Conformation handling

Discussion in 'Dogs - General Dog Chat' started by meepitsmeagan, Oct 22, 2013.

  1. meepitsmeagan

    meepitsmeagan Meagan & The Cattle Dog Crew

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    Hey y'all. So, I'm going a little bit out of my comfort zone and agreed to handle an ACD in an upcoming conformation show. I'm not the least bit coordinated or graceful with MY gait. I've been watching millions of "tips and tricks" videos today, but was wondering if anyone had some go-to videos or literature to help me out.

    I'd like to stay away from making a complete ass of myself, if at all possible.
     
  2. Saeleofu

    Saeleofu Active Member

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    What venue?
     
  3. meepitsmeagan

    meepitsmeagan Meagan & The Cattle Dog Crew

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    AKC

    too short.
     
  4. Toller_08

    Toller_08 Active Member

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    Are there any classes near you?

    I looked at Youtube quite a bit, but honestly going to handling classes was what helped the most. There is a handler who teaches and "Intro to Dog Shows" handling class here and it was invaluable. I still have lots to learn, but taking those classes helped me immensely.

    Other than that, I can't really help. Sorry! Good luck though!
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2013
  5. meepitsmeagan

    meepitsmeagan Meagan & The Cattle Dog Crew

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    There is on a night that I work and cannot in any way get my shift changed. :( I've looked into privates, but the lady hasn't gotten back to me.
     
  6. krissy

    krissy New Member

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    I found handling class really helpful. Kili is my first showable dog. My breeder chose her for me for agility but suggested I could try my hand at showing her since she was also "show quality". It's really not my thing but I had fun. I was also lucky that all the judges I had at my first show were really patient and super nice. I've had to show under some less understanding judges too. Just not nearly as fun. But I'm all about fun. I got my dog for sports and companionship. I don't really care that she hasn't gotten any points. Might e different depending on if there are expectations on this dog you're showing?
     
  7. meepitsmeagan

    meepitsmeagan Meagan & The Cattle Dog Crew

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    The breeder would obviously like to see points on this dog, but she isn't going to be devastated if I mess up. She's been super good with working with me thus far. She's got cancer and is currently going through chemo which is what is stopping her from handling herself. She knows I'm interested in getting more involved in the breed and I'm also handling another one of her dogs in herding, so she asked if I wanted to give this a shot.
     
  8. frostfell

    frostfell Kung Pow Fish

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    borrow the dog you will be handling and practice practice practice. remember to gait the DOG towards the judge, not you. the mat is for the DOG, not for you. wear nonslip shoes. practice your walking/gliding. practice setting up. practice practice practice (with the dog you are handling). you know what you are supposed to do, you just need to train your body to do it from muscle memory. and the dog.
     
  9. JennSLK

    JennSLK F150 and a .30-06

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    Has the dog been shown before? If not get the dog used to exams.

    A couple of tricks/tips I have been taught I'm not sure how experienced you are in general so some of this you might know.

    Get someone who knows the breed and whont try to screw you over to watch you gait. No dog is perfect but there are ways to hide this sometimes. Get them to watch and tell you what speed really shows off the good points about the dogs movement.

    Once you have done the down part if you need to stop for a second to settle the dog before you do the back part.

    When the initially stack the dog for the judge to look at before the exam don't actually give it bait. If the judge is a teeth first judge then there will be nasty bits of bait in there when the mouth is open.

    Watch your ring. Keep track of what breed is before you and make sure you have a idea of the class that's in the ring. For example if you are shaping a jr puppy dog you need to be there right away but if you have a open female you have longer to wait depending on entries.

    If you have a big class or are winners and are waiting in the ring while the specials are being gone over dont over practice. Yes it's a good idea to do some but relax a bit too. A lot of dogs will get bored stacking over and over and over while waiting. Same goes for outside the ring waiting for your breed/class to be called.

    Know how fast your dog moves. Always leave enough room in front of you so you aren't running up behind the dog in front.

    If you are in front and told by the judge to go around together get yourself ready and turn to the person behind you and ask if they are ready.

    Don't loop the leash around your hand. Have if folded up inside your hand. I have found that sometimes the dog just wants to move out a bit more. Let them. If the leash is folded inside your hand you can let it out a little easier.

    If you aren't sure of a ring time ask the show secretary or ring steward. Preferably the secretary. Just explain you are new and need help. Or ask a nice competitor.

    If I think of anything else I will post it. I hope that all made sense I'm on my phone. Lol


    Relax and have fun. If you screw up well there is next time. The dog will be able to tell if you are stressed
     
  10. Gypsydals

    Gypsydals New Member

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    Which show are you going to??? And how far are you from Grand Rapids? Like others have said, get the dog and practice. If you can't make it to a class, practice with the dog infront of the owner. If she breeds and shows them she should beable to help you.
     
  11. meepitsmeagan

    meepitsmeagan Meagan & The Cattle Dog Crew

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    Thanks frost! I will remember that. I have trouble remembering the mats are for the dogs, so I need to stick that in my head.

    Thanks for the great points! Answers in bold.

    I'll be showing at the West Michigan Harvest Cluster on Saturday and Sunday. It's about 45 minutes south of GR at the Kalamazoo Expo Center. NOW NO ONE SHOW UP TO STALK OR KILL ME! I know, I'm just that awesome. I've been working with the breeder/normal handler and as I said above, she's helped a lot but there's a few points that is just continued practice for me.

    Will you be around for this show?!
     
  12. Elrohwen

    Elrohwen Active Member

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    Have you been to a show and stood ringside? For me, one of the most confusing things was following the flow of the different classes and knowing when to go in the ring. If you don't have anyone with you to help, the steward may be able to keep an eye on you and make sure you know when to go in (they have done this for me before without asking - I must look like a newbie :)

    If the dog is already trained that will help immensely. Just practice practice practice, and make sure it's in different environments - outside, inside, a parking lot, etc. Is the show indoors or out? I find outdoor shows to be much easier because there is so much room to move and gait, so if it's indoors, make sure you practice in a small area to be prepared for that. If it's outdoors, don't worry about it so much and just find the speed you like for your specific dog.

    Make sure you've thought through the type of bait you want and how you will carry it. My dog is young and easily bored, so I like to bring a decent amount of bait in the ring if it's a larger class or BOB. I realized in my first show that none of my skirts have pockets, so it's trickier. This is something I didn't think through until the morning of the show, since I had always practiced wearing pants (with pockets) or a treat pouch.

    When you arrive at the show, go to your ring and watch what the judge is having other people do. Repeat it to yourself (down and back to the number sign, or whatever) because it's possible to watch 15 dogs go and then still forget what to do when it's your turn. Ask me how I know :p

    I think the best thing is to practice with someone who knows what they're doing, so working with the breeder is going to be really helpful. Good luck and have fun! It seems really overwhelming at first (at least it did to me) but after a few shows it was much easier and I knew what I had to do.

    ETA: One more thing. Practice specifically what you will do at the end of the down and back, once you arrive at the judge. I feel like I always put so much thought into the down and back itself, that I arrive and am awkward. Make sure you are stopping far enough away from the judge, and not just running at them and stopping at the last second before you run them over. I think most breeds free stack, though in spaniels that doesn't seem to be the norm and the judges will get the dog's attention to view their expression (which takes some pressure off of me to do anything).
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2013
  13. Gypsydals

    Gypsydals New Member

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    This Sat and Sun?? Sadly I won't be able to make it to that show.:( Its too far of a drive and I have no one to show. However I WILL be at the lansing shows next month (Fri and sat).
    If you are not too far from GR, contact the well mannered dog center. http://www.thewellmannereddog.com/
    Here is a tip though for the remembering the mats are for the dogs. Before you take off on your down and back. Watch the judge, she/he is probably looking at something in the distance, focus on that. And start your down and back so that you are slightly off on that, that way your dog is inline with the judge. Also practice with the leash and collar with NO dog. Yes it sounds silly but it does help. It gets you comfortable with holding and moving the lead right with out having to worry about a dog on the end.
     
  14. meepitsmeagan

    meepitsmeagan Meagan & The Cattle Dog Crew

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    Nope, in November. Saturday the 10th, Sunday the 11th irrc. I've been to the Well Mannered before! The conformation instructor up there is actually the one we are trying to get a private with.

    And I didn't multiquote, so Welsh, thanks for all of your input! I used to go to quite a few dog shows, but it's been a while. You made some really good points about practicing in cramped spaces as well as planning for what you want to do in the ring. I definitely appreciate all of the helpful points.. I never thought I'd be doing conformation. Lol!
     
  15. Gypsydals

    Gypsydals New Member

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    Ok I didn't think it was already. LOL Its usually a couple of weeks before the lansing shows. I used to go down to that show cluster when it was in GR. Much closer and cheaper for me to go. Now in order for me to go, I would have to stay in a hotel room (too cold for camping). At the lansing shows I stay with my parents for the weekend. LOL Although going next year might be a possiblity. Only time will tell.
     
  16. meepitsmeagan

    meepitsmeagan Meagan & The Cattle Dog Crew

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    You should have said something! You could have totally stayed with me (if you felt comfortable of course). We are about 20 minutes away from the expo center.

    I'll most likely be handling my own dog next year, as I've gotta put a Ch title on her.
     
  17. Gypsydals

    Gypsydals New Member

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    Maybe next year I will have a reason to go down there ;). Ivan is offically retired after the spring show. It does not do go to have a veteran act like a brainless puppy.
     
  18. Elrohwen

    Elrohwen Active Member

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    That will be a huge help if you already have experience at shows and understand the general chaos.

    I think I blew a 4 point major at our first (and so far only) indoor show because I wasn't able to gait Watson to the best of his abilities. Since his main strength right now is his movement and that wasn't up to par, we lost to a dog we beat the day before (outdoors) and got reserve. Definitely something I didn't anticipate.

    I never thought I would do conformation either, and just wanted a dog for some low level obedience/rally/agility stuff. It's actually kind of fun and we've done well so far. I will be excited to finish him though and probably won't return as a special.
     
  19. meepitsmeagan

    meepitsmeagan Meagan & The Cattle Dog Crew

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    Haha, yep! Definitely know the drill, just been out of it for a while and have never showed in the "big time".

    Oh! Bummer. :( The big majors are what really make me nervous... The breeder thinks we may or may not have a shot with this certain dog as she has a body spot and some judges rule them out right off the bat. So, we shall see.

    I'm geared towards Rally/Obed/Herding, so way out of my comfort zone here. Lol. I will have to wait and see how puppy matures to see if I go back after her Ch.
     
  20. Elrohwen

    Elrohwen Active Member

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    So glad color and markings isn't a thing in my breed. I would be so frustrated if we lost because of something like a body spot. I assume the standard lists body spots as a fault?
     

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