My club had a "conformation training" session this afternoon. Some members are showing in a few weeks and decided to get together and have practice session. I decided to take Emilu and get my feet wet in conformation. There were 2 labs and 3 chows there. One of the labs was a 10 month old yellow female who is "cousin" to Emilu. It was amazing how similar they were - including the fact that this girl weighed 93lbs! Guess that weight problem runs in the family! Emilu did really well after she figured out that this was a "standing only" class. I hope I didn't confuse her too much, as obedience assumes that your dog will sit by your side when you stop. She has a nice natural stance (learned from obedience because I want her to stand square so there is less chance that she will move her feet). I had a hard time getting her to stand still for the "judge" to go over her though, until I figured out if I dropped her leash and stood away from her she would stand still and not move. "well mom - that's the way we always practice it!" I wonder how that would go over in conformation shows? Once time, after I did this, the lady said -"would you do that again?" So I had her stand and said "stay", then walked away and faced her. They all said "is that all you do" Just say stay?" They were quite impressed with her! The "lab lady" thought she had nice movement, and even said her teeth were good. Once again, I was pleased with my girl. Which is important on those days when I am not so pleased with her. ;D
Hehe...a little obedience training works wonders, doesn't it? I bet those people never thought of using obedience training to help with their conformation performance.
I'm showing Essy in conformation for the first time officially this coming weekend (4 days). I've taken a couple of handling classes with her in preparation. It was very confusing to her at first because she was always trying to sit so what I did was give her a different picture. If we are gating, as we come to a stop I step in front and face her. That isn't a picture she will ever see in Rally or obedience. She'll always be at my side. I also use a stand/stay command which is particularly useful for free stacking or stacking in general because when I place a foot, I don't want it to move. The people in our class are also amazed that Essy doesn't move. Had the same issue with agility people. "An obedience dog can't do agility." Uhhuh...don't tell Murray that. He has awesome start line stays. He also does a sit or down stay when I walk the course at class while everyone else has to crate their dogs. They say "I wish my dog would do that." ;D