Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner

1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
145 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
When you train a puppy/dog for conformation, do you teach hand stacking OR free stacking, or do you teach him both?
Also, when you use a special stand to teach them to stack, like the "showstacker" is that considered hand stacking?

VV Link to showstackers site gallery

http://showstackers.com/s/win-a-dog-show/
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,194 Posts
Both! Though it is fairly breed dependent. In my breed, very few dogs free stack, and very few judges ask for it, so I don't spend much time on it. If I was going to really campaign and special a dog I would, but not for a dog I just want to finish. My breed isn't all that competitive either so a nice dog is going to win regardless of whether it has a nice free stack. Other breeds are extremely competitive and it's pretty much expected that puppies can free stack at the end of a lead, so handlers spend a lot more time on it. Even with a mostly free stacked breed, you're going to need to hand stack sometimes so the dog should be used to you touching and moving feet around.

I've never used the happy feet type stacking blocks, but people use them as an aid to teach free stacking. It teaches the dog where to put his feet and how to stand correctly. If you're hand stacking, the dog doesn't need an aid for where to put his feet because you're doing it for him. He just needs to learn how to stand still and let you do your thing.

What breed are you thinking of showing?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,861 Posts
You will definitely want to teach your dog to freestack. I think that is aided by things like those "showstackers"? I've never used one, just sticky tape targets on my floor.. haha. You will also want to know how to hand stack your dog.

I generally start by asking my dog for a stand (but mine is trained for that), then I fix up the parts that aren't nice and straight with hand stacking. After you gait your dog, you return to the judge and freestack them. At least.. this is what I've been learning in conformation class. Keep in mind that I have never actually shown in a dog in the ring and prefer to use positive methods.

If you are interested in conformation with your dog, I highly recommend finding a good handling class. Sometimes they are not obvious to find and might require you asking other "dog people".
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,194 Posts
After you gait your dog, you return to the judge and freestack them. At least.. this is what I've been learning in conformation class.
In my breed, the judge mostly looks at expression when they return from the down and back. So you can try to free stack, but the judge is clapping and making kissy noises and trying to get your dog to look at him, which is going to mess up your stack anyway. And they only give you like 0.2sec so your dog better freestack fast. Bonus points if your dog sets himself up nicely there, but it's not like you see on Westminster on tv where the handler is really freestacking and baiting the dog in front of the judge and making a show of it. I'm just happy if they don't try to jump up on the judge who is making kissy noises at them. lol I haven't watched enough other breeds to see how they're doing it in run of the mill shows, so they might be freestacking after the down and back. I know some breeds almost exclusively freestack so their dogs are pros at it and judges expect it.

Once or twice I have had a judge ask dogs to go out in the middle of the ring and free stack, but nobody was particularly good at it. lol I feel like somebody who trained killer free stacks would have an edge in my breed since it's really not done that much, but I'm too lazy to work on it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,911 Posts
I don't show, though I'm planning on it in the future. I do frequent dog shows and have watched dogs in the ring quite a bit, and I can say that I think it's really breed dependent.

So the best way to determine whether you should teach a reliable and speedy free stack or not is to talk to people who are showing your breed in your area and attend local shows to see how the dogs (especially the top placers) are being exhibited.

I can tell you that top finishing Danes I've watched locally free stack both before and after the down and back. But as elrohwen pointed out, other breeds aren't expected to do that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,437 Posts
Depends on the breed, as there are some that are strictly free stacked and some that are hand stacked, and some are both. Retrievers like Labs are a free stack breed, Spaniels on the other hand are hand stacked. Bulldogs are mainly a hand stacked breed, but I do some free stacking with mine. Weims are both.

Personally I teach both, hand stacking first then work on free stacking. The Springer boy I am showing has finally got it down pat, he is two now.

I agree with others that you should go to some shows and watch the rings. I see you are in SC, there is one coming up in Greenville at the end of the month, I will be there showing Spaniels.

Also find good classes in your area.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,075 Posts
I would teach hand stacking first because it's good for the puppies to get used to being handled and touched, but teaching a free stack wouldn't hurt. We've never been asked to stack after the down and back, the judge seems to be mostly looking for expression.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,194 Posts
I can tell you that top finishing Danes I've watched locally free stack both before and after the down and back. But as elrohwen pointed out, other breeds aren't expected to do that.
They free stack before the down and back as well? That seems weird. Usually I make a circle so I get a running start.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,911 Posts
They free stack before the down and back as well? That seems weird. Usually I make a circle so I get a running start.
Should have worded it better. They free stack for the judge's inspection and then after the down and back. Sorry for the confusion :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,194 Posts
Should have worded it better. They free stack for the judge's inspection and then after the down and back. Sorry for the confusion :)
Ahh! That makes more sense.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,861 Posts
Well that goes to show what I know! I've only ever seen free stacks after the down and back. I would definitely learn both.

Go to dog shows, talk to people in your breed because they will need to show you grooming tips as well, and find conformation classes. You'll want to do this before you are ready to start putting your dog in the ring so that you know what you are doing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
145 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Thank you all so much. The breed I plan on working with is the Miniature American Shepherd. And yes I've been watching the AKC site for comf. events in my state. I will *hopefully* be at the event on one of its days as I am in Florence. I've been looking for comf. classes but I guess I'll have to ask the local dog people since they're all really into sports and I've already been taking with some of them about flyball and barn hunt. Thanks for all your help! It makes sense now that stacking tools would be free stack since hand stacking is me manipulating his body for him
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top