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Old 11-23-2012, 12:56 PM
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What are some good resources for the conformation novice?

I've shown only one dog in conformation, before. And even then, I was living in the Virgin Islands and simply shipped him off to a handler. I didn't have any real involvement other than paying the handler's bills.

But I'm now getting into the sport and I want to learn all I can, as fast as I can, in order to try to minimize mistakes. I have a wonderful breeder who I hope will be a wonderful mentor for me, but I still want to learn independently as much as possible. I'm going to shows and talking to people, but what are some other resources? And when I'm at the shows, who should I be talking to and what should I be asking them?

I'm devouring as many books as I can, right now. But I want it all.

Thanks!
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Old 11-23-2012, 01:05 PM
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Are there any classes available to you that teach handling? I used to have a training school that I took classes in even though me or my dog at the time were not in the show world. They would also have occasional seminars with some top handlers from around the country.

Also, try to go to some fun matches. I only did one, but by did I learn a lot about me and my dog in that match.
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Old 11-23-2012, 01:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cubbysan View Post
Are there any classes available to you that teach handling? I used to have a training school that I took classes in even though me or my dog at the time were not in the show world. They would also have occasional seminars with some top handlers from around the country.

Also, try to go to some fun matches. I only did one, but by did I learn a lot about me and my dog in that match.
You know, I thought about handling classes. There's one nearby on Wednesday evenings I could take. I could also get private lessons from a local handler, when he's in town. But someone told me the worst thing you can do for a show puppy is to take it to a handling class. They get bored and learn to dislike showing, early on, and then you either have a dog that doesn't show well or you have an uphill battle getting him to like the ring. See, this is the kind of stuff I don't know if it's true or not.
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Old 11-23-2012, 02:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanaRuns View Post
You know, I thought about handling classes. There's one nearby on Wednesday evenings I could take. I could also get private lessons from a local handler, when he's in town. But someone told me the worst thing you can do for a show puppy is to take it to a handling class. They get bored and learn to dislike showing, early on, and then you either have a dog that doesn't show well or you have an uphill battle getting him to like the ring. See, this is the kind of stuff I don't know if it's true or not.
It probably all depends on the puppy and the owner. It would be interesting to hear from some experienced handlers about this. The classes I went to were drop in classes, so a lot of people were not there every week, and were usually preparing for a specific show.
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Old 11-25-2012, 05:10 PM
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I don't know if that's true about handling classes. It depends on the person and the dog. I have only been in conformation a short time (relatively speaking) since Jack was our first conformation dog, but I have witnessed "ruined" dogs in the ring and it's pretty sad to watch. To me that is the biggest concern, you don't want to burn out your puppy by taking it all so seriously that it's not fun for them. With our puppies I've taken them to handling class before I show them in sweepstakes at specialties and usually only stay for half the time. Or take 2 dogs with me and switch it up. I've been to your local class in Irvine (I assume that's the one you're talking about) before and it's a good class. But it's not instructional....more just practice.

I think Melissa will be a wonderful resource for you, she has been for me. I am not as experienced but I would be more than happy to help you as much as I can. I really like working with puppies and knowing the personality of your little boy will likely be similar to Kira's, I'm sure he will be fun to train for showing.

I'm not sure if you're planning to go to the Costa Mesa show in a couple weeks, but I will be there on Saturday to pick up Kira and Smooch (after they show) and would love to meet you and Theresa if you can make it. I can also introduce you to people and handlers.
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Old 11-26-2012, 05:55 PM
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1) Make sure you have a few trusted people to get the downlow on what judges like your dog's style. Very few dogs are every judge's cup of tea, and entering under the wrong judge for your particular dog can be like hitting your head against a wall. You might want to enter under judges who won't put up your dog: for the experience, to support your club, to take one for the team and help build a major, but then you do it with open eyes and you don't feel discouraged. When you have two or three experienced advisors on judges, do not listen to one other soul, no matter how well-intentioned, bc people have very anecdotal opinions about judging unless they have been around a long time.

2) have a thorough understanding of your dog'd best strengths and most detracting weakness, and learn how to address them in how you handle.

3) Don't try and cut corners on coat and details. It's hopeless, lol; I have tried! You really do have to give that bath at 11pm, and blow dry too.

4) Just like you cannot tell a flower when to open, you can't tell a dog when to blossom and be ready to win, win , win. However, you must prepare painstakingly before that time comes in order to be ready for it. You want to show your dog young do enough so he or she is a little pro, but not so much the dog is out there forever and not winning.

5) Take heart in the little victories. That class win and that reserve are hopeful signs. Conversely, if you are never winning your class or age group, you need to go on a quest to find out if your dog truly is show quality or if there is a big flaw in your preparation. The old cliche" you can't win if you don't enter" is very true as there is a part of showing that is a numbers game; on the other hand, if you are last in your class over and over, stop entering and get help.
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Last edited by Ljilly28; 11-26-2012 at 06:03 PM.
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Old 11-26-2012, 06:25 PM
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Michelle (goldenjackpuppy) is your greatest resource right now. She was the most helpful when I was showing Jordan and she is a really nice person too. I really encourage you to make it out to Costa Mesa and meet her. Have fun with your adventure !!!
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Old 11-26-2012, 08:34 PM
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The books
Show Me Show Me
!,
Building Blocks for Performance Building Blocks for Performance
, and
George Alston's book George Alston's book
about handling would be enough to get your started. The first is basics about conformation and how it all works. It is a nice basic book and if you've never shown your own dog before, it's a nice intro to the in's and out's of the show ring. The second book listed is my favorite & is about raising a puppy but it has some insightful tips on how to develop a good 'owner drive' so your puppy is focused on YOU. While this is great for obedience prospects, I found it useful in conformation as my dog loves to please me & loves to show.
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Old 11-26-2012, 08:48 PM
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george allston videos and classes are great
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Old 11-26-2012, 08:50 PM
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I used that show me book forever... love that book
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