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I want to be prepared before I ever start looking for a breeder. I won't just need to be prepared to start training once I pick up a puppy, I'll need to be prepared to convince both the breeder and myself that I can at least train the pup if not also handle him/her. I don't know if this changes things, but I will be looking for a breeder who breeds for longevity, is highly competitive in protection sports, and who also strives for good conformation. I would like the pup to seem like a finishable prospect, even if that means a professional handler.

I have experience training therapy dogs and raising foster puppies (including some from pretty scarring abuse cases), so I think I can handle the socialization. And let's see how I do in obedience, starting this winter! But conformation...should I go to handling classes dog-less? Should I go with a BYB dog ILP'd as another breed?

I want to learn as much as possible, above reading, about Dobermans!
 

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I would search for handling classes near you and call up the instructor, as they may have a dog you could borrow for classes. If not, maybe a friend or neighbour does? I took one of my pet boys to class before I got my show girl, and it was fine. He looked a little goofy mind you, next to the others in the class LOL.
 

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How should I train myself for conformation?

Bribe the judges (LOL), unless your a professional handler...that is why, I changed to OB competition.
- sadly, to much confirmation judging is like olympics figure skating / or what it use to be
The LITTLE GUY...is at a huge disadvantage...how you say "politics" ??
 

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I agree with Reds you could take the pet dog for classes to get the familiar with handling also look and see if there are any type of handling seminars in your area, I went to A George Alston seminar about 2 years ago, I don't do everything he suggests, just not my style but that is what you need to find out for yourself what you are comfortable with.

After going to some class, start making contacts I am not sure where you are located but check with local conformation clubs and see if anyone competes in UKC and see if anyone needs help (someone always needs help) showing a dog. UKC is more laid back than AKC and gives you an opportunity to get ring experience.
 
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How should I train myself for conformation?

Bribe the judges (LOL), unless your a professional handler...that is why, I changed to OB competition.
- sadly, to much confirmation judging is like olympics figure skating / or what it use to be
The LITTLE GUY...is at a huge disadvantage...how you say "politics" ??
Yes and no.

There are judges that will put up an owner who can competently show their dog. I know this first hand.

If you really want to do this your self, it can be done. There are breeders who will sell to you, but it might be harder.

You might even try to find a breeder who is also a handler. They will be able to help you and mentor you so that you can be competitive, and if it doesn't work out for you (ie, no talent or you decide you hate it), they can finish the dog.

I love showing my dogs, win or lose, and the times that we win totally make up for the times that I lose. When my dogs win, I know that it isnt because of the face that is handling them, its because they are nice and I did a good job!
 

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Check your doggie day care centers. Sometimes the staff is very show wise and can put you in touch with someone who will be able to help you, even if they can't. Canine Learning Center in Ft Collins, CO does all kinds of lessons and these are one of the classes.
 

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Yes and no.

I love showing my dogs, win or lose, and the times that we win totally make up for the times that I lose. When my dogs win, I know that it isnt because of the face that is handling them, its because they are nice and I did a good job!
This is how I feel exactly!
 

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I'd also find a pet dog that you can bring, I've been bringing my sisters neutered Papillon for about two years now. It makes it easier since he's a retired CH, so he doesn't look out of place, but if I hadn't just happened to have a retired CH sitting around I'd have brought any pet quality dog I could get my hands on.

And now I've made enough friends at class that I could just show up and know there would be a dog there for me- a few people even call me before class to make sure I can train their dogs. Just start going and see what happens :)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for all the helpful advice. My local kennel club offers handling classes. When you suggest going with a pet dog, would a non-doberman work?
 

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Absolutely, anything you can get your hands on. Like I said- I've mostly trained with a Papillon. I'm not pretending there's anything similar between handling them, but you still learn how a lot of the same things are done. If you can find a breed that's comparable to a Doberman in some ways (similar sized athletic breed like a Boxer or... german shorthair or something) that would be ideal, but I know that's not always possible, so just go with what you can find! Like I said, if you're lucky you might find someone who would let you train one of their dogs. Most of the time now I leave the Papillon at home and spend class with any of a number of Flat Coated Retrievers, not like a Doberman but I'm getting to train puppies now which is great experience for me.
 

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Yes and no.

There are judges that will put up an owner who can competently show their dog. I know this first hand.

If you really want to do this your self, it can be done. There are breeders who will sell to you, but it might be harder.

You might even try to find a breeder who is also a handler. They will be able to help you and mentor you so that you can be competitive, and if it doesn't work out for you (ie, no talent or you decide you hate it), they can finish the dog.

I love showing my dogs, win or lose, and the times that we win totally make up for the times that I lose. When my dogs win, I know that it isn't because of the face that is handling them, its because they are nice and I did a good job!

eventermal
- strong & honest response...to the concern I was projecting to maybe a newbie or less than a veteran dog handler.
- just showing for wins or place, even with the best DNA...may be few & far between...in the early stages

40 years ago...I gave up confirmation completely, to focus on obedience trials.
- it was too frustrating for me and having flipped my first vehicle (1949 Fargo Van) when I was in grade 12...headed to college / easy profit paid for 1/2 of my post secondary school tuition
(been in Sales all my life - so handling rejection...is not new to me & I can take it as part of the game...if their is somewhat of a level playing field)

I just want the poster to realize, you can always enter with the very best dog, and thinking a win is in hand - is not realistic.

Now that I am semi-retired, I am open to learning different venues of dobe competition...with the free time I have available.
I will start with another puppy from my Montreal breeder - but it's not fair to burden my senior girl / while her live to life is still so strong...and she is our only baby.

Unfortunately, my out of province breeder (& handler) is to far away to mentor me (15 hour round trip, by car)...nothing like this special attention and gifted learning would please me more.
Without professional & mentoring help, I like to focus on very early obedience training - and finishing all off-leash training...while the dog is still a pup. Doing this avoids the doberteen's !!

I loved showing my last dog in OB and I was thrilled with good scores, but not needing to win.
- confirmation and me, was not easy on my nerves...4 decades ago...lol.
OB is like a 100 yard dash...the person that crosses the finish line first, gets 1st place / taken out of the judges hand completely.

eventermal

ThkU for your most thoughtful post and I wish we were closer...I could have found a great teacher...to guide me, along the journey.
 

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Thanks beaumont. I want to be clear though, I am a newbie! I have been showing dogs for less than 2 years, and I am just one point away from finishing my first champion.
 
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