Unable to take a conformation class beforehand...any tips? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-14-2019, 04:14 AM Thread Starter
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Unable to take a conformation class beforehand...any tips?

So because I live in the U.P where we are pretty cutoff from everything, I don't have a way to enter Dean and myself into any conformation classes. The closest ones are 2-3 hours away, one way, and in the winter, thats just not possible really.
So I am going alone with this. Trying to get some tips and tricks from handlers and such.
I was watching Westminster the other night, and kind of stressed myself out lol
I realize the shows I get to won't be nearly as big or as important as Westminster, but I started thinking about how I haven't been able to get him into classes, and how he has been going through this phase of not wanting to listen (He is almost 10 months old) and how he seems to be more dog focused than focusing on me, even though we have been working on the focus command since he came home at 9 weeks, how for every one day he seems to get the idea of being stacked, he has two where he acts like he has never heard of it before, and honestly 1,000 other things.
I am just psyching myself out I know, but I was wondering if anyone else has not taken handling classes, and how it turned out?
Did your dog do ok, or did they go crazy? What were some things you worked on before hand?
Thank you you guys <3
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-14-2019, 05:04 AM
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Please don’t feel too bad I live in NJ and most AKC German shepherd dog clubs are 2-3 hours away. We have a Way Up North(how many of you are singing that song now) and Way down South German shepherd dog clubs with nothing in between and joining wouldn’t be a problem if you are not 2&3 shift workers so you can’t make the meetings. UKC says there are no UKC clubs/shows in NJ. Most training classes is agility and obedience(all on the 2&3 shifts that I work) with a few scent classes here(nice) and there and I will be lucky to find tracking classes. Also prices differ too much between Dog training group classes=both group training 4 -6 weeks 100-150$ another for same everything classes $300-400(why).Your right it is not easy but it could be worst you could belong to the horse world with just jumping, jumping, boring jumping stables here in NJ and nothing at all for senior citizens, no Driving classes in this state with Western and Dressage very few again Way Up North and Way down South. Good luck
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-14-2019, 07:44 AM
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If it makes you feel any better, Scarlet never went to class. She was 14 months at her first show. A young handler friend came over, worked with her for literally 15 minutes in my front yard, the week before the show. Scarlet went Best of Breed first time out, and managed not to embarrass anyone, lol.
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~ Diane ~

CARLY ......... Ch. Lauremi's No Reservations (AKC GCh pointed, HIC)
SCARLET ..... Lauremi's Almost Wasn't (AKC pointed)
and absent friends... SAGE ~ Lauremi's Whim Z v Jakmar ~ AKC major ptd, HIC ~ 2010-2015
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-14-2019, 07:53 AM
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It was mentioned by a poster on a similar thread here -to join the ckc also- continental kennel club which have confirmation shows which are more relaxed and can be a good way to practice before you go out and do the akc shows.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-14-2019, 08:36 AM
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I'm taking a conformation class this time around with my puppy, but with Katsu I just jumped in. I had a basic idea of how to stack (no where near where I am now) and she free stacked herself pretty well without training. We didn't do to well the first two shows, but to be fair, Katsu wasn't used to the attention and I was a jumbled mess. Our 3rd we took BoB and Group 1 in UKC. She's spayed now so her conformation career is over. I'm hoping Steel will do well once he stops being in his awkward high butt stage.


I do want to say Denise Fenzi's Dog Sports Academy has 2 self study classes for conformation if you are interested in trying to learn on your own. I considered it until I saw a class come up at a nearby AKC club.https://www.fenzidogsportsacademy.co...p/courses/3705 and https://www.fenzidogsportsacademy.co...p/courses/3706


I've also been stacking my puppy, taking a pic and asking my breeder for a critique (in his conformation and my stacking skills). She has provided valuable feed back that made me change up a few things. Maybe that might be an option for you too (with your breeder or another willing to help, of course).
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+ Blackthorn's Out of the Frying Pan NW1 ORT SEN SCN BCAT SIN RATN TKN (Katsu) 9/12/2017
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-14-2019, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Datura View Post
I started thinking about how I haven't been able to get him into classes, and how he has been going through this phase of not wanting to listen (He is almost 10 months old) and how he seems to be more dog focused than focusing on me, even though we have been working on the focus command since he came home at 9 weeks, how for every one day he seems to get the idea of being stacked, he has two where he acts like he has never heard of it before, and honestly 1,000 other things.

When my friend took Scarlet out front, and tried to stack her on the sidewalk, more than once that dog fell over in a big heap, AND cried. My friend said “ oh no! I made a German Shepherd cry!” LOL. I told her she’s a dramatic dog, just prop her back up and make her do it. Once we got to the dog show (and I deliberately picked this small show) she was fine. To be honest, she’s been around a lot of dogs before, and spent the day at a couple of shows as a spectator, before she was ever shown.
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~ Diane ~

CARLY ......... Ch. Lauremi's No Reservations (AKC GCh pointed, HIC)
SCARLET ..... Lauremi's Almost Wasn't (AKC pointed)
and absent friends... SAGE ~ Lauremi's Whim Z v Jakmar ~ AKC major ptd, HIC ~ 2010-2015
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-14-2019, 11:33 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you guys.
We have an AKC kennel club an hour away, but they stopped offering conformation classes when no one came. Our closest GSD club is like 5 hours away, but they offer free classes haha
And there are no gsd people in the club lol
I have been watching a lot of youtube videos on stacking a gsd and how to show in general. A lot of Eric Salas.
I plan on getting into UKC shows first, I have heard they are more forgiving of new handlers, and West German Show Lines (What Dean is lol), and then once we have a bit of experience dip our feet into the AKC rings.
When Dean was about 6 months old me and my sister got to shoot a Bull terrier specialty show down by Detroit, so Dean was able to experience dozens of Bull terriers being Bull terriers lol He was a little freaked out, but settled quick lol And then we went and walked around an all breed show for an hour or two. Mostly around the venders. He did have some little Schipperke got after him, and freaked him out. But other than that he did great.
I have been trying to get him out where there are bigger crowds. Hard to do here in a small town lol
I can see Dean trying and succeeding on pulling me around the ring after the other dogs, or being a sassy butt head, or something lol
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-15-2019, 09:27 AM
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You’ll be fine! Don’t concentrate on him behaving like a seasoned show dog, and more on making it a fun experience for both of you. He’s a puppy, so a certain amount of shenanigans is accepted. In her first show, Scarlet nipped at her handler’s leg the entire first pass around the ring, lol. Her second show, she bounced. She still bounces when she comes to a stop, but it’s kind of cute, so whatever. It’s way better to have a dog with a wild “look at me” attitude, than one that acts like you beat him out on the parking lot.

My breeder told me that she thought they had overtrained their first show dog. He didn’t find any of it fun at all. He was a nice dog, and was a champion, but not a fan. On the other hand, if I say “dog show” at my house, I have to peel them off the front door they get so excited. Weirdos, lol.
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~ Diane ~

CARLY ......... Ch. Lauremi's No Reservations (AKC GCh pointed, HIC)
SCARLET ..... Lauremi's Almost Wasn't (AKC pointed)
and absent friends... SAGE ~ Lauremi's Whim Z v Jakmar ~ AKC major ptd, HIC ~ 2010-2015
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-16-2019, 01:03 AM Thread Starter
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You’ll be fine! Don’t concentrate on him behaving like a seasoned show dog, and more on making it a fun experience for both of you. He’s a puppy, so a certain amount of shenanigans is accepted. In her first show, Scarlet nipped at her handler’s leg the entire first pass around the ring, lol. Her second show, she bounced. She still bounces when she comes to a stop, but it’s kind of cute, so whatever. It’s way better to have a dog with a wild “look at me” attitude, than one that acts like you beat him out on the parking lot.

My breeder told me that she thought they had overtrained their first show dog. He didn’t find any of it fun at all. He was a nice dog, and was a champion, but not a fan. On the other hand, if I say “dog show” at my house, I have to peel them off the front door they get so excited. Weirdos, lol.
I don't plan on getting into the ring until this spring, so hopefully we have enough time to learn to stack at least lol
I don't expect him to become a champion or anything like that, I am just doing this because it looks like fun. I watched my first Westminster show when I was 14 (So many many years ago lol) on tv, and I was hooked. But until Dean, I haven't had a dog that I could take into the ring. I just kind of gave up on the idea until I went with my sister to her shows. She got a show Bull terrier pup a couple years ago, and I was bit by the show bug again lol

I really want to thank you for taking the time to help ease my anxiety about this. I have the bad habit of over thinking things, and freaking myself out.
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