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Finn
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm training my 5 month old on Wednesday golden puppy, Finn, to compete in Junior Handling.
Here's today's stack:
883865

He's currently on a Rescoe so that we can both learn to use a show lead without me accidentally choking him. Once he's fully ring trained, I"ll get a proper lead.
What do I need to fix?
 

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Finn
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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
He looks super weird because he doesn't have his coat yet, but that's a growing issue. I'm pretty proud of this stack, but overall, I've had a bit of trouble placing his back legs- do they look good?
Even if his quality isn't the best (I suspect that he will not end up close to standard at all) I'd like his stacking to be really good as I'm showing him in juniors, so my stacking skills will be under scrutiny.
Artistic rendition of Finn with a coat:
883874
 

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Hi Finn! He’s cute.
Try to get his front legs and his hocks perpendicular to the ground and then ask him to lean forward. I usually gently tug on the tail to encourage this. In this image he’s posting and bracing back. It’s a great job for your first stack though!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hi Finn! He’s cute.
Thank you!
Try to get his front legs and his hocks perpendicular to the ground and then ask him to lean forward. I usually gently tug on the tail to encourage this. In this image he’s posting and bracing back. It’s a great job for your first stack though!
Great! I'll try it tomorrow.
It's not my first stack, but it's the first one that I thought merited posting here : P
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Do you think that that could help solve the issue that I'm having with his hocks? They're leaning inward and the only way that I've found (spent like 5 minutes just placing his back legs different ways) to get them to be nice and straight is to have them super close together.
883876

(he had moved a bit for this pic which is why his legs are off)
Do you think that this could be caused by the posting/bracing, or just growing, or am I placing his legs wrong altogether?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Unrelated but am I holding his tail properly?
I was told by the teacher of my breed handling class that I'm supposed to hold it like that so it comes smoothly off his croup, but I was told by a friend in the local kennel club who's helping me with him that the teacher lady is crazy and isn't good with sporting dogs because she shows cavaliers, so I'm not sure how much to listen to her XD
When I look at pictures online the tail is usually held higher?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you for that link!!
Is this what I'm going for?
883877

I saw this picture and immediately went 'oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooh!'
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Should I be holding his tail that high, or higher than I am?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Is it ok to add a question about free stacking here?
Sorry to overload with so many questions
but I'm struggling HARd with free stacks- I just can't get him to stand in the right way. The only time that we did it in class, the only other dog there was perfect at it and it was near the end so Finn wasn't focused at all. Is there a good video that could show me how to do it?
 

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Kate
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Is it ok to add a question about free stacking here?
Sorry to overload with so many questions
but I'm struggling HARd with free stacks- I just can't get him to stand in the right way. The only time that we did it in class, the only other dog there was perfect at it and it was near the end so Finn wasn't focused at all. Is there a good video that could show me how to do it?


Before you do free stacks with your pup, he needs to know where to put his feet.

He gets that through muscle memory + it helps if your pup is balanced (structure).

Your pup is not balanced... he's very long in the rear + long hocks compared to the front. That will make him a little more gangly and awkward right now. <- I say keep training, but don't get down trying to compare your dog to somebody else's.

I would say do not worry about the tail, however I am not sure what they require in juniors.
 

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I'm training my 5 month old on Wednesday golden puppy, Finn, to compete in Junior Handling.
Here's today's stack:
View attachment 883865
He's currently on a Rescoe so that we can both learn to use a show lead without me accidentally choking him. Once he's fully ring trained, I"ll get a proper lead.
What do I need to fix?
I think the tail is fine- his rear is spread too far apart, though and his front legs need to be back some, he's posting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·

Before you do free stacks with your pup, he needs to know where to put his feet.

He gets that through muscle memory + it helps if your pup is balanced (structure).

Your pup is not balanced... he's very long in the rear + long hocks compared to the front. That will make him a little more gangly and awkward right now. <- I say keep training, but don't get down trying to compare your dog to somebody else's.

I would say do not worry about the tail, however I am not sure what they require in juniors.
I'm hoping that he'll grow out of that.

I'm worried about doing the tail because I need to do everything right for juniors so I'm overthinking a lot of stuff 😅
 

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Esquire Golden Retrievers
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I think it's awesome that you're doing this. Go for it. It takes a lot of practice. It can be hard. But if it wasn't hard, anyone could do it. Keep up the good work.

My first observation is that a "perfect" dog is easier to learn with than a regular dog. Finn's a regular dog. And he's 5 months old, which is absolutely the most awkward age for a Golden. So don't expect to rock it right away with Finn. Just work on your technique and don't worry about the overall picture. As Finn comes into his body and as your skills grow, it will get much easier.

A few general thoughts:

The biggest rule I ever learned for stacking is, "Control the head, control the dog." The first thing you want to do is get the dog's head where you want it. Then, holding his head rock steady (you can actually drop the lead and hold his head with your hand, at the rear jaw on the non-show side), the way I was taught was to put each leg in position in an 8-count rhythm, starting with his front show-side leg, other front leg, rear show-side leg, and other rear leg. Don't futz with it. Put each foot down one time and leave it there, and the whole thing should take no more than 8 seconds. The more you mess with it, the harder it becomes for your dog to hold the position. And if you hold Finn's head rock steady in the right place, it makes getting his feet under him correctly so much easier, and he won't fight you like it looks like he is in your photo. It will feel right to him, and he'll be much easier to stack and control. And remember, Finn is learning along with you. It will get easier for both of you.

Also, amateur secret here, walking him into a stack before setting the head can do 90% of the work for you. Dogs naturally stand balanced, and that's what you want. So walking him into a stack starts you off in almost the right place, and then all you do is tweak it.

I don't know what's required for juniors, but most handlers don't "top and tail" their Goldens, they let the tail fall naturally. But, it looks dramatic, so if you're going to do it, you should grab the tail a little closer to the tip. It should come straight off the rear and up just a tiny bit, but not up to the level of his head. Hold it in the position of an ideal gaiting carriage. You're doing pretty well in your photo, but at 5 months his tail is just too long and will be hard to work with. He needs to grow into his body for you to get a good look on him.

The tip Tangerine gave you about pulling on the tail to get the dog to lean forward is a good one. He will resist the pull and lean forward. But I still return to controlling the head. If you have his head in the right place he won't resist, and actually can't post.

You don't want his rear legs very far apart. They should come down naturally, which will also help the angle. Some pro handlers will spread the rear legs a bit wider in order to hide a structural flaw, but that's not ideal, so don't copy that even if it looks dramatic. It's incorrect. His feet should be squarely under him in a balanced manner, rear feet hip width apart, with the rear hocks perpendicular to the ground. Ideally, if his structure is right, when you have him that way you'll be able to draw a straight vertical line down from the base of his tail to the tips of his toes. But Finn is a little straight in the rear, so you might not get that perfect picture with him. Concentrate and getting the hocks straight up and down (pretty good job in your pic) and his feet under him in a natural and balanced stance, not so wide, and don't worry about the rest.

Carry on. You're off to a great start.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thank you so much for all of the help! Unfortunately, I can’t work on any of this until August, as I’m away at camp for the summer. However, a few things- his structure is going to be wacky even when he matures fully, due to poor breeding (long story). I’m not even sure if he’ll get a full coat, let alone nice proportions.I tried some of these tips (gently tugging the tail, holding the head instead of the lead) but I think that I’m not doing things properly, because it just made the process more difficult and he looked really awkward in all of the pictures, lol. I can see the difference while doing it with him (shifting forward with the encouragement from his face and tail) but in pictures it just looks like I set him up badly.
In general, I’ve been kneeling to close to him (I know that for adult goldens you don’t kneel, but he’s just so short right now, only like 17 inches, that I can’t set his legs properly while standing) and he’s been leaning on me a bit, so I’ve been trying to correct that by shifting further away, which has helped a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Hello again! I'm back from camp with new photos. There's a bit of a hill, so his back legs are a bit higher than his front legs, sorry about that.
885064

^^^In this one, I can tell that he's posting back
885066

In this one, I think that he's posting less, but is still posting?? (note: I'm not squeezing his mouth open, he was eating a treat)
In the second one, I was trying the tugging on the tail thing, and I think that it was somewhat successful. I was also holding his head, but I'm not sure how to hold it in a way that prevents him from posting. I think that his head looks more natural in the first one because I'm not tipping his chin up, but I'm not sure which is more correct.
In both, I think that his legs should be a touch farther back, to line up his toes with the base of his tail.

Does my assessment sound right?
How do I fix the issues?
Thank you for any help!
 

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Hi! When I had my biggest issue with posting I realized that standing in front of my dog (versus on the side) and luring his body forward with a treat helped a lot.
 
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