Dog Handling Courses
It’s all very well buying a puppy and deciding to try your hand at showing. However you need training in your new sport as well as your puppy! You didn’t bother and now your dog acts just like a windmill every time you walk into the show ring? Don’t panic there’s still time to sort out your dog and more importantly your attitude towards the serious sport of dog exhibiting.
You’d be surprised how many people reckon they can get away without attending a training class because they once had a go at obedience – these are two different sports. Exhibiting a dog is about showing the best side of your dog and presenting this to your judge. You have to make the judge think that you have the best exhibit in the class – even if you don’t! Just because you paid mega bucks for a puppy four months back does not mean you can waltz into a show ring and win.
Local ClubsOh so you have a local dog club that you can walk to, what was that? You say the milkman recommended it to you, after all his sister started the club with her mates when the church hall became free. Is the club registered with the Kennel Club? Do they have insurance? What sort of training do they have? Oh they walk to heel and jump over hurdles – that is not ringcraft! Don’t listen to other people, everyone seems to be a dog expert – what is it they say: ‘A little knowledge is a dangerous thing?’ It certainly is in the sport of dog showing.
Do Your HomeworkTake a look in the catalogue from your last dog show – you did buy one didn’t you? Is there a dog of the same breed with an owner that lives near to you? Why not telephone them and ask for their help. They will be able to recommend a training class that suits your breed. This may mean travelling to get to a good training class, if you travel for hundreds of miles to attend a dog show you should be prepared to put in the same miles to train a dog.
Telephone the Kennel Club and ask them for a registered ring craft class. They will give you the contact details for the club secretary, give her a ring and ask if they have experience of your breed. If they don’t please don’t get talked into attending – even for a visit. You need specialist help.Have you spoken to your breeder since you handed over a fistful of cash for a tiny puppy? If not it’s about time you did, after all they don’t want someone showing them up in the ring just because they can’t control a dog. Arrange to visit the breeder for some one to one ring craft training.
Breed ClubNext try contacting your breed club, if you haven’t joined it’s about time you did. Explain your predicament the secretary of the club may feel sorry for you and arrange for another local breed enthusiast to come to your aid. Your club may arrange training and education days – attend them all!
Finally you should be training your dog every day not just turn up at a show and hope for the best. When out walking, keep the dog on a lead and encourage him to walk calmly on your left-hand side. Only let the dog off for a free run if he has done well with his training. Practise walking and running your dog, turning corners as you have seen other exhibitors do. Stop the dog and tell him to stand, practise standing him as if a judge is going to ‘go over’ him. Ask someone to run their hands over the dog and check his teeth and ears etc. It may be advisable for these people to be strangers to your dog just as the judge would be.
After following the above hints it may be time to try the show ring once more, keep calm and good luck!