First Time Showing Help

Hi Everyone, I have decided to show my male basneji by me self for the first time. He has been in the ring with our handler aobut five times and has won himself a point. Sooooo….what I need help with is EVERYTHING.

I would greatly appreciate it if anyone could provide any insight on any of the questions below:

(1) Where do I get a show lead? Which one do I need? What size?
(2) What are the things I should not do in the ring?
(3) Is there anything I need to do in the ring?
(4) I know you can bring treats in to bait the dog, but how often should I let my dog have the treat?
(5) I am sure I have missed a bunch of stuff so anyhting else you can tell me is greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Is there a basenji club near you? I would think those folks would be most informative. Of course, others on here are as well. What about going to watch a dog show? I have found that you really can learn a lot by watching the showings. For example, at a recent show, a judge placed a dog and handler last when the dog pooped in the show ring. The judge said that the handler should have exercised his dog before coming into the ring. There are just so many interesting and informative things to watch at a dog show, and since you are concentrating on watching the handlers, you can watch any dog that is showing to get ideas. Bring a note pad with you and make notes. Dog shows provide a wealth of information.

I suggest looking for a conformation handling class in your area and going to a few classes, they will give you an idea about what is expected of you. You can do a search on the AKC site, if there isn't a local basenji club to give you advice/support, contact an all breed club. I go to all breed conformation classes, there are two in my area that hold weekly drop in classes that run for 1 hour and are $10.

Try to befriend someone you respect and feel comfortable with that will support and mentor you.

I just started showing this past July and I learn something new every time I go to class and every time I go into the ring. Sometimes it's what to do, sometimes it's what not to do, sometimes it's both.

As far as ring etiquette goes… You enter the ring in catalog (numerical) order and enter the line-up - if you are in front make sure you leave enough room behind you for the rest of the class, if you are behind someone make sure you don't crowd them. Make eye contact with the judge, and remember to SMILE - you are supposed to be having a good time. Typically the dogs enter the ring and are stacked, the judge will look them over and ask everyone to proceed to gait around the ring, first dog on the table to be examined. Some judges will ask everyone to go around together, some judges will ask you to go around one at a time. If you are in front and are going around together, it is polite to ask the person behind you if they are ready before you take off to 'gait' around to the table. If you are behind someone, make sure to leave enough space that you are not running up on their dog, when you begin moving your dog around the ring there is nothing worse than having to slow down once you get your dog moving because you are coming up too quickly behind someone. Different dogs and handlers move at different paces, it is up to you to decide how to best present your dog. If you are going around one at a time, make eye contact with the judge and proceed when you are motioned, some judges will do this verbally, some will wave a hand, or a finger, or nod, you need to be paying attention to the judge so you do not miss your signal. If you are first in line, you are first up on the table, as soon as you get around the ring you stack your dog on the table to be examined, be polite and remember to smile. Some judges will make small talk, some will give instructions, some will go over your dog without saying much. After the table you will be asked to move your dog for the judge. This can be a down & back, or a triangle, an L or other, it is the judges discretion. When you have performed the maneuver, you will stop in front of the judge and bait your dog or free stack if your dog knows how. The judge will typically make some kind of noise to get your dogs attention and then typically you are asked to go around the ring again. If you are in line behind someone, watch the dog(s) before you so you have an idea of what will be expected of you when its your turn. When the person in front of you takes their dog off the table and begins moving their dog for the judge to watch, that is the time to put your dog on the table and get them ready, rather than waiting until they are done because then the judge will be waiting on you to stack your dog and you don't want the judge waiting on you, it stresses you out and the dog will feel that stress. Once all the dogs have been examined and you are stacked in the lineup again the judge will either have made their decision or give you instructions on what to do next. Sometime you go around the ring all together, one at a time, or he will pull our certain dogs to go around together or separately. Keep smiling and do your best.

I hope that makes sense, and I hope I could help... But the best advise I can give is to go to some handling classes.

Every judge is different, so just be polite and pay attention. Watch the others and learn from them.

Good Luck

Was it a handler, or your boy's breeder? If breeder, they should be able to help you out with were to get things like leads and collars. Typically there are many vendors at shows that sell those items too.

And there are lots of good books on line about showing… also is there a kennel club near you that has handling/comformation classes?

Another option is a George Alston handling seminar - intensive 2 day clinic.

Thank you so much for all the information I will be reading and rereading them before the show.

Before when we had indy shown it was by a very good independant handler but we have decided to try ourselves since she is 800mi away. I will definetly call the breeder though.

Please keep the suggestions coming!

Tanzina what is your favorite book

One of them is dog showing, An Owner's Guide by Connie Vanacore… it is pretty old...ggg but then again, so am I

My big tip is to find a ring procedure that works for you and your dog. And then do the same exact procedure every time you enter the ring (table stack the same exact way, etc.) It will give both you and your dog more confidence in the ring, particularly when nerves set in.

Personal opinion…local kennel club conformation classes are great for learning ring procedures, moreso for yourself, but beyond that they may or may not be much help, depending on the club and your dog. I've run across some pretty old-school handlers in my kennel club whose methods I do not consider to be basenji appropriate (or for any breed for that matter). So, make sure you stand up for yourself and your dog if you come across a situation like that. If the teacher and the class are really supportive and embrace positive methods, then that is great. For me, it was more harm than good to keep going to class after a point. (Perhaps you can tell I had a really bad experience in handling class.) You want showing to be the most fun thing ever for your dog if you can manage it and not a drudgery that they have to endure. And eventually at some point, the dog knows what to do, and the dog doesn't need to go to class anymore and refining your technique can be done at home. (Quercus enlightened me with that idea, which I think is really true. Thanks, Andrea! :))

The other thing is just to be aware of what you are actually doing. This may sound simple but so much is going on when you first start doing this (i.e. check the tail, make sure the dog is stacked correctly, keep the neck up, what the heck is the judge doing, etc, etc.) that is easy to get distracted by one thing or another. Bait use, for instance, is a good example of this. Bait is great (and can be a bit of a crutch for me) for keeping your dogs attention, but if you are so occupied at using it you may not even notice that the judge is trying to look at your dog's head. And thus you may end up slightly annoying the judge... which I actually did in Sweepstakes at the National last year. You can even see the judge correcting me on the DVD :p).

Most of all, have fun!

Join MABC [Mid Atlantic Basenji Club].
Conformation classes.
But, really you should contact the breeder and get info from them.
Good luck!

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