Sunday, April 5, 2009

Day 2: Better

Yesterday there were fewer handler errors, but we did nothing. I was happy though to not have made the same mistakes I did on Friday (I think I made new ones!).

Two things I would like to change, okay maybe three.

Once Bug was off the table I am not clear I stood him in the correct place. When the other handler went to place her dog in line after being on the table, it was tight and awkward. I am going to ask her today if there was a better or more correct place to stand and free stack Bug.

On the down and back I did remember to free stack my dog (but I think the judge might have already made up his mind as he gave Bug a VERY cursory glance). I wish I had done it just a wee bit sooner. I feel like we were kind of under the judge's feet.

Third, the first trip around the ring gaiting. We must have been gaiting slow as the other handler and dog ran up our butt. This didn't happen on Friday (with the same dog/handler), but did happen yesterday and wasn't comfortable. I am sure it doesn't look good either? But of course I don't know!

My friend Michele is going to come with me today and video tape it so I can share with Holly, Katrin, and Kerry to see if there are any absolutely glaring mistakes. Otherwise I have the feeling this is just the way the game is played.

I will say, for a performance person, the subjectivity of it all is hard. I am SEARCHING for things to fix, but even with everything "fixed" it might not matter!


Cat, Tessie, & Strata said...

A -lot- of people make the mistake of freestacking too close to the judge. I see it all the time. A good rule of thumb is that if the judge suddenly fell forward and landed flat on his face, you would want your dog to be where his head would land. So 4'-6' in front of the judge, depending on the judge's height.

Even if you -were- gaiting slow, the handler behind you should've left more room in the first place. If you notice that happening, you can take a shorter arc around the ring (so don't go all the way out to the ring gates, cut in some) so that your path is a little shorter. Speed up only if it won't make your dog look like crap. I don't know the intentions of the person behind you, of course, but a few people will do that to make you/your dog look bad.

Jules said...

Thanks, Cat - that's a great rule of thumb. Very easy to remember with the visual image. I wouldn't have wanted yesterday's judge to fall on Bug - he was a tall guy!

Also, VERY interesting i.e. the gaiting. If it happens today I will cut corners to make up some time. Bug and I haven't practiced with me running and him gaiting - I didn't think I was supposed to be running with my breed. I worry if I picked up my speed too much (w/o practicing it) he would start loping. I have seen handlers running with the cardis a few times this weekend. Maybe 2 or 3 handlers out of 10? So pretty low percentage, but still.

Thanks for the tips. Paws are crossed that today is better than yesterday.

penni said...

There are handers who deliberately run up on the dog in front of them. Often it makes that dog start watching over his/her shoulder. It's bad sportsmanship, BUT depending on how brave you feel, you can tell that handler it might not be a good idea because his/her dog could get kicked in the mouth.

You should have someone watch you gaiting Bug -- both down and back and taking the dog around, and help you adjust to show the dog at his best coming/going speed and his best side gait speed (they are not necessarily the same speed).

It takes practice -- if a club near you has conformation classes/drills, go to them. Use matches for practice. A video review with someone who understands conformation showing is a huge help.

Watch classes befoe or after yours. Make note of what you like and what you don't. Incorporate the good things into your presentation. Finally try to find a mentor in the breed who will hwlp you understand what the judge wants to see and hoe you can help him/her see those things about your dog.

Breathe and smile -- have fun and it will travel down the lead.

Jules said...

Thanks, Penni. I have been going to a handling class, but am thinking I might try to attend a second class - with a different instructor - just to get more feedback and info.

I don't think I can do matches with Bug 'cause he has three majors. Is that incorrect? I would LOVE to have an opportunity to get some more feedback!

Very interesting about handlers running up behind you - I wouldn't expect it! And that it is well known/common tactic.

Maybe if you're willing to look at it, I'll send you the video from today, too?

I promise I will breathe!! Altho I thnk I have been forgetting to smile! Interesting. I felt much more relaxed yesterday - I had my mental list of what NOT to do and I felt like I handled Bug better than Friday. :-)

Dawn said...

Keep in mind it is so very subjective, its what the judge is looking for. And what the judge likes. Yesterday we showed and tanked too. It happens, but I alsowas look at the bright side- it just means I get to play with my dog a little longer, and that is the best part.

Jules said...

I will admit that Bug seems to enjoy it - and as long as he is happy than I am happy.