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Importance of Conformation Classes & Matches

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154 – May, 2018

by William Given

For breeders, owner-handlers and especially novices, training classes and puppy matches are complimentary learning modalities which bring growth and are driven by the quest for excellence. There is not a single one of us who can honestly predetermine the ring career of a four-month-old puppy, presumably of show quality? It would be a gross injustice to “brand” a puppy or young dog that, for reasons unknown, decided to become a tail-dragger, or chose to go belly-down or even belly-up in the ring, as being of no worth because the little lad or young lady has had an attack of “ring nerves” (which frequently befalls whoever is handling, also.) Understanding such quirks and nerves are normal and that they must be blended with what is required and then synthesized to create a reliable performance in the ring. And, it is through conformation classes and puppy matches that we help minimize these quirks and guide them into the correct channels.

There must be concessions made, as it is within these compromises that the quality of “ring control” is realized. It is through repetition that successful ring performance becomes established as familiar routine. Each and every training class and appearance in the match ring should be regarded as a serious attempt to teach, and to extract from, the puppy, its best. Therefore, a puppy match should not take on the appearance of a three-ring circus, with squeaky gadgets dangled under the pupil’s nose, or the handler dancing about, encouraging the pupil to cavort and evade purposeful instruction. Such distractions are blatant breaches to those who are seriously intent upon receiving a good day’s value of correct puppy training.


Some puppies are flyers and really enjoy showing. Some young dogs are just okay with dog shows and do what is asked of them because they enjoy spending time with their human, and others do not like it much at all. It is through continuous reexamination and reshaping that we instill in our dogs the required attitude toward correct ring manners. We all know that this is not an overnight achievement, nor is it a certainty, for there are personalities and moods which must be reckoned with each day. It is within these moods that today’s winner can become tomorrow’s “also ran.” There is far too much discouragement and disgruntlement displayed if a puppy becomes a “filler.” Actually, puppy competition is the means by which we train, evaluate and strive toward greater quality.

Click here to read the complete article
154 – May, 2018

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Posted by on May 14 2018. Filed under Current Articles, Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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