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Up Topic Dog Boards / Showing / Showing my first dog - help!
- By Sadie.littley [gb] Date 26.04.17 21:16 GMT
So I've started taking our 8 month old cocker spaniel to ringcraft classes as I would love to show her.

She is just dire, she walks terribly, either bouncing around or pulling like a train or just plain lying on the floor. I can just about get her to stand still ok on the table, to a lesser extent on the floor, and her free stand is as dire as her walking. She gets bored waiting in the ring and often barks.

Generally she is very clever and I have taught her to sit, stand on hind legs, shake a paw, lie down, stay etc.
Her normal walking is not great, and I use a bridle to stop her pulling, but obviously can't do this in the show ring. We practice at home and she is better but still not great.

So my question is, at what point do I give up and accept she is not to be a show dog, or do I just keep going and will she eventually get it? Or is this her telling me she does not enjoy being shown and I shouldn't force it on her?

Frankly it's getting a little embarrassing at ringcraft, where all the other dogs are almost perfectly behaved and their owners are all very experienced and knowledgeable!
- By RozzieRetriever Date 26.04.17 21:28 GMT
I've only been showing a year and there are occasions I've felt like giving up too, but mostly I feel it's my fault not the dog!! I think you need to bear in mind she's still very much a baby. I think everyone will understand the frustrations especially when all the others look so professional but I guarantee we've all experienced the same at some point! Keep going and don't be downhearted, one thing I learned very quickly is that it's easy enough to run round a ring, but very difficult to do it properly and to a high standard and it takes practise to get there. I found it helpful to go to a couple of shows without my boy and really study the way others handled their dogs, especially in the puppy and minor puppy classes. It means that when you do get placed you really appreciate it!!
- By Tommee Date 26.04.17 21:30 GMT Upvotes 1
The trainers should show you how to train your dog for the show ring, that's why ringcraft clubs exist to teach people ringcraft i.e. show you how to show your dog.

Don't they offer you any help?? Sounds to me like they are not a very good club
- By Sadie.littley [gb] Date 26.04.17 21:46 GMT
Thanks both

Yes I watched some of the judging at Crufts this year and found it really helpful. And also encouraging that the puppy classes weren't all perfectly behaved!

The classes are very busy so there's not much time for one on one help, since there are so many others there I don't feel like I can really monopolise too much time! Plus I do feel a bit embarrassed asking, as I'm just thinking that they are thinking my dog is badly behaved. I'm probably overthinking it a little!
- By Tommee Date 26.04.17 22:54 GMT Upvotes 4
You are exactly the person who they should be spending their time with most.

Experienced owners/handlers will be taking their puppies to socialise & get used to being in a show type environs. You are going to learn what to do & how to do it from the ground up.

You should feel comfortable asking questions, without newcomers the shows would disappear from existence
- By biffsmum [gb] Date 27.04.17 05:58 GMT Upvotes 3
Personally I like puppies to act like puppies in the show ring, not like little robots. My girl is 10 months old and still fidgets, both on the floor and on the table. She sounds like she's enjoying herself.
I have a breed that you can never tell how they are going to behave in the ring. My oldest boy that I used to show is awful. He barked all the time and misbehaved. One year he'd won the dog cc at Crufts, I then took him along to an Open Show just to keep his son company and he was so naughty in the ring the judge thought it was my first time showing and very kindly gave me a lesson in what to do....I'd have loved to have seen his face when he read his catalogue.
Just keep practicing, it will all start to slot in place as you and her gain experience.
- By ali-t [gb] Date 27.04.17 07:00 GMT
I have an 11 month old and started taking her to ringcraft at 3 months.  The penny only dropped for her at 9 months after her season and even now she still bounces about like a numpty sometimes.  Stick with it. 

Can you ask someone at ringcraft to go over your dog while you are waiting for your turn as that will help your dog get used to that.  You could also ask someone to put your dog in a stand and see how they do it and if they have any tips for you.

there is a great book called 'stand' about the ins and outs of showing and we learned the most by going to shows and watching other handlers of our breed and adapted their ways to get the best way for us.
- By nursey Date 27.04.17 08:10 GMT Upvotes 3
Hi Sadie, although I'm experienced at handling my own breed, I attended a handling workshop last weekend. the very first thing which was highlighted in training a new dog for the show ring is, control of the head. Your breed is a stacked breed and your puppy needs to be slowly and gently taught that you need to be able to hold her head. There is no shortcut, it takes time and repetition. There is a V shaped groove in her lower jaw...place the fingers of your right hand in the groove and aim to hold for 3 seconds to begin with. She will jump away, she will wriggle out, don't lose patience, just calmly start again and once she will allow you a second or two, just stroke her down her body length to encourage calm.
There is no magic wand, no miracle about this it's just calm gentle repeating. Puppies get bored though so just 10 mins at a time maybe twice a day. Once you have her head you can begin to think about the front feet and later on, the back feet but first things first.
- By mixedpack [gb] Date 27.04.17 08:15 GMT
I took my puppy to a ringcraft class where everyone proceeded to ignore me or allow their large dogs to bounce all over my puppy, they all assumed that I knew what to do and it was like being the only one in fancydress at a posh party!!   I left never to return and went to another class where I was properly instructed how to table my dog, stand, move and all the things I really needed to know as a beginner, I then had to conquer my nerves and go into the ring but that's another story.
- By flattiemum [gb] Date 27.04.17 09:06 GMT
Think I may have been at the same day as Nursey:smile:
- By nursey Date 27.04.17 10:33 GMT
Ha ha, really! Small world.
- By Sadie.littley [gb] Date 27.04.17 13:09 GMT
Thanks for all the advice, guess we will just stick it out a bit longer and hopefully we will both improve!

She's fine when they go over her on the table, fine with her teeth being looked at etc. It's mostly the walking that's the issue, but we are starting a new obedience course in a few weeks so hopefully that will help with that.
- By LucyDogs [gb] Date 27.04.17 16:38 GMT
Just make sure when you do the obedience class that you don't teach her to sit at heel. I do general pet obedience classes with all my dogs, and though they know me well, I still feel a bit like I stand out as different when I refuse to stop my new puppy in a sit during heelwork, and only teach her to walk on a loose lead, not in close. My older dogs do both shows and obedience and know the difference, but I don't want to confuse the puppy. :-)
- By Brainless [gb] Date 27.04.17 16:41 GMT Upvotes 1
I usually keep the sits for the stay exercises, and have them stand when doing heelwork
- By LucyDogs [gb] Date 28.04.17 16:50 GMT
Yes, that's what I do, though even so Katie is a bit too keen on sitting. :confused:
- By corgilover [gb] Date 29.04.17 19:56 GMT Upvotes 1
One of my dogs went best puppy in show non group at seven months old, judges comments in write up were caught my eye as she entered the ring.  She was on her back legs bouncing like Tigger when the judge said relax your dog's she then flopped on her back and wiggled from side to side for about two foot the judge laughing said not that relaxed, her last puppy show she won BPIS again at an outside show I was on my knees one hand full of ruff hair one hand full of trouser hair to get her to stand still at a very windy outside show baring in mind this is a free stand breed all she wanted to do was chase the leaves.  Even as a vintage she was the class clown but loved showing at one show the judge made a funny noise when she was on the table and he ended up her paws on his shoulders nose to nose she was eleven at the time and that is years not months.  Just remember they are not machines even a fully trained dog can have an off day one of my dogs hates the halls city of Birmingham champ show uses so I do not take her there.
- By Lynneb [gb] Date 07.05.17 18:54 GMT Upvotes 2
I also have a bouncy cocker, now aged 18 months. At a show in January she was awarded best of breed despite fidgeting all the time. The judge said she was absolutely delightful. They are not known as "merry cockers" for nothing. Keep going, she is still very young.
- By LucyDogs [gb] Date 08.05.17 11:09 GMT
Sounds a bit like my oldie Corgilover, at 12.5 years she is still a nutcase in the ring, jumping up and barking if the treats don't come fast enough, and it's a constant battle not to let the 'walk round' turn into a race! She went BVB at Birmingham yesterday. :twisted:
- By Sadie.littley [gb] Date 09.05.17 13:09 GMT Upvotes 1
Thank you all for your advice and stories of similar dogs! It gives me some hope she will settle down a bit and I've entered her for a show in a months time. If she's still a mess we won't go, but thought it would be good to have something to aim for!

Her standing is improving and we even got a decent free stand last week at ringcraft. Walking still awful but I will keep on :smile:
- By RozzieRetriever Date 09.05.17 13:31 GMT
Good luck! Keep us posted!
- By monkeyj [gb] Date 09.05.17 17:04 GMT
I prefer to first train my puppies in the garden, in a familiar environment, where they are relaxed and calm. I spend no more than 5-6 minutes at a time, and no more than 4 times a day, walking up and down and doing the stand on the ground. Only when the puppy knows how to walk in the garden, we do the walking in a ringcraft environment. Until then, it is just the table touching and socialisation at ringcraft.

I find this way much easier to accomplish, while in the garden the puppy is not distracted but focused on me and the treats and gets the idea of walking/standing very quick. Then at ringcraft where the puppy is excited, bouncing and messing about, when I ask him to walk it is already familiar and the puppy is happy to do it, before resuming his bouncing and messing about as the puppies should.
- By snowflake [gb] Date 10.05.17 09:41 GMT
For me it has been so interesting to read the above comments.  Our miniature schnauzer is nearly five months.  He is a good looking black and silver boy, very cute at the moment!!  I take him to ringcraft which he loves as he is a total showoff and loves everyone.  He has no problems with the walking (he performed in the puppy walk match last night).  His movement I am told is vey good but he is a nightmare on the table. He wriggles so much the judge can't properly examine him and when standing him afterwards he is awful.  He is so full of beans and he gets so excited when he meets all the other dogs, his special friend is a Bernese mountain dog puppy!!  I suppose he will calm down.  I do practise the stand at home when he is more calm but he seems easily distracted by all the other dogs at ring craft.  I have to say that here in East Sussex the ringcraft club I belong to  is excellent with sooo many different dogs and everyone helpful.  I just hope  my little chap calms down eventually!!  Our first show is at the end of June so there is time yet .......
- By rachelsetters Date 10.05.17 10:29 GMT Upvotes 2
Can I just reassure you with your mishievious pups that a puppy is a puppy and MOST judges will not be overly worried on puppy silliness.  Of course seeing some movement is an advantage :) and being able to examine the dog of course but a statue is not expected! nor desired from me to be honest! Some cheekiness as a puppy is expected and for me I like to see :)
- By Sadie.littley [gb] Date 29.05.17 21:02 GMT
So I caved and entered her in a show for this weekend. Standing is good, free stand is doable, walking at last class was the best she's ever done it (but still extremely bouncy)

Not 100% going to go, will decided probably the day before! But just looked at the weather forecast and it's saying rain, and it's an outdoor show... Sorry if it's a stupid question but how do people deal with this? She is a long haired breed and looks like a scraggy little rat when wet (a cute one) , how do they judge?? I have a full coat for her that covers everything but paws but obviously she'll have to take that off in the ring. Any tips from people who have attended outdoor shows in the rain?
- By suejaw Date 29.05.17 22:34 GMT
Normally they have an area to use undercover if it rains but sometimes we all just get wet. Everyone will be in the same boat. I've shown in the snow before now. If it's really heavy ran you'll be inside though.
- By LucyDogs [gb] Date 31.05.17 10:51 GMT
Like Suejaw said, everyone's in the same boat - if you're in a breed class everyone's dogs will be wet if there's no wet weather acommodation. Most shows have something covered for the toy breeds at least. Good luck, can't wait to hear all about it! Relax and just have fun, and don't panic if she's bouncy, as long as she takes a few sensible steps here and there that's all you can ask for a baby. :-)
- By Sadie.littley [gb] Date 04.06.17 14:32 GMT
So first show done and dusted! Unfortunately the weather was fine the whole time up until our class came up and we had to do it in the pouring rain! Which threw her I think, and it didn't help we'd been clutching hold of her under a brolly for 10 mins before that, so she was a bit restless.

She walked ok, but she had been doing it better this week and was a bit wriggly on the table. She came 4th out of 4 in puppy, and was the only entry in junior so the 1st rosette feels a bit like we cheated!

What's the etiquette around who goes first in the ring? I lined up behind the lady who'd already gone over to the edge, and she immediately just moved and went to the back putting me in first. I was trying to avoid going first as I could have done with watching someone else go!
- By CaroleC [gb] Date 04.06.17 16:04 GMT Upvotes 3
There isn't really any etiquette about the order you line up in for your first class. Some exhibitors are well known to prefer going either first or last, and will make strenuous efforts to secure 'their' usual place in the line. The rest are either more relaxed, or will seize the most level patch of turf. If you feel brave enough, you could tell them that you are a newby, and ask if you could follow on for the first couple of times.
Well done on taking the plunge, and don't feel that you didn't deserve your First. The judge could have withheld if you weren't good enough, and it's not your fault that nobody else entered. Enjoy it.
- By mixedpack [gb] Date 04.06.17 18:18 GMT
Good for you, now for the next one, I found that you need to place your puppy where she settles best, my dog has a long flowing stride so I tried to keep him "in the open", not behind a slower one and to hold him back until the judge is looking before really striding on. Some dogs need someone in front of them to get them going and some get too excited and start pulling to get to the one in front so you will learn which suits your dog best.
- By KeesieKisses [gb] Date 05.06.17 06:52 GMT
I'm only new to showing so I'm still learning myself :grin: but I've found some people will move themselves in a line up because they may find their dog moves best when following another dog (I've done it myself, like you wanting to see someone else do it when I'd first started)

Well done for doing your first show though! I find it more nerve wracking than people may think, but I'm still at it 7 months after our first show
- By LucyDogs [gb] Date 05.06.17 15:08 GMT

>She came 4th out of 4 in puppy, and was the only entry in junior so the 1st rosette feels a bit like we cheated!


>What's the etiquette around who goes first in the ring? I lined up behind the lady who'd already gone over to the edge, and she immediately just moved and went to the back putting me in first. I was trying to avoid going first as I could have done with watching someone else go!


Well done, the next one will be less scary! Don't feel like it's cheating to be 1st of 1, the judge always has the option to withhold! And next time if you don't want to go first, just politely say 'please could you go before me, it's only my second show', and most people will be nice enough to do that. There often is a little dance when people don't want to be first in, personally I prefer it as then I can pick the pace that suits my dog without running into the back of the person in front of me, but definitely it's not good being first when you are a novice!
Up Topic Dog Boards / Showing / Showing my first dog - help!

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