Sunday, April 5, 2009

Things to Work on....

....from various sources. Thank you Baledwr, Katrin, Penni, Jenn, and Cat!

Stand more in front of him so he doesn't have to turn his head to look at you while in line.

In the very beginning, I would try to stand in front of Bug, not at heel position. He is looking up at you during the judge's first look, so the judge can't really see his head or expression at all. If it's a judge that puts a lot of importance on head/expression... well, there you go.

Lesson/tip: Don’t stay in heel position. Move in front of Bug while waiting in line.

On the table …. I would try to hold your bait hand down a little lower.

When Bug is on the table, I would try to get a little more control over his head. Pause the video at 1:21, THAT is the judge's second impression of your dog, and although his feet are in all the right places (c/t, good handler!), his head is tilted up and his ears are back. I would use my left hand to hold up his collar. If you're controlling his head a little bit more on the table, he'll also be less likely to move his feet on the table.

Also, it might help if you move in front of him as soon as the judge has examined his mouth so that he can look at the person he loves. ALWAYS smile at him. Our dogs read our expression and if we look stressed, they sure aren't going to look happy!

Lesson/tip: Hold bait lower, move in front of Bug once judge has examined his head/mouth, hold collar.

... just need to keep an eye on him and make sure he isn't schrunching up his back feet.

The one thing I saw to watch for is that when you free stack Bug he likes to pull his rear foot on the judge’s side out of place and put it forward, which screws up his top line and tail set.

It looked like his judge side rear foot was turned out a little.

Lesson/tip: Work on keeping his rear foot, judge side in the right place. Work on him being comfortable with me handling his hock to move said foot (right now he’ll sit if I touch his hock. Goober.)

With the freestack at the end of the down-and-back, again, his head is too far up.

Lesson/tip: Possibly kneel to bait him so he isn’t looking UP at me, or toss treat.

… on the first go around is that you could have given the illusion of moving out more...give the (slow) dog in front of you time to get going and room before you move so that you don’t have to hold your dog up when you catch up to him.

Do not move out directly on the heels of the person in front of you. Allow the first person to go, count to three, then start your dog.

Lesson/tip: Count to three, breathe and then move out.

I did not see you ever move Bug fast enough. You need to match your stride to his body length as he moves so that you do not distract from the dog.

Lesson/tip: Practice matching my stride to his body length.

Thank you all for the feedback. this is very helpful. I now have a list of things to work on!


Joanna said...

OK, this is coming from someone who stinks as a handler herself but has spent so many thousands of dollars on handlers that I feel qualified to be a back-seat handler :). So take it for what it's worth.

I think everyone has covered the main points--the only thing I'd suggest is that you not grab his hocks and pull his rear legs back, but instead put your hand on his stifle and PUSH the rear leg back. Most dogs don't like being moved by the hocks, but if they're pushed by the stifle they sweep their rear out much better.

Bug has a ton of rear angles. He could honestly go further back in the rear than he is, and create a beautiful outline with a strong topline. If you encourage him to extend his stifles he'll look great.

Other than that, just breathe. Every time you have to change his position--when you're getting him off the table to the floor, when you're doing an individual go-round, even when you are in the corner getting ready to do the back after you've done the down, STOP. Take a breath. Adjust the collar so it's way up under his jaw; re-gather the lead. Smile. THEN move.

Watch the other handlers--that's what they do. It allows you to control his head much better (he's putting it down a lot, taking a lot of lead away from you, and he doesn't look as good with his head down--until he gets his head up consistently you should be letting him have about half the lead he's taking right now) and it centers and calms you and him so you both look your best as you begin to move.

I was supposed to be at that show (sniff!). I see everybody I know :).

You have a LOVELY dog, and you're not doing a bad job with him. You don't look out of place (which is what I very definitely did for my first half a dozen shows). He could have looked like the best dog in the ring, without question. I am sure he's going to get pointed to soon.

Jules said...

Thanks, Joanna. I will try both methods and see which one works better with Bug. Now if I can just remember to breathe AND smile!

Nancy said...

It is really helpful to know what it is you need to work on. It is half the battle! Good luck!!

Jules said...

Thanks, nancy! I agree.