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Discussion Starter #1
I don't want to keep making new threads for stacking advice, so I'm going to update this one as I go along :) Being on quarantine has given me a lot of time to practice his stacking and I find I'm getting slightly frustrated. I'm also slightly confused.

I'm frustrated with a few things. The first is to get him to put weight on his front half and I've found a solution that works in the short term: to tug on his tail to he compensates and leans forward. It's been working, but is this viable in the long term? Second, is he posts, and its never awful enough to see for me until I'm looking at the photos. Sometimes I feel like I'm seeing an issue that isn't there. 馃槩Finally, I find he's adjusting himself partly because he slightly bends his ribs away from me and as a result his paw turns out. It involves a little bit of practice for me to get him to stand straight and stay straight while I'm handstacking him. Is there anyway to work on this :(?

I'm confused about his head and neck. I've had a couple people tell me to toss food or lure his head/neck into an arch, but I didn't think he was to baited and shown like a Doberman/Boxer? Or is this normal? I've attached some photos and if you guys with more experience and a better eye let me know what you see? That would be fantastic 馃槗


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In the above photo, along with his hindlegs not being set correctly, I feel as if he is posting slightly and the hair of his loins dried up and makes his topline look more wonky than usual.

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In this one, I tried to dry his hair a little flatter to help his topline. But I still think he might be posting + I think his hind legs could come back further.


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I know his feet look a little weird here, but I thought his headset looked nicer. I'm sorry about the state of the apartment, its been a rough few days and Felix doesn't slow down no matter how bad I feel lol.


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I think he's still slightly posting here and I definitely feel like his headset looks exaggerated.


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I'm still convinced he's posting here :( And I feel as if that is still an exaggerated headset.


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I like his headset more here, but everything else is so off.

I feel like I'm losing my mind and being stuck inside and sick isn't helping. How to deal with the very slight posting he does? If I adjust his front legs, he pulls his hind ones in, and if I set the front legs in a way that looks proper and then go to move the hind legs, it looks like he is posting 馃ズI'm thinking maybe set the front legs further back than I think I need and adjust the backs?
 

Kate
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First - hope you feel OK. And don't have the plague! :(

I think he's lovely in all of the pictures. Don't worry about the coat. Topline looks fine.

I think my issue with the bottom 3 pics is whatever is going on with his lead/collar. I don't know where you are or how you are holding the leash, but in the ring he should not be strung up like that.... he also was posting a little in each of those 3 pics.

It's possible by the time we all get back to dog shows, we will ALL be rusty LOL - but generally speaking if I'm setting up, I let the lead drop out of sight between me and my dog, I've fixed the collar so the fur around the neck and ears is smoothed down and then I hold the collar by a finger or two with my left hand (gently) and I am baiting with my right hand.

The below pic is one that I just snapped over my shoulder so it's a little fuzzy (hopefully the forum doesn't decide to block it under suspicion of nudity like it did the last time I posted a fuzzy picture LOLOLOL) -

But when I'm setting my dog's head, I'm conscious of showing off that he has a neck + I also want to show off the beautiful head piece my dog has.

If you gently hold the collar at the back of the head behind the ears and bait in front, you can get that gentle curve and look.

As you can see from my pup - it's not an unnatural headset since he's doing it on his own.

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This is a picture of my Bertie showing the same headset that I aim for.

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you so much!! I'll try to get some pictures today holding the collar like that. In those pictures I'm in a weird position trying to bait his head down because he likes to ewe neck if I'm not exaggeratedly baiting lol. Some people have told me to try tossing the bait, which works great, but I'm not so sure that's okay to do in the ring lol.

When Felix freestacks and does his own thing, he looks so much better than what I do. Any way to help with his counterbending from me? He tends to try to set up diagonally and/or bend his ribs away when I start moving his feet, which then becomes another ordeal in and of itself.
 

Maegan
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Professional handlers toss bait in the ring all time soo.... and sometimes they don't even pick it up. Not condoning that last part, but if you need to toss it to properly show your dog, then do it.

One thing I observed about myself and about the pros in the ring at the Louisville shows (before they got shut down) is that I feel like I am always rushing, rushing, rushing to get my dog set up, to get my leash/collar situated, etc. in order to not delay the judge. Yet, all of the professional handlers take their time (within reason) doing what they need to do to get their dogs in correct position and to get them ready to gait. They redo their down-and-backs if the dog isn't behaving. One even redid the down-and-back and switched the dog to her right side because the dog was side-widing.

I also spend lots and lots of time worrying about my dog behaving and being perfect (maybe because in Rally and Obedience you get quantifiably penalized for it?), and you know what? Even some of the specials shown by pros are naughty in the ring and they still win as long as the judge can see what she needs to see.

Something that might help with the posting is luring him out over himself. Put your hand on his withers and lure him to lean forward a bit and you will feel his weight shift without him moving his feet. Just be careful not lure him too far. Getting him out over himself during the judge's exam is important for them to check the front assembly. I don't feel as though I got Eevee out over herself enough in Louisville and I think this affected the judge's perception of her front assembly (she also had dead tail and we got placed just outside the ribbons). This is something to practice at home until you get used to seeing what he looks like in correct position and then in the ring you won't have to put your hand on his withers anymore.

Some people only freestack in the lineup, so if he is really good at that, then maybe that's what you need to do and adjust feet only if needed. Do what you need to do to get your dog in correct position. You are responsible for not crowding the dog in front of you, so take the space you need and the person behind you is responsible for not crowding you.
 

Kate
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Professional handlers toss bait in the ring all time soo.... and sometimes they don't even pick it up. Not condoning that last part, but if you need to toss it to properly show your dog, then do it.
I toss the bait at home - but not at shows. If my dog thinks I might toss the bait - it works just fine.

Let's be honest though - with Glee especially, he's always watching the dogs being baited in front of us.... AND I USE THAT IF I CAN. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you all!! I've taken all your tips and I got some videos for you all to critique his gait and let me know what I can do to improve :) I got some stacked photos today, that, while not perfect, I'm happier about.

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This photo was just his free stack and I was so happy that I only bothered to mess with one leg. He's definitely still posting and overstretched in the back a bit, but he was much happier training today and I didn't want to push him :)

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These were the end results of stacking today. I'm pretty sure his front legs could definitely stand to move back, but overall I was pretty happy :)



 

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I see him throwing his front feet out. When I can get the pic bigger will watch again.
 

Kate
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Stacking pics are all beautiful - great job. Much better. <B

In a crunch, get the judge's side right.

Gaiting -

1. You want the lead in one hand. You have a thicker lead, so not as easy to do that. But with a show lead you want to gather the lead in the left hand.

2. Related to how you are holding the lead, he's gaiting a little close to you. It's difficult to describe, but when gaiting the effort is to push out a little. This will discourage the looking up at you as well + prevent confusion should you decide to do obedience. This is a good example of what I'm trying to describe.

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Maegan
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What Kate said about holding the lead. That will help a lot when gaiting. Stacked photos definitely show improvement! He's a really nice looking pup. :)

If you are friends with any professional handlers on Facebook, do some creeping and see how they hold the lead. Actually, you probably don't even have to be friends with them to see videos and photos of them showing dogs. They get tagged in a LOT of pictures. Keep practicing and I think you'll have no problem finishing him.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thank you all!! His lead work has improved so much and he's not looking at me nearly as much as he used to. I'll try to start pushing him out and away from me :) I've heard some stuff about training him to gait with a toy in his mouth? I feel like when he's carrying something, his movement quality seems to improve. Have any of you tried this?
 

the party's crashing us
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Oooooookay so this is going to be difficult advice but --- quit training him so much.
You CAN overdo it -- and the fact he is leaning away from you tells me you are. They will start to do all sorts of weird stuff while you're hand stacking them, that can haunt you forever, and it's all for doing it too much, the wrong way.
I know you're trying to learn, and it's not easy, but you'd be better off working on free-baiting and gaiting for a while, until you can get some one-on-one help from an experienced golden handler on how best to stack him. JMHO
He's a baby, he's got plenty of time to learn.
Watch the groups at Westminster over and over and over and over again. Or the live feed from the golden national that is online. Study how the pros do it.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thank you two!!

His breeder told us the same thing 馃槄He told us just to practice maybe 5 minutes a day and that's it, so that's what I've been trying to do, but in my hyper focus sometimes I stretch it out longer and I can tell when he gets frustrated. I'll try to work on making sure I don't spend a long time practicing.

His gaiting is a bit tougher for me, but we're working on it. He's gotten a lot better but my puppy definitely still gets excited and wants to play.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Here is another gait video, in slow mo. I'm sorry the quality is bad, uploading them always take away the HD :( And also its bright outside, so I'm squinting 馃槄

Edit: I've been advised I'm still bouncing too much while trying to get him. Other than that, is this better than the before videos?

 

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Discussion Starter #18
That looked a lot better! He was bouncy at first, but recovered and leveled out. Your leash position was much better!
Thank you so much!! I hate to bother you, but could you tell me what you like vs dislike about his gait? What fits the breed standard well vs what doesn't?
 

Maegan
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You're welcome! I really don't feel qualified to give you a review of his movement. The only thing I really noticed is that he is a little butt-high right now, but Eevee was too at that age. He will probably grow out of that in a few months. Ask Anney what she thinks. A full speed video might help some too because it's hard to tell how fast you're going.
 

Kate
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OK - I did not agree with Anney's comments regarding stacking him.... stacking practice can't do any harm. Unless you are doing it wrong? But outside pics were much better.

But with the gaiting - I would take it easy and hopefully get with somebody who can work one on one with you a couple times before your first show (like this summer hopefully!). And right now take him out places to run and build up muscle.

Right now he's pretty gawky and could be the speed of the video but appeared to be lumbering with the gaiting. The topline is rippling and rolling all over. And he's a little butt high.

You can fix the lumbering type gait a little by setting the collar before you move. I was told by a professional handler to set the collar at the back of the head and keep it tight. You can loosen the lead once he gets a clear idea what he's doing and is driving forward, but in your video, he's kinda taking a walk on you.

The rolling topline is not unusual because of his age. Jovi really had it BAD until he was about 15-16 months old.

I'm so envious of your sun! We've had rain the last few days. Rain and mud. >.<
 
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