It’s official. Only five more weekends of shows remain for the year! Can you believe it? It’s definitely safe to say that November snuck up on us!

This is the month when dog fanciers start to think not only about the year’s end, but also about building plans for the coming year. For those of us who extend our “year” through February, we’re already planning to showcase our special dogs and talents at Westminster, along with so many other breeders, professional handlers, juniors, owner handlers and dog fanciers of all sorts.

Come to think of it, the year in the dog show world might as well be from February to February. It seems to begin and end at the Garden, and with the exception of some of the best shows of the year that take place next month through early January, all eyes are already looking toward New York. The list of mid-winter shows you may want to put on your “must attend” list include the first official show week of the year, the Palm Springs shows in Indio, Calif., and the big entry shows the following weekend at the Rose City Classic in Portland, Ore.

With only five more weekends to go, we’ve got a lot to process in order to be ready for the biggest show weekend of the year. In just about one month, many of us will make our way to the Sunshine State for the 2012 AKC/Eukanuba National Championship, and the pressure is already starting to set in. Florida here we come!

For America’s Top Dogs, junior handlers and, heck, any dog that’s entered thanks to an open entry this year, the excitement is definitely building. You never know who’s going to show up at the Orange County Convention Center to wow us all.

For junior handlers who have worked so hard to earn those five first place wins to qualify to compete at AKC/Eukanuba, now is the time to kick it into high gear to have the best performance possible at one of the most prestigious shows of the year. (Not to mention attending the year’s last shows can help to secure a spot in the rankings and start gaining wins for next year!)

The countdown has begun, so whether you’re gearing up for the end of this year or next, be sure to make the most of these last weekends in and around the show ring.

Remember to have some fun, and don’t forget… Dogs Freakin’ Rule!