Self Stacking questions!!!
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  • Hey everyone!

    I need some advice and pointers! I am trying to train sophie to self stack herself for the ring. Were going in october for our first show, cant wait! but for now its train train train! Anyways she is doing good with the hard stack but i think its absolutely gorgeous when they can stack themselves. So im asking:

    How do you go about self stack training? What are the signals you use to adjust the front legs and back legs. Do you use a command or just hand signals. How do you get them to figure out that the command/signal means move whichever way/foot. Sophie is doing quite well but i really want to know how to do this so i can train her right and since she is my first real show dog, i am new to the stacking. I know how to hard stack, but would love some help, advice, videos, reading articles, etc on self stacking. PLEASE HELP!!! THank you so much for anything you offer! :)

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  • I'm sure there are numerous ways to teach this, depending on what exactly you want your dog to do when self-stacking (I believe there is a older thread on this). I use a clicker. After teaching a stand-stay, I would then work on shaping the stand-stay into the stack. If you can lure the dog into it and capture it that is one way. I taught "fix your feet" to get my dog to re-adjust any feet that were not set properly, typically in my case it was either the back right foot or the front left foot. To do that, you have your dog stand and wait for them to move their back feet and click/treat. It doesn't matter how they move them initially. Once they figure out what you want them to do, then you can start to raise the criteria and reward when they put the back feet in the correct place. After that you can move to the front feet if needed. You can add any cues, verbal or non-verbal to get your dog to go into the free-stack and differentiate it from a stand if you want. You can also use "body pressure" to get them to adjust themselves by either stepping slightly towards or away from them. I did that but actually it probably caused more issues because my dog was so sensitive to it, if I even just bent my knees she would start readjusting herself. :rolleyes: I'm going to be a little more methodical with my next dog.

    The book "Positive Training for Show Dogs" by Vicki Ronchette explains a lot of this. Hope this helped some.

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  • Thank you so very much for the reply. it helped alot actually! Do you know what words or cues people that are self stacking usually use?

    I was thinking short simple words. Like "Fix" "wrong" "Good" and then idk what else you need to tell them…any ideas? Thanks a bunch for the advice, ill start using it on sophie

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  • It's really just personal preference and whatever works for you and your dog. When you go to show if you have a chance and just watch a lot of other handlers to see what you like. And depending on the judge you don't have a whole lot of time to figure it out. Dogs respond most readily to visual cues so having her target on your hand or bait is usually a good way to go. Some people pull the show lead out to the side after they stop which cues the dog to stack. I think you'll find once you work out a routine, your dog will go into autopilot mode and you won't really have to say anything. My dog was less enthusiatic practicing at home but when she was at a dog show she knew it was treat bonanza time and she was constantly throw self-stacks at me while we were waiting around. And she definitely wasn't the only dog doing that either. I actually needed to retrain her a bit towards the end of her show career because she would anticipate what we were going to do. There were several times she would start the down-and-back without me. :rolleyes:

    And you said October? How old is your dog?

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  • thank you. ill keep it all in mind. I guess i always thought you had to word it when you cue, but signals are good too, makes it look better im sure as well. Ill have to think about that when i get more into it.

    haha that would be funny to see, her taking off and you stumbling behind saying WAIT WAIT! not yet silly!! lol i can imagine it, will be hilarious if sophie starts doing it :O hehe

    Yes, she is 7 months right now. Born Aug 24. so shell be like 1 yr 2 months. I HOPE by then she will have enough training to at least look like we were working on it haha

    Do you know how long, normally an average dog, takes to train each thing? How many sessions for each thing. What are the specific steps and in order should i train?

    stacking, targeting, stretching out, leg moving, etc. I need all the help i can get. :rolleyes: hehe

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  • I don't train the B's too much. I find if you try to overtrain them, they typically ignore what you want more and more. I find less training means more results with a Basenji. I have stacking blocks for them, but you can use soup cans as well. When they are in (finally) the position you think they look best, I just repeat the word 'stack' while giving treats for a minute or so. If they move from the blocks, I just put the foot back while repeating 'fix it.' They understand very quickly. If you want to do it on the floor, you can use coasters(those little cork things you use on your good tables so drink glasses don't mar the finish). Just place them on the floor in the position you would like and it's much like using the stacking blocks.

    I don't train too regularly either. I try to do a couple of minutes either every day, or every other day. If a show is coming closer, I usually go every day. As for strutting around the ring, I like someone else to watch me and give me pointers. Every dog has a speed they do best at, at it's very helpful to have someone watching, who knows the standard, to give critique. Same with the down and back. Some dogs look great on the go round, but the down and back I usually go a little slower on.

    All dogs have their faults, and you will be able to pick up yours fairly quickly and learn how to compensate for them.

    That's my two cents! Hope it helps.

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  • Arlene makes some very good points. I didn't mention that I only trained a few minutes a day and also tended to do it more frequently once we got closer to a show. You definitely don't want to overdo it. This isn't like competitive obedience, your dog doesn't need to be highly trained (helps if you are going for the group ring). You basically need them to be comfortable on a table to be examined by the judge and have reasonable control over the rest of the process. I was far from perfect and still had fun. If you don't want enter a show yet, look at the premiums for shows to see if they have puppy matches that you can enter. Those are more fun and informal.

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  • Houston

    Great info guys..I wil work with Pippin on this too..he is getting much better..but we still have a far way to go. Keeping it fun though. :)

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  • LOL Petra…. wait till your first time in the ring... Pippin will forget everything!! LOL... just remember to keep it light and fun!! And do not over train....

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  • Houston

    LOL Petra…. wait till your first time in the ring... Pippin will forget everything!! LOL... just remember to keep it light and fun!! And do not over train....

    LOL..I will keep this on my mind..when I am gripping under my breath..as long as we have fun though…;):):D

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  • Thank you! yes that helps a bunch! ESPECIALLY the stacking part and the fix it part! :) but ill keep the training idea in mind and try to limit it a little more. I am actually building my own little version of the happy legs one, for my own personal use as i definitely wont be able to afford the 200 plus shipping with no job. hehe;)

    I was wondering, how do you get the dog to trot and behave when running? Sophie, tho she is only 7 months now, likes to hop and just be excited and she wont do the profressional looking "trot" that you see in the dog shows. Any ideas?

    Oh, btw, Thank you soooo much for replying. I noticed there was like 42 views, and no one had replied! lol i was like dang it ppl i need help :( haha so thank you for taking time to reply and help me :) i appreicate it

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  • Practice…. takes time and practice and patience. There really is no secret to it, when she hops or plays, a correction at that time and back to the trot... Once you get the hang of it, you should be able to "feel" her getting ready to hop or gallop.. and try and correct her before hand with words.... to keep her attention on you.

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  • thank you tanza. I will try to keep that in mind. Do you have a command you use when you feel one of yours in going to start into a hop? or some examples to choose from hehe

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  • I use the word SHOW, and Ayo stacks up, I then manually fix usually his front left foot. I will try teaching him to adjust it himself. Ayo naturally stood in a stacked position. he is very "showy" and it was easy to say the word and reward him when I caught him doing it. The only problem is the front feet usually places them one slightly forward.

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  • Thank you for that :) with my old girl i started training her " by saying show dog" but i think when i said show she thought i said no and it contradicted itself. But it would help if your dog was already like it, mine is a puppy now and she is just full of spunk and doesn't set properly. We are working on the attention getter right now. She is doing really well! She looks me right in the eyes now and that is exactly what i want. A wise person said "Get control of the head first" and that is what im doing. :) its working wonders hehe hope i can continue…need more treats just ran out LOL

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  • I have to repeat again, don't overdo it. I've seen many dogs that were trained, trained, trained and over time, became nasty because there was no fun in it. Make it fun first, have a good time, don't expect to win (you'll be nicely surprised when you do!) and don't be too rigid. You will notice as she gets in the ring more and more the trot (strut) will get better and you won't have a bouncing kangaroo on the end of the lead. Practice is good, but, in my opinion, nothing beats the real thing.

    My other thing is to make sure the dog is socialized well with people. Some dogs get up on the stand and back off because of a smell on the person, the way a person looks, talks, or acts. It's better to get her out with different people (eg hats, glasses, no glasses, smoking, cigars, perfumes, clothing, disabilities, etc) and have her accept everything than get in the ring and have to feel like a fool because your dog won't stand for the judge!

    We all learn by experience so try not to go overboard and remember- have fun!

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  • ok thank you for the input! :) Ill remember that! so most cases, when they get into the ring they are different than at home?

    yes that is a great idea! I have been trying to get her out and we go for walks and i let her introduce herself to other dogs and i ask ppl to pet her. Others ask me. I think she is getting better but i do agree that would suck! lol

    I agree! and thank you!

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  • http://www.tawzerdogvideos.com/Vicki-Ronchette.htm

    just found this, have not seen it, but if i had a current conformation dog, i'd probably get it.

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  • When dogs are out, they definitely do act different. There are new things to experience. But once they've been exposed to the ring a couple of times, they settle down.

    We lived in Niagara Falls for many, many years and I would take my dogs to the heart of the tourism area and walk up and down the sidewalk. Loud noises, buses, different types of people,etc was excellent for them. When obedience training, this was perfect. It taught them to be distraction proof.

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  • BASENJI FORUM FRIENDS: lol thanks guys for the good advice! ill keep it all in mind when im training and working with her. hopefully it wont go completely wrong hehe

    PETRA: Hey Petra I hope you do good in the ring, maybe some day well meet in it hehe and also i am still loving pippins collar! :) talk to you on facebook! :D hehe

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  • @nomrbddgs:

    When dogs are out, they definitely do act different. There are new things to experience. But once they've been exposed to the ring a couple of times, they settle down.

    We lived in Niagara Falls for many, many years and I would take my dogs to the heart of the tourism area and walk up and down the sidewalk. Loud noises, buses, different types of people,etc was excellent for them. When obedience training, this was perfect. It taught them to be distraction proof.

    Ill have to take her for walks down main street and stuff when it warms up a bit… Vanderlae would love that and i know the dogs would too! hehe and i agree it will help with the distractions! :D

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