• @jengosmonkey I used to take Ring Craft classes sometimes, back in the days when I had a pack of Basenjis. Its a question of knowing the different breeds and how they ought to perform and then encouraging the handlers to get them to show to their best.

    Its more a question of watching, suggesting, correcting and hands-on (the dog) to show the handler exactly how to stack it, going over the dog to get it used to different people and then watching and suggesting the right pace to gait the crittur at.

    Here we usually have two tables at one end of the village hall (or similar large space) with a mat running the length. Each handler gets to put the dog on the table and stack it, then move it a couple of times and then move on to the next table where there is another
    'teacher'. After an hour or when every dog there has had several goes, coffee, tea, biscuits and a rest and then (often) group exercises.

    Learning to do a 'T' and an 'L' while keeping the dog always on the side of the judge, zigzagging each dog through a line of sitting dogs to teach them not to interact. All kinds of things to make handler and dog more ring-aware.

    It used to be great fun too.


  • @jengosmonkey - Ring Craft is like what Gavalan Kennel Club Handling classes offer. Not many JR's here in No California, so would not be easy to find a JR to show for you. There are others that could step in and help if they don't have conflicts with other breeds or with other Basenjis.


  • @zande I REALLY appreciate your last post. You've given me more things to think about. Watching definitely helps. Little things experienced handlers do are so easy to miss. I don't know how good I'll ever get at doing everything correctly, but I certainly want to understand what's happening and what I'm seeing.

    @tanza There was one JR in our class with a beautiful little Pug. She was FAR more skilled than I, LOL, but I don't really want anyone else to handle Logan. I want to use the activity as a way for he and I to bond even more. To develop even more trust for one another. Well see how it goes. If the activity ceases to be fun for either one of us... we'll find something else to do. Life is short. 👍


  • @jengosmonkey I went to a Basenji Club Specialty show yesterday and paid special attention to novice handlers - some I know have been going to ring craft classes.

    Main faults were -
    Not making sure the dog was always on the side of the judge. Some handler had the dog in the wrong hand and so their legs were blocking the judge's view of their dog gaiting.
    Not having the show collar at the best position to keep the dog's head up if it was inclined to sag. I always have mine high under the cheek bones and once the dog is moving, slack the lead right off so it gaits naturally.
    No paying attention (!) and fiddling with the dog while the judge was actually walking down the line, looking to make a final placing.

    Mostly in puppy class, although some beginners were in Special Yearling having missed a show during puppyhood, thanks to Covid.


  • @zande - Agree with your comments... however to me the most important thing for new/novice owners/handlers is to have FUN! Shows can be stressful for novices, even for those are not "so called" novices... been there, done that... relax as you can and have fun.... DO NOT take what others tell you to heart.... look at their opinions but in the end remember everyone wants to win... If you know you have a good dog/bitch in the ring just be happy with a good performance from your Basenji and yourself. I always go in with the thoughts that I have the best dog in the ring ..... judge might not think so... but if you feel you gave it your best, that is the best you can ask for. And if some really "dis" your dog, to me that means they are "worried" about them... LOL.... In the end, have fun... there are many people that will support you... Make it fun for you and your Basenji.


  • Ah @zande, Thank you so much for taking the time to observe and share your insights. That was thoughtful. I think I've got the "keep the lead and the dog to your left" concept down. I've also been told not to cross the excess lead from my left to my right hand either. Been told it's a rookie red flag. Hold the entire lead in the left hand, period. It was funny... when in Santa Barbara I saw how high up on the neck handlers were keeping the choke chain and I immediately thought of you and many of the leash discussions we've had. Get control of the head. It was amazing how much more control I had doing that. In fact I picked up a couple 1 1/2" (3.8cm) wide martingale collars and have been using them for walks instead of the harnesses for most walks since getting back. If they get rowdy during a walk I slide it higher and they begin to behave. As far a paying attention... I get that. It's easy to get distracted. I have noticed that some handlers are super serious while others are rather casual. I hope to find a good balance. Again, great insights! 🙏

    And @tanza, I couldn't agree more. Logan and I will do this as long as it's fun. If it's not... we'll move on and find another activity. I love your philosophy and subscribe to it. First and foremost I love my Basenjis and for that matter... all Basenjis, even if they're a competitor. I love seeing them. All the different colors, coat patterns, ears, tails, vocalizations. I loved seeing them ALL and hearing their owners stories about their personalities, quirks, etc. For example, I thought that Princes Sparkle was a special kind of bitch. I learned and observed, No! No she isn't. In fact she's not a snowflake at all. She's just about exactly the same kind of bitch as all the others. 😂 But, I do get that shows are "Game Day", that even casual people get much more serious as show time approaches, and rightfully so. There definitely is a certain etiquette/respect in and out of the ring that's required even of novices. Still, I think it can be made to be fun with some thought. I also subscribe to the notion... participate by helping to create a world you want to live in. I love your thoughts. 👊 😁 👍


  • @tanza Absolutely ! Showing must be fun for the dog, even more than the handler ! I was only trying to point out a few things to @JENGOSMonkey cos he seems to be trying to learn -

    When a show involved a long (crated) drive and a long (crated) day at a show, I always made sure my pack was rewarded by being bed-dogs which they weren't normally at home, and taken for exciting long walks in the evening of the show and the morning before the drive home.


  • @jengosmonkey said in Logan Has a Trainee...:

    I've also been told not to cross the excess lead from my left to my right hand either

    If you use a fine show lead - I always used a Resco - you can fold it up in the correct hand and let it slip between your fingers once you get going - so the dog is on a slack lead - and it is very easy to gather it in again at need. Sometimes a dog will need a sharp jerk to get going but if you are confident, you can let the lead go slack and his head will come up and at the right speed, which you will learn with time, you can let him show off really sound, true Basenji movement. . . if it is there !!!


  • Logan and I had our second handling class last night. As much as I enjoyed the first one, the second one was more productive, yet wouldn't have been without the first if you know what I mean.

    I attempted to put everything together that I'd learned last week along with some of the feedback I learned here. One thing I noticed about myself is that I was trying to stack him way too fast. I have to take a breath and slow down. The trainer pointed out to me that if I move too fast I risk startling the dog and that's distracting to the judge. Of course it is. Common sense when you say it. A bit tougher in practice. I thought about that on the way home. It finally dawned on me that one aspect of handling is facilitating a relationship, albeit short, between the dog and the judge. I have to get better at staying out of the way, and it seems there are so many opportunities to do just the opposite.

    Things like holding the lead too taught while moving within the ring, leaving too much lead hanging, forgetting to hang the lead around my neck when stacking, setting the dog too close to me on the table such that he leans against me, not placing him close enough to the front edge of the table so that he nowhere to go when I go to adjust his rear legs, reaching low for his wrists rather than high at the elbow while stacking, etc. Also learned that I'm tall enough that I don't have to jog or run to get him to gate. I just need to take long strides.

    EDIT: Another skill that takes some practice... at least for me is holding the choke chain and jaw with one hand while adjusting the front foot position with the opposite hand (remember to adjust at the elbow and not the wrist!), then switching hands and doing the same with the other foot. Seems easy until you feel all the eyes on you while at the table and the dog isn't quite cooperating as well as you'd like because you set him too close to you and too far away from the front edge. Aaaaah!

    We need to work on his attention when we've had our table and movement turn and are back in line. He tends to want to wander around and not stay pointed forward. @tanza I remembered watching Jeff and Joy at the last show. Jeff would kneel beside her. I tried doing that and we were a bit more successful. And @Zande, you're correct. It helps to keep on eye on where the judge is so I can be ready and have him paying attention and stacked again when the judge approaches us in line.

    The kennel club people were really great last night as well. They were very welcoming and helpful. Logan and I have entered our first show. Well see if I can put it all together and stay out of the way.

    .


  • @jengosmonkey said in Logan Has a Trainee...:

    Also learned that I'm tall enough that I don't have to jog or run to get him to gate. I just need to take long strides.

    It detracts from the dog if the handler adopts some kind of abnormal gait. Some beginners use short, faster steps and to me that looks wrong. I maintain my normal walking and increase the length of my stride and speed to suit. The size of the ring is important insofar as in a small ring it is not possible to get up to speed before the corner approaches.


  • @zande said in Logan Has a Trainee...:

    From another thread...

    How is Ring Craft going ?

    btw - a couple of evenings ago, a large rabbit had been around my front garden - flower beds, borders and lawns. When I went out to play with the boys after their tea, they got the scent of the bunny and really quartered the ground, as a team, before both disappearing into the middle of one of the borders - to its detriment !

    I appreciate you asking! It's going pretty well. I'm putting the pieces together, but I wouldn't describe me as a natural. I still feel, and most likely look somewhat awkward. I've been practicing stacking him in front of a full length mirror both on a table and on the floor. That's helping.

    And, we have two classes left before we show in October. We'll do more classes together and then we'll have one last opportunity this year in November. I'm not expecting to do well at all. If he does it will be in spite of me! 😆


  • @jengosmonkey - Jeff and I will be there... and we will help you for sure, no worries... we have all been there, done that! I can show you how to gather the lead in one hand... can't wait to meet you....


  • @zande, Oh BTW... Yay for your team! Perhaps paint a small bunny on the back door following a successful hunt? 😆


  • @jengosmonkey I wish they would catch the bunny who has been ravaging my vegetables - but their most frequent successes are with squirrels. Although they do manage to escape by racing up trees, leaving Kito gazing upwards as he dances around the tree on his hind legs.

    This morning in the woods quite a group of people with dogs stopped to be entertained. The other dogs joined in the chase if not the dance.


  • @jengosmonkey Just relax, have fun (making sure the dogs have fun too !) and learn to weigh up the conflicting advice you are sure to get ! Run everything past Pat and Jeff who will be there to support you. Wish I could be ! It'd be great to meet up with you all.


  • Last night was our last training together before we show this weekend. I suppose it's ready or not time so to speak. I've been trying to break down the ring work into phases in my head: Entry into the ring, table stacking, 1st gaiting, gaiting in a group and finally free stacking. Judges seem to change things up and do things a little differently from one another, so listening is key. Even so, correctly interpreting what they're asking for, especially gaiting instructions can be a challenge if you're new and first in line. Don't be first in line! And, no matter how hard I try, how many times I remind myself, I just seem to always forget to gather the dang lead into my left hand after leaving the table. I know what needs to happen, but my mind races ahead and I end up skipping steps. It's aggravating and embarrassing.

    So, showing is so easy, I mean ya just stand yer dog up straight, trot it around the ring, stand in front of a marker and collect yer ribbons. Pretty simple. I'm a natural at fixing and building many things. Showing a dog? Not so much.

    Oh! I did figure out one new thing last night! It was called "giving the dog it's head" while gaiting. I discovered, with some coaching, that the key is a razors edge between letting the dog choose the speed, but not so fast that they break gait. And, that's the tricky part. Once they're trotting pretty good you release tension on the lead (e.g. drop the lead a little), so the dog can hold it's head in it's natural position while moving. But, now without tension you risk the dog breaking gait. Logan is really good at it, so I learned to let him be the boss during that phase. I will say that I've really enjoyed training with him for the last many weeks. So, whatever happens next is just frosting. We've had fun strengthening our trust relationship.


  • @jengosmonkey - Just a couple of pointers, since you will be the only entry (on Friday) things change a bit on the ring work. Typically the judge might just request that you immediately put the dog on the exam table. He/she will go over the dog and then ask for an up and back or maybe a triangle. At the end of that the judge will either have you do a free stack or just wave you to just go around in a circle. And you have no choice on being first in line, when you go in for Best of Breed, dogs typically are in first regardless of arm band number... dogs are first and in order of arm band number... you do not get a choice. You can also gather your lead before you lift your Basenji off the table... or if not take your time... you are not judged on how long it takes you to ready for the up/back. Hope that helps and looking forward to seeing/meeting you on Saturday. On Saturday you will be first in the ring for Best of Breed since you have the only male.... behind you will be the bitch (Jeff and my girl) and keep in mind she is in season... behind her will be winners dog and then winners bitch... so again, you have no choice where you want to be place in the beginning line up. Typically you go in and set up your dog as the judge will review the line up, then ask the class to circle the ring and the first dog in line to be put up on the exam table.


  • @tanza Thank you yet again! Sometimes half the challenge is just knowing what to expect. Although, sometimes half the fun is finding out as you go. Saturday ring time is 2:00, so I'm thinking I'll most likely show up about 12:00 to 1:00 at ring 2. Can't wait to meet you. Finally! 👊 😁 👍


  • @jengosmonkey - Don't get there too early, hour before ring time should be enough time... and be sure to take a crate so that Logan has a place to rest.... you don't want to have him on lead for hours before your ring time...you should be able to find shade hopefully by the ring area. Don't know if Jeff is planning to bring the pop-up since he now has the RV, but he is not bringing that this weekend. If we does, for sure you can share with us. See you there...


  • @jengosmonkey Best of luck to you and Logan... deep breathe, let the jitters slip away, and just get in the zone with your pup! Can't wait to hear all about it!

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