Check facebook under San Diego Basenji.
There is a meeting once a month in Encinitas.
Logan Has a Trainee...
Seems there's a Kennel Club near my town that I didn't previously know about until recently. I learned that they have Conformation Handling and Obedience classes. Logan and I participated in the Handling class yesterday evening. We had a great trainer, who's an experienced handler, was very patient with me, and was a terrific coach.
I'm also glad Logan still seems to remember what to do. I'm very certain that I looked more than awkward trying to stack him on the table. Seems so simple when watching an experienced handler do it. A bit more complicated in practice.
We also practiced patterns... triangle, circle, diagonal up and back. Still trying to figure all that out. I still need much more practice. Kinda fun though. We'll be back next Tuesday and see if we've improved together.
tanza last edited by tanza
@jengosmonkey - Good for you! I think that is wonderful especially since you have now been to shows and see how it is done... I remember when I was a rookie with my first two, thank goodness that I had my breeders for mentors... LOL way back in the early 70's. You have it easy with Logan... he knows what he should do... I hS two puppies that between me and them, we didn't have a clue... There will be shows in Vallejo, Ca at the Solano Fairgrounds the first weekend in November. On Saturday will be the BCONC Designated Specialty with Sweep Stakes if you would like to come? I think (you need to ask her) that Stella might be planning on coming..... PM me or email me directly for more information, email can be found at my website listed below
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@tanza When I showed Tamu as a senior puppy all she wanted to do was chase the dogs in front of her or look at the ones behind her! I was green and had no clue, but fortunately her breeder was able to take her in the ring for me much of the time, and she got her Canadian championship relatively easily, with little help from me.....I did have to show her in the sighthound specialty where she got the points she needed, but by then her behaviour was much improved and I had a better idea of what was required. (she beat out two U.S. champion bitches to take best of opposite, her half brother took best of winners, and her father took the breed!)
Stella was telling me that many times people will send Juniors in with Champions to make it easier on them. I’m in a similar boat and admit that I like having the life preserver. One thing that’s clear… keeping the choke chain up high to the head certainly puts my dogs into working mode. They walk much more nicely and stay focused longer. No more sled dog. Nothing I taught them. That’s all Stella.
@jengosmonkey We call it Ring Craft and most towns, villages, areas have their own weekly sessions. Great for young puppies and novice handlers. Even if you never intend to show, these classes are great for socialising your dog and teaching it basic skills.
@Zande Ring Craft. Not a term I've heard before, but it make sense. Thanks for that. Any pointers or advice you might have would be most appreciated.
Zande last edited by Zande
@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.
Zande last edited by Zande
@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.
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.
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.
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.
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.