RING CRAFT FOR THE NOVICE
(by Peter De Decker)
the inception the exhibitor should understand that the breed show for
German Shepherd Dogs is not a beauty contest. The Breed shows serve to
evaluate the potential and mature breed stock available in the
country. In addition to the correct construction the dog should
possess the required bone and muscle strength as well as the
temperament character as described in the Breed standard . This
together with the fitness and willingness to perform should assist the
dog in obtaining a good grading in the show class.
This guide should be read in conjunction with the various Breed and Show procedures as published in the GSD Federation of Southern Africa constitution as well as the appendix Tips on showing dogs.
The evaluation of the dogs largely follows a fixed pattern and only varies slightly with the age classes.
The standard procedure is for the entire class after the inspection of the tattoo number in the right ear to move around the ring in catalogue number sequence in an anti clock wise direction at a brisk walking pace. The dog with a locked neck chain should be walking ahead of the handler on a slightly taught line that is held in the left hand. The overlapping of dogs should be avoided unless it is at the request of the ring steward/judge. This warming up serves the present the judge with a general impression of the overall quality of the class. After two or more rounds the dogs the class will be asked to halt and the individual assessment of the dogs commences. At the discretion of the judge exhibitors may be told that they can leave the ring until they are one by one required to present their dogs to the judge.
Presentation in stance: When requested by the Ring steward the handler walks the dog at a brisk pace towards the judge. If not indicated where to show the dog in a show stance take the most advantageous position. Whether the dog faces left or right in relation to the position of the judge is not important. The handler familiar with the shortcomings of the dog will present the dog in the best possible manner.
The show stance is a natural position of the dog and should give the judge a square side view of the conformation of the animal. The front legs should be parallel well under the dog and the hind legs should be positioned so that the leg nearest to the judge is extended backwards with the hock perpendicular to the ground. The other back foot is placed approximately 20 cm forward. The purpose of this “show” position is to enable the judge to evaluate the dog’s construction whereby the angulation of the front and hind quarters together with the top line, croup length and slope as well as the muscle development play a major role. It should be remembered that a well-constructed dog requires little assistance to stand correctly. Therefore excessive interference by a handler will create the impression that the dog has many faults to hide. Ideally a dog is walked into a show stance and only a minor correction such as placing one or two feet is all that is required. Few dogs show well when presented by their owners. Unless the dog is alert, attentive and is willing to stride at all speeds with the owner a well-experienced handler who is familiar with the dog's shortcoming should present the dog.
After the side view the judge will look at the dog from the front and from behind in order to evaluate the straightness of the limbs and the firmness of the muscles and ligaments.
followed by the showing of the teeth whereby the procedure is normally
to first show the “bite” and than the molars on each side of the jaws.
When showing teeth the dog’s nose and eyes should not be obstructed as
the dog will resist this type of handling. With closed jaws and lifted
lips the bite of the front teeth is first shown whilst the handler
keeps his/her head out of the way so as not to obstruct the judge’s
view. With the jaws apart the left and right hand side molars whilst
keeping the tongue out of the way are shown. Male dogs will have their
Evaluation of movement:
After the presentation in stance the judge/steward will request the
handler to walk away and towards so that the straightness of the legs
in movement can be seen. It is important that the dog walks in a
straight line away and towards the judge and that side way pulling is
avoided. After the walk the side gait of the dog is to be shown. It is
good practice that the handler walks the dog from the centre of the
ring towards the right corner of narrow end of the ring and than uses
the narrow end to increase the speed from a walk to the gait so that
the full length of the ring can be used to demonstrate the dog’s
ability to gait at full speed. The dog should be presented dog at a
taught leash held in the left hand without undue pulling. Normally the
full length of the field is sufficient to demonstrate the dog’s
gaiting. This is a
critical part of the dog’s evaluation. The thrust of the back legs
and the length of the stride together with a good top line are the
prerequisites of a well constructed working dog.
Unless these features can be
demonstrated at this stage it will require hard work afterwards to
gain a good placing for the dog.
sureness test: After the individual
evaluation has been completed the handlers are requested to return to
the ring and reassemble in the original sequence of catalogue numbers.
In show classes for dogs of twelve months or more the class is divided
into small groups and each group is now subjected to the gunshot test.
Dogs should be presented at a loose hanging leash and should show no
sign of negative response to the sound of the firing gun. (six mm
Final assessment: Upon completion of the gun sureness test the judge will now indicate his first placing and the dogs will be called out in order of preference.
the start of the “hard work” and fitness on both the dog and the
handler is a prerequisite for the remainder of the proceedings.
Normally the class will be requested to start with a brisk walk where
after the gaiting commences. During this part of the show the sequence
of the dogs is likely to change. When this happens it is customary
that handlers overtake on the outside of the class so as not to
obscure the other dogs from the judge’s view.
classes are not subjected to the same amount of gaiting as the more
mature classes. In the 18-24 and over 24 month classes depending on
the number of dogs being presented the judge may elect to divide the
class into groups and to evaluate the group standing, walking away and
towards and at gaiting speed. In the 24 months and older class dogs
are to be shown gaiting off lead and at this stage the owners might
take over the showing of their dogs at heel. At any time during the
show the changing of handlers is permitted.
At the end of the class the handlers remain in their final placing whilst the judge will announce the grading groups and discuss each dog in the ring.”
Preparation of the show dog.
In rare occasions the owner of the dog will present his/her own dog. In most cases the dog will present itself better when in the hands of a handler whilst the owner serves to attract the dog’s attention. This so called attraction by the owner requires a degree of skill and the dog needs to be trained and become accustomed to it’s handler.
Attraction by the owner: An alert dog will present itself better than a dog showing little interest. In most cases too much attraction is not the correct recipe . The degree of attraction depends on the dog but most cases the out of sight absence of the owner is sufficient to make the dog alert. Should a dog loose interest it may be necessary for the handler to indicate to the owner to reinforce his presence by making a sound. (refer tips on showing)
Never attract a dog when it is not facing the owner. In some cases it may be necessary for the owner to show himself but the risk is that a novice dog becomes unmanageable.
A dog is to be shown on a taught leash. The training can be done by the owner walking or running in front of the dog/handler team at suitable distance and where necessary by calling the dog. Whilst this takes place the handler should use a command such as “hop,hop” and when the dog performs satisfactorily the praise “there’s a good dog ‘‘can be given.
Eventually the dog and handler should be able to move around the ring without the assistance of the owner who should watch the performance and await instructions by the handler.
Excessive pulling on the leash should be avoided as it distorts the
effective forward flow of the hind thrust and it will therefore
unnecessary exhaust the dog.
stance: The presentation of a dog in
show stance should be frequently trained and where possible with the
assistance of a knowledgeable person who can comment on the problems
in the construction of the dog. Only in this manner can one make the
best of the presentation of the dog (refer to tips on showing).
Ideally a dog should be taught to walk into the show position which
can be done as follows. The handler and dog are standing still and
when the owner calls the dog in front the dog is allowed to make
several steps forward until the handler sees that the dogs feet are in
a near show position (see diagram tips on showing). Minor
adjustments may now be required to complete the show stance. The
handler should use a command such as “show”. Never crouch over the dog
when placing the legs in position as most dogs do not like this action
out of self protection.
teeth: Showing teeth should be trained
at the same time. The more training takes place the more accustomed
the dog will be to the command “teeth”. When showing the bite place
one hand under the lower jaw and the other hand over the top jaw so
that the jaws are closed whilst pulling the upper jaw lips upwards
with the thumb and index finger to bare the incisors. The molars are
best shown whilst the dog is standing with the jaws apart depending on
the judge’s position show his side first by lifting the flutes of the
upper jaw and bottom jaw whilst making sure that the tongue is out of
the way to show the presence of the smaller molars.
Use an assistant to act as a judge during this training so that the dog gets accustomed to the touch by the hand of strangers. In the case of male dogs do also train the dog to having it’s testicles examined.
shot: Training for gunshot steadiness
should be done in a careful manner. Whilst most dogs have no problem
one should be careful during the initial training so as not to scare a
dog. Commence at a distance of at least 40 meters and depending on the
dogs reaction progressively close the gap until the distance is about
20 paces. The sound should be that of a 6 mm gun. During the test the
dog should be standing free with a loose lead. Positive reaction such
as barking is no fault where as a dog that wants to flee or place its
tail between the legs or goes into a sit is considered to have a
negative reaction. Training for gunshot steadiness may also be done
whilst the dog is being attracted by the owner or whilst the dog is
Fitness: Not unlike the preparation for a marathon road race the diet and the degree of exercise in preparation for the show are important. One can have the most beautiful dog, but when unfit it is unlikely to do well in a show. Specialised food is available and is the easy part of the preparation. Fitness training requires time and effort on the part of the owner/handler. There are several ways to achieve this, whereby preference should be given to trotting the dog on leash next to a bicycle. Built up the distance gradually to a 10 km stretch on a daily basis.
Stop training two to three days before the show.
Cleaning the dog: Bathing a dog should not be necessary but if so required do it a week prior to the show so that the coat restores itself. More frequently a damp cloth or chamois leather is used to shine the coat. Make sure that the inside of the ears are clean and remove excessive tartar from the dog’s teeth.
This page was last updated: 12/09/14 11:45:55 AM