Its been a long time since I showed a dog in comformation (more than 10 years). I used take my Great Dane to shows, both with a handler and doing it myself, but she never did very good because she just didnīt like doing it, never trusted the handler enough and I had no experience showing dogs at all. So she got a couple points in some shows and then I lost interest.
Homer turned out a disaster because of his ED he ended up never stepping into the ring.
Now with Vermont, the breeder is also a judge in the Mexican Canine Federation. He told me the puppy had good show potential (and Collies are now a rare sight in the ring, so there isnīt a lot of competition) and he wants to evaluate the pup at 6 months. I have no idea about the Collie standard (I have read it and looked at the pics of the perfect dogs, but nothing further)...
Anyway, what Iīm seeing is a puppy that when I take him out for his morning walks, really loves to "show off", he walks very proud and has that attitute of "see me, Iīm gorgeous" that show dogs must possess.
So in preparation for his comformation evaluation in 1.5 months, Iīve been wondering what kind of training should I give him, and if I should start looking for a handler or try to do it myself. I know doing it myself is the worst combination (inexperienced puppy with inexperienced handler).
What do you recommend? I havenīt started leash training on the pup yet (heal and things like that), he just naturally is a good walker, he doesnīt pull at all, he just walks at a good pace besides me, but really has this "showy" attitude (itīs not a "dominant" tail up attitude, its a relaxed proud puppy attitude, I donīt know how to describe it, he just seems to like to call attention from people)
I donīt have any pics of him stacked or anything, Iīll try to get some. maybe someone knows about Collies around here, heīs just 4.5 months old.
I can relate, have had a couple pups (labs) in the last few years that were health disasters and did not get shown although that was the intention. I did do juniors 10+ years ago however.
It does not seem to me like you should worry about ring training him or getting a handler specifically for the evaluation by his own breeder. IMO the purpose of a handler is to expertly call attention to good points and minimize bad ones in the two minutes a judge spends with the dog. Your pup's breeder I assume will get to spend a significant amount of time with the pup and will sort out the flaws and virtues himself, or is the evaluation going to be by photographs or video?
About the only thing would be to show him a piece of bait occasionally and reward him with it if he holds a stand for a few moments (as opposed to sitting, don't hold the bait too high). Handle his mouth (and other relevant parts!) often. A formal "Heel" in the ring is not what you want anyway, all you want is for him to trot along happily on the leash, which it sounds like he already does. A puppy socialization class would be great for him, but don't drill him on sit. The more gentle handling he gets from a variety of people the better he will be for the exam in the ring. UKC, and now some AKC shows, have non-regular show classes for 4-6 month old pups. Maybe you could take him to one or two, they are mainly just for fun, no points.
If you want to study up more to train and handle him in shows later, I like these DVDs; Lams Dog Training Workshops: Home
There is also a book called Tricks of the Trade, by Pat Hastings, that has info both about evaluating structure yourself and tips on show ring preparation.
Last edited by ThreeTs; 01-28-2012 at 01:36 PM.
We're also starting a puppy for the conformation ring and don't know a lot. We took handling classes with our first and it turned out that we learned a lot but Jackson got "ring sour". We trusted the instructor and let a puppy go for an entire hour. We didn't know better. We took Ben but we had learned our lesson and jumped out when he got frustrated or tired. Handling classes for Gabe won't start for a few months and all we're doing right now is trying to get him to bait and stand right in front of us and feel all the body parts.
Why the heck is my last post full of advertisement links on generic words? Certainly not intentional, sorry.
Do you happen to have a friend locally who could give you some tips? Or any local matches you could attend where people would be willing to give advice?
I have yet to take a handling class as there aren't any available outside of having to make a 2 hr trip every day...so I just had a breeder friend of mine give me a few pointers and kind of learned as I went. So far, my youngest boy seems to enjoy being in the ring. We did have some issues at our last match (did not want to "stand" for eval), but he still took 4th over a really nice boy. Biggest thing is to just practice, keep it short and keep it fun
Thanks for the advice. I really donīt know anybody whoīs active showing, or a handler.
For the breeder evaluation, I will take him to the breederīs place for a "real" evaluation of showing potential.
Guess Iīll just let him be a puppy, he seems to enjoys walking on the leash and actually "showing off" so maybe heīs a natural LOL
Sorry, didn't see that you are in Mexico City, not sure what kind of resources are there for puppy training. Maybe it is like here, there are no handling classes closer than 2 hours away, and the dog show community is not very active. Make sure to get as much show handling practice in as you can on your visit to the breeder, he can probably teach a lot. Are you showing only there, or are you going to come to the USA with him as well? Just curious, I know show Lab breeders in Mexico seem to go back and forth a lot.
I don't know about other breeds, but with labs you can get way with free baiting a lot, so you m gut want to focus on that. Having the dog stand pretty for you with all four feet square and balanced for treats...