Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Re: How to train for the (USA) ring
If that's the case I would focus more on correct gaiting than the stacking. If he is in the working class they generally want to see different types of gaiting: slower laps, a fast lap on lead (the dog should really be pulling forward and driving from the rear), several normal laps, the off lead lap (which you would have to do anyway). Whether or not ring training effects placements and ratings often depends on the judge and how the other dogs are performing, but even my own dog who is somewhat ring trained (we don't do a lot of ring training but we simply enter shows as training) has been knocked places because of improper double handling (either I was too much, or I was not in the right place at the right time and the dog was looking bored or confused). My experience has been that the stacking is not nearly as important because the judges closely examine and touch the dogs, they can feel the bone structure and you really cannot "correct" faults with a good stack, it's mainly just to have the dog stand still so it can be examined. Pretty much everything that has been said to me about my dog, good or bad, were things that were either directly related to movement or as obvious during the movement as when the dog is stacked.
For stacking, you mainly want the dog used to being held still and placed, not that the dog has to develop muscle memory for the perfect position (they will not expect the dog to free stack as in the AKC/UKC ring), but simply so that you can quickly place the dog because the judge will be looking down the line and may look at your dog for all of 1 second and keep moving if the dog is not being presented. Doesn't have to be a perfect stack (I've seen some nasty stacks from "pro" handlers with top rated dogs), but it's more about you getting the practice setting him up pretty quickly.