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Author Topic : Learning to Handle - Any Advice?
 Shutterfox
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11/4/2013 5:52:33 AM reply with quote send message to Shutterfox Object to Post  

So, my 18 month old Dane boy is a competitive dog in the confirmation ring and has been doing excellent in the limited number of classes he's been in. I've always had a good basic understanding of confirmation and structure which carried over from horses, but I've been using a well-known GD handler for him. Both for experience and political reasons. Also, it was nice when she could carry him to a show for me if I couldn't be there.

However, recently, I've been toying with the idea of trying to show him myself! I didn't really think serious of the decision since it would take copious amounts of ring experience(for the both of us, but especially myself) just to get the judges to give him a good look. Lots of entries means lots of shows, which ultimately boils down to lots of money! Thus, I wrote it off for awhile.

That was until I got a call from a very seasoned Alaskan Malamute breeder and handler in my local kennel club. She has too many young dogs and not enough people to handle them. She graciously offered to teach me to present dogs in the ring and give me experience on her Malamutes, plus pay for the entry of my Dane at shows, in exchange for handling her dogs in the ring. Needless to say, I'm ecstatic for the opportunity! I would have done it in a heartbeat even without the offer to pay my boy's entry fees, but that just closes the deal!

So here I am, a total beginner when it comes to show handling, and I'm meeting her on Tuesday for my first lesson. I'm reaching out to some of you here on ShowDog to see if any of you may have some advice, tips, or tricks for dog presentation. I mean, when I say I am a beginner, I mean I've never handled a dog in the ring. I've seen it done countless times and I know the basics of a good stack, but that's it. I'd be very grateful if I could get some input on the basics (and/or not so basic) of presenting a dog to the judges in a confirmation ring. I certainly don't want to let this kind woman down, but I'm concerned that I just won't be up to par with her expectations for me.

I'd really appreciate any advice, whether it's breed specific(Alaskan Malamute and Great Dane) or general knowledge! I'd love to tap into some of the RL experienced members here and soak up anything I can. If you know of any websites that may assist me, please link them! I've already studied the AKC standard for both breeds, but I haven't researched into handling online since there is a lot of different information out there.

Thanks in advance!
 CascadeRanch
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11/4/2013 7:00:42 AM reply with quote send message to CascadeRanch Object to Post

You are off to a start on the right foot. I started handling classes under a prohandler to get going. The thing you have to do to compete with the pros is learn to blend in with attire for starters. Secondly look for a handler you admire and love how they show. Krista the tall blonde handler who does a lot of breeds and has a nice Dane out right now would be a good one to watch. She is really good at what she does.
Foot placement is going to be the hardest thing usually to get down from a birds eye view over the dog. Until I was comfortable with it I would even drop down to eye level with the top line of the dog to make sure the front feet were straight up and down from the point of the shoulder and the rear feet I could tell were set right if the hock was perfectly straight up and down perpendicular with the ground.
Remember to have fun and no one is watching you they are watching the dog and looking to pick apart or find a good attribute in each dog which an be thrown off in presentation. A good thing for practice is set up a camera and record yourself so you can see things you want/need to improve on.

You can do this and have a lot of fun with it. I only started showing the Summer of 2007 and am an owner handler and am out there in the ring beating the pros regularly. I have finished several dogs this year, have 3 only needing a couple singles. You just have to keep working it at and you will be kicking butt. happy :)
 
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11/4/2013 11:10:27 AM reply with quote send message to Object to Post edit post

Huge thing is how YOU dress ... smart and business-like in a skirt that isn't too short or too tight that you can't bend down in it (not slutty as you see so many of the younger gals trying). Pick a colour that doesn't blend in with your dogs ... if you are showing a black dog, don't wear a black suit as you will blur the dog's topline when you are next to him. If you are showing multiple breeds, pastels or bright autumn colours work best. Since you are showing working breeds a tailored pant suit in the same colours would probably be acceptable too. If you really want to see how to "turn out" and present well, watch the Junior Handling classes especially Masters, Open Senior and Open Intermediate ... these kids are amazing handlers and better that some of the pros!! If you've shown horses, you know that turn-out is a tie breaker but the big thing is not to detract from the dog. You are doing the right thing taking lessons and if there are handling classes in your area that really helps, too. Good luck and have fun!
 Studio Dogs
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11/5/2013 8:07:33 AM reply with quote send message to Studio Dogs Object to Post

this post has been edited 1 time(s)

Train your dogs to free stack, get out of the way of the judge. Make sure you are showing a clean dog.


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Last edited by Studio Dogs on 11/5/2013 8:08:40 AM
 Shutterfox
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11/5/2013 12:16:19 PM reply with quote send message to Shutterfox Object to Post

Thank you all for your encouraging words and advice! I really do appreciate it happy :)

StudioDogs, do you have any information on how to train my dog to free stack? It's tough enough just to learn to stack him by hand when I have a bird's eye view of the dog, I would LOVE it if he could just do it himself.

One of the big problems I'm facing is motivating my Dane to work. He's not very food motivated and doesn't exactly bend over backwards to please. I've owned many dogs, but he's the first that I have worked with that has this type of, dare I say, "dopey" attitude.
 PPvallhunds
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11/6/2013 6:31:26 AM reply with quote send message to PPvallhunds Object to Post

Things that often get picked up in class that I go to is.
Not coming between the judge and the dog.

Not cutting corners when doing a triangle.

Wrap the extra lead up and hide it on your had rather than having extra lead flapping about.

Keeping you arm straight while moving he doesn't like people to hold the lead down by there side when moving he likes them to hold it up and out.

TAKE YOUR TIME, don't rush it, you have payed for your time in the ring so make sure you get the most out of it. If when you go to start moving the dog isn't moving properly stop and go back and start agin.

Posture, if you habe to go down on your knees go on one knee and keep your back straight, when your moving do it gracefully don't march around. (I did that once as I was counting to make sure I was moving her the right speed)

When moving don't constantly watch the dog, glance down to make sure it's moving right and watch where your going so you go straight and don't lose sight of where the judge is standing.

Watch your distance to the other dogs so you don't end up going up there bums if they suddenly slow down when moving together and give your self enough space, there are a few people who will move or stand there dog too close to yours to try put you and your dog off.

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