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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-01-2009, 08:52 AM Thread Starter
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Show handling

At what age (pup's age) should I take my pup to handling classes for the conformation show ring? I have no handling experience.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-01-2009, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by jimtc View Post
At what age (pup's age) should I take my pup to handling classes for the conformation show ring? I have no handling experience.
You are probably required to have all of your puppy's shots completed before beginning any class. I started my last puppy at around 4 months of age, but, trained him at home doing baby show training from the time he was about 4 weeks old! By the time we went to formal classes, he was leash broken and could gait, freebait and would stand four square! He was a natural born show puppy! Always had his tail wagging and his ears up....make it all happy and possitive for your puppy! Make sure you have a great instructor teaching the class who knows how to help with puppy stuff. Good luck with your puppy!
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-01-2009, 10:18 AM
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George Alston (one of the most reknowned professional dog handlers - now retired - also a long time doberman owner) preaches that you should never do any formal show training with puppies that are teething. In dobermans, this is often between ages 3-6 months. Their mouth hurts and forcing them to do anything show related could make them hate showing. He suggests doing training before 3 months, then between 3-6 months work on the dog's general manners, walking on a leash, being 'good little ladies and gentlemen' - then pick up where you left off once done with teething (teething is still going on after they lose all their baby teeth, takes a while for adult teeth to set in jaw). This theory of his is often challenged, but I know I've personally had a lot better time training my dogs when I've followed this rule (I'm sure most people can attest to how they 'ruined' their very first show dog - this is often why! I know we did). Occasionally stacking them here or there during that age isn't a big deal etc, but a training session lasting any length of time could be problematic. How'd you like to be forced to stand still while you have a hurty mouth?

I'd also suggest attending one of George Alston's handling seminars before ever setting foot in a handling class, for a list of his upcoming seminars check out Home .

Chelsea James

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-01-2009, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by RaindanceIGs View Post
George Alston (one of the most reknowned professional dog handlers - now retired - also a long time doberman owner) preaches that you should never do any formal show training with puppies that are teething. In dobermans, this is often between ages 3-6 months. Their mouth hurts and forcing them to do anything show related could make them hate showing. He suggests doing training before 3 months, then between 3-6 months work on the dog's general manners, walking on a leash, being 'good little ladies and gentlemen' - then pick up where you left off once done with teething (teething is still going on after they lose all their baby teeth, takes a while for adult teeth to set in jaw). This theory of his is often challenged, but I know I've personally had a lot better time training my dogs when I've followed this rule (I'm sure most people can attest to how they 'ruined' their very first show dog - this is often why! I know we did). Occasionally stacking them here or there during that age isn't a big deal etc, but a training session lasting any length of time could be problematic. How'd you like to be forced to stand still while you have a hurty mouth?

I'd also suggest attending one of George Alston's handling seminars before ever setting foot in a handling class, for a list of his upcoming seminars check out Home .
Very good point! I think it should be closer to 4 months, but maybe not, maybe the mouth is hurting even before they start losing their baby teeth?
It's definitely something to think about and to take into consideration.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-01-2009, 03:15 PM
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Very good point! I think it should be closer to 4 months, but maybe not, maybe the mouth is hurting even before they start losing their baby teeth?
It's definitely something to think about and to take into consideration.
I can never remember exactly when the dobes start teething, I know it's earlier than my IGs which start around 3.5-4 mos. I think the dobes their mouths start to get hurty around 3months, then figure they'll still hurt a bit a month or 2 after all the adult teeth are in.

What I do with my pups to get them used to the 'show experience' is just bring them along to a dog show so they can walk around and get used to the sights and sounds (not on show lead), bring treats and have people feed them, and make it a good time. They can learn to be good puppers and walk on a leash, and maybe 'stand still' (and not jump) as people pet them. Let them see how FUN a dog show can be. So, there's plenty of show-related things you certainly can do - but handling class with a cranky baby (imagine trying to train a cranky toddler) *could* equal disaster. No, it might not ruin every dog as there's plenty of people out there who believe in attending handling classes with babies and it seems to work for some people - but there shouldn't really be any huge rush to get a 4 month old pup totally show trained, dobes are one of the most intelligent breeds of dogs - so by waiting until the dog is 7 months old for formal training, they're very trainable still.

But, this method has worked for me whether I was training a puppy that I'd be showing myself (mostly my other breed) or if this were a dog to be shown by a handler (dobe) - who would normally bring the dog out for the first time between 7-8 mos for their first show weekend.

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-01-2009, 04:50 PM
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I started handling classes at about 3-4 months, BUT did not try to do everything in the class ..... maybe actually only "worked" about 10 or so minutes and then spent a lot of time sitting it out and just getting him used to being in a class atmosphere. We slowly worked up to doing more and I only went a couple time a month - it is a pay as you go class.

I don't do rabies shots till 6 months, but did not have any problem finding classes that would take me without it - as long as I had it at 6 months.

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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-06-2009, 12:27 PM
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show handling is harder than I thought!!

Man,this is not as easy as you pros make it look!! I'll take the obedience ring any day!LOL
This is my first show pup. I just finished a novice handling class and let me say,it was fun! But I had no idea what was involved. I definitely have a new respect for the breed ring!
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-06-2009, 12:45 PM Thread Starter
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Man,this is not as easy as you pros make it look!! I'll take the obedience ring any day!LOL
This is my first show pup. I just finished a novice handling class and let me say,it was fun! But I had no idea what was involved. I definitely have a new respect for the breed ring!
Could I ask how old your pup is?
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-06-2009, 01:13 PM
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Could I ask how old your pup is?
She's 4 months
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