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Creative FAQs

Individual and the IJA Groom Bowl Teams

Option 1 and Option 2

1. What is the difference between In the Ring and Out of the Ring?

In the ring means the competitor must complete at least 50% of the overall design, color, and decorations during the competition. Out of the Ring, also referred to as Creative Runway with IJA in Spring 2016 shows, means the competitor completes 100% of the creative design, color, and decorations out of the ring and presents the dog completely finished for the judges to evaluate.


2. What is the difference between Option 1 and Option 2?

Option 1 you create a design, add color and decorative objects to your competition dog. 3 Judging Criteria Only (Create, Design, Decorative) Option 2 you create a backdrop, add costumes, and conduct a skit, read a poem, or sing a song. 5 Judging Criteria  ( Create, Design, Decorative Staging, and Performing) If I choose Option 2, how much time is awarded to my presentation? IJA allows a 5 - 7 minute maximum on all Option 2 Creative competition classes - both in and out of the ring.


3. Can I register to compete in Pure Breed, Free Style, Or Rescue Competitions on the same day as I compete in Creative Competitions?

You can only compete in the Out of Ring Creative Competition. You can have someone present your rescue, pure breed, or freestyle competition or have someone present your Out of Ring Creative Competition Dog.


Competition Dog

1. Do I have to provide my own dog for creative?

Yes, you will have to provide your own competition dog for domestic shows. *For international shows, you can take your own dog or "rent" a dog. Show promoters contact breeders or individuals who furnish dogs for competitors. The rental fee various per show. Renting a dog for creative competitions can be very difficult due to the coloring and the unique design. Plans must be made months in advance to secure a competition dog for creative competitions.


2. If I rent a dog how can I determine the quality of the dog?

Dogs are evaluated and maintained by the Contest Dog Rental Agency. The rental agency places dogs in pet and show quality categories. Many Contest Dog Rental Agencies furnish pictures of dogs for you to review before securing the dog.


3. How do I receive my competition dog? When do I turn my dog back over to the rental agency?

Dogs are transferred to the competition location by the Contest Dog Rental Agency the day before the competitions. Competitors may or may not be responsible for the care of their rental dogs during the competition. Dogs may or may not be permitted in the show hotel rooms. A holding facility may be available. Competitors also have the option to stay at a dog-friendly hotel. To find out about holding facilities check your show promoter info about the show

4. Are there restrictions on the type of design?

No restriction. You can create any type of design. To find out more reference judging considerations for creative designs in creative competitions. However, it is important to always check the IJA Safety Data Sheets for the products that can be used in the ring.


5. Can I add ribbons and bows and color on my competition dog?

Yes, ribbons, bows, and color are allowed in Creative Styling Classes. Review the Coloring Safety Data Sheets to find more about the coloring reference judging considerations and safety data sheet on decorative objects and coat coloring.



1. Prepping, bathing, and drying areas are furnished by the show promoter and are typically in the same facility. Salons near the competition may also be available. Information on prepping, bathing, and drying areas are included in the show promoter info about the show and posted on the daily competition schedules. Creative dogs can be bathed in the facility if deemed necessary,  but coloring is not allowed. N/A for Out Of Ring Competition Dogs


2.  When can I use the bathing area?

Competitors may be assigned a time frame to bathe their dogs prior to competition start time or the facility may be open and competitors can pick and choose the time. The time frames are always posted on the show promoter info about the show. N/A for Out Of Ring Competition Dogs


3. Do I have to bring my bathing supplies?

A wide selection of shampoos, conditioners, dematting products, finishing sprays, cologne, ear cleaner, ear powder, and more are typically furnished. Biogroom is the IJA platinum sponsor and official sponsor for IJA Rescue Me Shows in the USA. For Pure Breed, Free Style, and Creative Competitions, competitors can choose to bring their own products.


Grooming Tables

1. Will there be grooming tables at the competition? Do I have to bring my own?

Grooming tables may or may not be furnished. To confirm is tables, posts, and clamps are furnished check show promoter info about the show. If tables are not furnished, take a clean, well maintained, state of the art, grooming table. If tables are furnished, protect tables with table cloth or plastic. Do not stain tables. 


Grooming Supplies

1. What are the competitors required to bring to the event?

Bring your full tool kit to make sure you have all the tricks of the trade to make your dog look the best. Bring your clippers, scissors, combs, brushes, and toenail clippers. Be prepared but don't overpack. Too much clutter will make your station look messy. Take the time before the competition to clean, organize, and replace broken tools and equipment. Create the ultimate in your overall professionalism. Bring a SAFETY  LOOP and a SAFETY LEAD. You must have your dog under control at all times during the competition.

Grooming Attire

1. What should I wear for the competition? Should I wear a grooming smock?

Professional attire and you looking "bathed - groomed - styled" is a must for the competitor in the competition arena to create the ultimate in professionalism. You are the superstars and this is your time to shine. Also...don't forget to show your passions and compassion to the audience as well as your skills!


Contest Ring Assistant

1. Can I bring an assistant to help hold the dog?

IJA offers a special opportunity for bathers, groomers, stylists, and grooming school students to participate as a contest buddy. Contest buddies have a very important role at the show. They help competitors to help make competition dogs feel at ease. If you know of anyone who would like to register with IJA as a contest buddy, please ask them to fill out the member's profile application. They will be listed on our site.


Arrival and Departure Time

1. When should I arrive and check-in?

Competitors should arrive at least 15 minutes before check-in time to gather tools and to introduce the competition dog to the new environment. Check-in times will be posted in show promoter info about the show. All competitions are over when Best in Show is awarded. Check show promoter info about the show for Best in Show Awards and Ceremonies.


Check-In Time

2. Where do I check-in?

Competitors check-in at the competition area at IJA Check-In Station with their competition dog.


Awards Time

1. When is the best in class awards presented?

Best in class awards are typically announced and presented at the end of each competition.  


2. When is the best in show awards presented?

Best in Show awards are typically announced and presented at the end of the show.


3. Can I win Best In Show Creative with Option 1 or Option 2?

Yes, it is possible to win Best in Show with Option 1 and it is possible to win Best in Show with Option 2.

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