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DS230: Conformation Skillbuilding 1

Instructor: Sue Ailsby

Course Details

"Conformation classes" usually involve a lot of walking around in circles, stopping, and showing your dog's teeth to somebody. That's fine as far as it goes, but what about all the skills the dog needs to show himself to his best advantage?

Hand stacking, free stacking, shifting centre of gravity, giving attention and expression, gaiting, baiting, being comfortable with being examined - as well as incidental arts such as relaxing on the grooming table, sleeping quietly in a crate, and peeing on cue - these are skills which divide winners from "cannon fodder" in the show ring.

This class is divided into Conformation Skillbuilding 1 and Conformation Skillbuilding 2. The two semesters will take you from rank beginner to competent owner-handler. Better yet, they'll take your dog from cheerful bouncer to competent show dog!

The best handlers always look like they're doing nothing at all, that they're only there because it isn't legal for the dog to be in the ring alone. That's because the best handlers have dogs trained so the handler is able to sit back and let the judge and gallery see the dog on display, rather than a handler struggling to get a dog to stand still. The best dogs look like they know what they're doing and do it naturally.

If you're ready to teach your dog to show everybody the best he can be, this class is for you. This is not a showmanship class. The training here is for your dog. You've seen dogs in the ring who don't know why they're there, don't know what's going to happen next, and don't know why the judge is staring at them. And you've seen them lose. I can't guarantee that training your dog will make him win in the show ring, but I can guarantee that without training, you're wasting your time and money. Nobody in any other dogsport would take an untrained dog in the ring. Why should you?

It's called a dog SHOW, right? Go in there and show them what a well-trained, happy, confident dog looks like! 

This first 6-week session in Conformation Skillbuilding will work in three areas: focus, hand stacking, and gaiting on the circle. Grooming and handling questions are welcome as well.