attire befitting the position.

  • Is clear-headed and doesn’t exhibit behavior that would cause someone to doubt his/her ability to carry out the job responsibly.

  • Will not serve as a judge if he/she isn’t knowledgeable enough to be qualified. The post is an important one, and inadequacies quickly become obvious -- and word gets around fast! So it’s good policy that if you’re interested in judging, but have incomplete knowledge of the requirements of an assignment, research them before accepting the post. Also, it may be possible for judges-intraining to “shadow” an experienced judge as a learning opportunity, so ask the host and judge for permission beforehand.

  • Does not accept assignments to divisions he/she doesn’t believe he/she is qualified to judge. A good judge will also speak up to the host if an inappropriate assignment has been made before the show, so the host can make the corrections in time to advertise them.

  • Will not coerce, influence, chide, belittle, pressure or otherwise demean another judge’s decisions, during or after the placings have been made. A good judge absolutely minds his/her business and shows respect for fellow judges. Bad judges who do not practice this should be reported to the host immediately.

  • Will not pre-judge any class. This includes not standing around and watching the entries and showers coming up to the table and mentally pre-deciding who will win.

  • Will not make a scene over an entry believed to be a “nightmare” for any reason. This includes no pointing, giggling or other catty behavior over any entry.

  • Won’t pin classes based only on personal tastes or whims. A good judge makes placings based on authentic educated facts to form an opinion of accuracy and correctness, not based on which one is “prettiest”, most expensive, who did the piece or tack, who has the biggest set-up, etc.

  • Won’t place a class based on politics or fear-driven decisions.

  • Will not disregard an entry because the particulars are unfamiliar or personally believed to be “unfashionable” or “unappealing”, relating to such things as breed, expression, color (such as unusual coloration, “plain” or “wild” coloration), phenotype (rare or otherwise), styles of grooming (or lack thereof), style of the tack, etc.

  • Can admit that he/she may not know something and seek to look it up in the on-hand reference materials before making the placings. Truly, it’s far better to know factual details before pinning a class.

  • Is predictable and consistent, always basing placings on criteria the judge is known to favor. It’s inappropriate to “bait and switch” criteria because showers often tailor their entries according to the known factors a judge uses to make placings. This consistency should also apply through the years. However, it’s important to consider a judge’s learning curve, so be sure not to confuse changed criteria based on new data (good) with new criteria based on frivolous whim (bad).

  • Is objective and discerning with each entry, inspecting each with the same level of care and concern, even if the judge already suspects the entry to be incorrect. The truth is that it’s important to really inspect each entry, particularly in Custom and Artist Resin divisions, since corrections may have been made that are only evident upon close inspection. So a good judge remembers that each shower has paid an entry fee and deserves an equal and fair evaluation, at all times.

  • Is neutral and waits for the entry to prove itself based on workmanship or the accuracy of the set-up, and doesn’t automatically become biased towards molds, colors, breeds, genders, artistic styles, set-ups, tack, etc. In short, a good judge does not automatically “play favorites”.

  • Stays focused on the task at hand, directing all energies towards getting the job done in a timely fashion to help the show end on time. It’s inappropriate for a judge to be spending an inordinate amount time doing anything else other than judging (except for necessary lunch or bathroom breaks), such as simultaneously showing in another division, socializing or making preparations, such as packing up to leave.

  • Takes care of personal matters, such as breakfast, grooming, getting to the hall and making phone calls, before or after the show. In short, a good judge realizes that his/her primary job is to judge, and shows respect for the showers’ time.

  • Never ignores or avoids questions when asked at an appropriate time.

  • Never behaves in a patronizing or belittling manner.

  • Does not behave in a way that indicates to showers that he/she would rather being doing something else. For example, does not complain about an aching back or sore feet or grouse about being “stuck judging” that day.

  • Is able to explain placings with clear, precise and reasonable information, based on fact rather than whim. For instance, "I liked it" or "It screamed at me" are not acceptable reasons for choosing a winner. However, in the rare case of a tiebreaker, such criteria can be appropriate. Likewise, "I wasn't sure if that neck ‘thingy’ is legal or not" is not an acceptable reason for not placing a model either.

  • Never becomes defensive, flustered, indignant or aggressive about having to explain placings.

  • Will stick to the facts and not offer colorful, thoughtless or hurtful remarks and will never insult or demean anyone’s models or abilities, particularly when explaining a placing, which is essentially critiquing someone's entry.

  • Will always act in a cool, polite and professional manner, always “taking the high road” even if a person or situation gets unpleasant.

©2005 S.Minkiewicz-Breunig


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LSQ Guidelines by Sarah Minkiewicz-Breunig

Musetta Resin