While I did not get Kazee with the intention of showing breed, he is so nicely put together, it may be an option later. I believe dogs are smart enough to figure out the difference between doing breed and obedience, so I don’t worry about teaching both at the same time. And, really, is it the end of the world if your puppy happens to sit in the breed ring?
Funny story…when Gunner was a little over six months old, I had the opportunity to go to a George Alston handling seminar. Being new to the breed ring (I had never even taken a handling class, let alone shown a dog in the breed ring), I jumped at the chance to take a weekend seminar from someone who I had heard so much about. Yes, I’d been warned he yelled at people, made people cry, etc., but I was excited anyway. On day one, I made the mistake of stacking my puppy with my back to Mr. Alston. All of a sudden, I realized he was yelling at someone, “I’m not here to judge YOUR backside!” Unfortunately, I think he had already said it three or four times before I heard him…and then realized he was speaking to me. Oops! I muttered an apology and switched sides to stack my dog.
Anyway, off topic…If you have ever heard Mr. Alston speak, you know he does not want your dog watching you AT ALL while you gait. As it was easy to inadvertently teach your dog to look at you while moving when using food, he did not use it. We all then practiced our (non-food) gaiting several times while learning procedural things. Later, during a break, a friend asked me how Gunner’s obedience was coming along. Since we had some time, I switched his collar and lead out and showed them how well his attention heeling looked. Suddenly I realized that someone else was watching me…yes, across the room was Mr. Alston. He went back to speaking to whomever he was talking to, but approached me a few minutes later. “You heard me talking about not teaching your dog to watch you, correct?” Swallowing hard, I answered “yes”. He leaned in and whispered “That doesn’t apply to this dog.” Then he turned around and walked away. So much for being a tough guy. 😉 Actually, any dog can learn the difference, it just comes down to how well WE differentiate between the two requirements.
Back to Kazee…in case we decide to play in the breed ring later, I have started to teach him how to stand still (which he will need for obedience and breed). I’m not worried about formal stacking right now, I just want him to learn that standing still will earn him a click and treat. Standing still should be just as fun for him as wiggling backwards in a down or a scoot sit. This will help give me a great attitude while he struts around at the end of his lead or free stacks in the ring. I’m not holding his head still or forcing him to stay standing. If he sits, I just start over, I don’t lift him by his rear and force him into a stand position. I will be teaching him a formal “stand from a sit” later for obedience, but I am not going to ruin anything by some informal work now.
Lesson one –
Next thing I need to work on…teaching him to stick his head into his snood for dinner without having to be wrangled into it! But it is a pretty funny way to start mealtime. 🙂
Train hard. Play harder!!!!!