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Discussion Starter · #201 ·
This has got to be the most demoralizing sport I’ve ever participated in 🤣 Felix showed today in the open in Orlando. Despite behaving much better (we might actually be making progress there), he showed relatively poorly. He slouches soooo much and it makes his back look like trash. On the move, his topline rolls soooooo much compared to the other dogs in the ring.
I was going to show him at a cluster in January but was told I need to get 3-5 lbs off of him at least because his conditioning is hindering his success.
I had already entered him tomorrow, so I’ll be showing him tomorrow and then dedicating the next month or two to trying to improve his weight and conditioning 🥲
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I'm sorry- it CAN get depressing when the dog doesn't look as good as he does at home, and girl! You go to enormous shows, so it can feel like you're playing Sisyphus...
I did think @ Ocala he needed to drop 2-3 pounds so maybe that advice is good.. but it may not be pounds as much as it is being in hard working condition. Can you swim him? Bike him @ a pace that works for him moving correctly? Look back @ your photos when you first started - he's SOOO much better now. His front is dropping and his coat looks great. It'll happen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #203 ·
It does start to wear you down after awhile and I consider myself a pretty resilient person 😅 but I'm going to keep doing everything I can. Also, yes, I definitely reach soooo high with the shows, I just don't realize sometimes how big they'll be until I see the judging program. Florida is such a competitive state!

I'm seriously running into conditioning issues here. The treadmill is helping, but I would love to swim him. We have a dog beach but I don't really trust the other dogs there. There is a lake with a dock about an hour south I can rent for 50 dollars an hour and we tried renting pools but it starts to get expensive so fast as 45 dollars an hour. I wish we had safer, dog friendly bodies of water down here. Biking - thought about it but it makes me nervous o_O I need to buy a bike and booties for him so his paws don't get torn up on the road. I'm not sure what the best pace is to move him at either, which has proven to kind of be an issue with the treadmill when I want to just set one speed and let that go for a bit.

I think he has come so far, he's kind of slow to mature physically and mentally :ROFLMAO: going to all the shows and watching (and feeling!) all the conditioned, fit dogs has given me a much better idea about what sort of condition I need to get him in if I want him to be competitive.

You're better versed in Greek mythos than I, thankfully Google gave me the answer I needed :ROFLMAO: It really does feel like an uphill battle and the older he gets, the more pressure I feel.
 

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Keep your chin up. He needs more muscling on his back based on the picture above - and that will come with both regular normal exercise and also maturity. He will naturally fill out as an intact dog fed a good diet, etc.

FWIW - I'd been going through a very dry spell with my Jovi and could not figure out why because he is a very nice boy and very typey for what is winning in the ring. A lots of bone and muscle. o_O I had his dad's breeder watch him at the last show and yeah.... bad handler.

When I gait him, I got into the habit of tightening up on the lead and holding a certain way because it kept him from pulling. The problem with that is it also trained him to gait with his head high up, which opens up his front and the dog apparently gaits like a cow as a result. sheepish smile

I'm kinda stung that people did not tell me before this, but eh. We are at the end of the show season and next show isn't until Feb. After holidays my plan is to get with a pro handler I train with from time to time and get her to work with me on adjusting where I'm holding the lead to bring that head back down and forward.

Anyway - my point is it's easy to get really frustrated, but you keep trucking when you have a very nice dog and enough people who believe in him. Them telling you to hold off - it may also be giving him time to grow up a little more and fill out.

By the time they are closer to 3, a lot of these boys are ready to win.


Oh and other fun thing to share. :) My younger dog who is 2.5 and really at the brink and ready to get serious.... last show we did, he won his class and had a very strong opportunity to get his first major in Winners. And I mean the judge really seemed to like him. Fast forward a little bit though, I showed his brother and got really winded. Some of it may be a heart issue that I need to get checked out (racing heart issues I've had since getting my covid shot). Or it could have been how hot it was in the building. Regardless, I could not go back out into winners with Glee. I sent him out with a friend who has big movement dogs like him and uh... yeah. He's never been handled by anyone else - including obedience instructors even - and he absolutely refused to gait and refused to stack. Judge was super nice and really seemed to be trying to give him time to settle in and maybe that 5 point major could have been his, but yup. No go. His breeder and I were holding our heads after that - she had come out just to watch and she felt as I did that it was his to win. But his owner failed him. :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #205 ·
Thank you both…it helps a lot when I’m doubting him to have the support from here. And wow!! It’s amazing how even little things can change how our dogs move out and act. I hope you can figure it out with the pro, I wish we had smaller handling classes here with more one on one advice.
I feel I just need to give Felix more time to mature and work on my own self confidence. I work so much that the dog shows are a way for me to relax but lately I just feel like I’ve failed Felix.
 

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You have not failed him. At the end of the day, he is first and foremost your beloved pet. How he is treated at home and the regular life he lives matter so much more in the long run than how many ribbons he wins.
 

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My gosh, you have not failed him. And it's not like he's old or anything , there is TIME!

Try starting around 4.5 -6 mph and have someone film you from side so you can see he's moving with the side gait you want to see in the ring. Friends with pools? Laps work.
 

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I can't tell you how many times I've had that "failing my dog" feeling and I'm sixty and he just turned two. It must just be a normal way to feel when you're working so hard and have such high hopes. I had a trainer tell me in the not so far past I need to manage my expectations as I have a great dog and he's such a young dog.

I keep thinking we are on the three year plan. I guess if I'm not where I feel I should be by the time he is three, I will melt like the Wicked Witch of the West or something. 😅

I think you are doing great with Felix and I really enjoy following your progress. He's beautiful! It's wonderful how much you're giving him such a fun and well-loved life.
 

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Discussion Starter · #209 ·
Thank you both! I don't have any friends with pools (or friends lol) down here. But I'm going to work hard on trying to bike him. The feeling of a time limit is so pervasive! But when I realize that a lot of the dogs in the open class today were older, some a year or two than Felix, I remembered that I have time!

I'm going to attach the video from today. I thought about scratching today, but I'm glad I didn't. I love showing him and had a lot of fun in the ring. There's not a lot of stress when you know you're going to lose, so you do your best and have fun anyway. On a comedic note, I was wondering if the judge would be able to tell I was an amateur and then I got sandwiched between Amy and Musta. The differences are GLARING LOL. But I could not have been sandwiched between two better people. The video is kind of long and unfortunately, I can't upload it in higher quality.

I was really happy with how he showed today. I made some amateur errors, but overall it was a really good experience! I love showing him.

 

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Discussion Starter · #210 · (Edited)
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I got this after our workout today, my boy is so narrow lol. He is approx 28 months old and seems to be quite immature ¿ honestly I have no idea if he is immature or not for his age but he is certainly much more narrow and slab sided than the dogs he’s competing against.
Is this primarily a maturity thing? Since the weather has gotten marginally cooler, I’m hoping to start doing some agility in the backyard again, but I’m wondering if there is anything else I should be doing outside of letting him grow?
He is currently doing 5 miles a day on the treadmill, so an hour on it a day.
Im going to start start adding PPP30/20 to his diet soon as a way to add more protein.

edit: maybe not so much slab sided as he has some rib curvature, but is narrow. He also I feel lacks forechest but I honestly haven’t gotten to run my hands over another Golden’s chest so I have no idea
 

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Discussion Starter · #211 ·
Today was bath day, so we decided to practice some freestacking. I STRONGLY recommend watching this video without sound LOL. I really want to teach him to either stick his hind legs and move his fronts forward, or to move backwards when I ask. He likes to stop with his hind legs underneath him. He's been getting a lot better and I know my handling technique is subpar. What steps can I take to do better with him? We're planning to show two weekends in a row at the end of Jan/beginning of Feb and I really want to do the best I can for him.

One thing I've been trying to remember is to keep my arm in an L shape, and something else is to take bigger steps but not run him.


Again, recommended without sound 😅
 

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What's his weight at now? We go through similar ups and downs with regard to body, but Windsor is 14 months and still filling out so in the puppy class, he's still a bit awkward and right now a bit taller than the other puppies, but we're just in the preparation phase for when he's older.
 

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Discussion Starter · #213 ·
What's his weight at now? We go through similar ups and downs with regard to body, but Windsor is 14 months and still filling out so in the puppy class, he's still a bit awkward and right now a bit taller than the other puppies, but we're just in the preparation phase for when he's older.
I haven’t quite weighed him but I think he’s sitting around 67-70
 

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Discussion Starter · #214 ·

We did some stacking and off leash free stacking today. I'm getting better at just regular stacking, but I'm still working on disengaging his hind legs. I really wanted this practice to be fun because sometimes confo is just so boring for him.
 
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