You are considering show dog training, but what do you need to know? Those beautiful dogs you see look like they are having fun don’t they? That is because they are! Dog training is all about positive reinforcement and knowing their specific breed. Consider dog showing as your dog’s ‘job’, he has to love what he does in order to be successful! But how do you make your dog love his job? Read on for some tips on what you need to know about training your dog to be a show dog.
Is Show Dog Training Right for You?
Clicker training: You may hear this a lot while watching show dog shows. It sends a non-emotional message to your dog meaning that when he hears the clicker he knows the behavior he did was one that pleased you, and a treat or reward is forthcoming. You have to be very attentive to your dog and ready to click. But how do you start clicker training? It is actually not very difficult. You must set up a few training sessions with your dog so he can learn to understand what the click sound is. Click and give a treat. Do this about 10 times in each session. You want to make sure you change up your location when you practice, so he does not associate the location with the click and treat. You want him to learn that a click means a treat, no matter what. Keep training sessions short, about 3 minutes is long enough.
There are 3 core behaviors of a show dog, gaiting, stacking and examination. What does all that mean? And how do you train your dog to follow those behaviors?
Gaiting: Seems easy enough, walking beside you without pulling, but it is so much more than that. You want him to walk beside you without pulling on the lead, but he also must keep his head up, not sniffing the ground or looking at your while you walk. His head and tail must be raised properly for his specific breed. This can all be done with clicker training. It is important to know details about his breed. In order to be a show dog, he needs to move at the proper speed for his breed as well as be positioned correctly beside you without pulling on the lead. This is important so he can be judged as he moves along.
Stacking: This simply means he stands as he should for his breed. And he needs to stand still while being looked over. There are 2 types of stacking. Free stacking is when the dog can find the correct position on his own. Hand stacking is just that, you manipulate the dog to where he needs to be.
Examination: The examination is done by the judge for proper structure of the dog based on his breed. The bottom line is you want to get your dog used to being touched, everywhere. Places such as teeth and testicles are something the everyday pet owner may not think about, but he will be touched by the judges in these areas. Start early and use words to let him know what is coming. For example, when you want to look in his mouth simply say ‘mouth please’ and that will let him know what you are going to do next so you do not surprise him.
It takes a lot of attention and patience to train your dog to be a show dog, but it is not impossible. It is much like training your dog to just be a well behaved dog. It’s a wonderful thing for you and your dog to get into if you are interested!
Do you show your dogs? What are some insider tips you can pass along for show dog training? Share your experiences below.