Last weekend when I was volunteering at the Agility Trials my mom and I introduced ourselves to a man, George Griffin, who is one of the conformation trainers at Paws in Motion. My mom told him that I wanted to also try to do conformation. That is when you are the person that runs with the dog in the show ring like Westminster. He said we could come to try out a class and we did last night.
George loves working with junior handlers because he says they are great students and really pay attention to his instructions. He said that the dogs also really like to work with junior handlers. So after we did the second level of puppy training called Super Dog, also at Paws in Motion, we stayed to try out the conformation class with George.
For the first half of the class I worked with Rudy. We had to stand in a line and when the person in front of you was running you had to put your dog on the table for the judge to look at them. First, you had to fix their front paws so that they were even and straight in front of them. Second, you had to slide your hand down their back. Third, you had to fix their back paws so that they were even and really far back. Fourth, you had to fix their collar so that it was just under their ears. Fifth, you had to make sure they were looking straight forward. While you are doing all that the judge looks them over. Sixth, you take them off the table and fix their collar again. Seventh, you had to make sure the dog felt they were mentally connected to you by looking at them in the eyes, staring at them. Finally, you had to then walk them around the ring at a almost running speed. When you got back to the judges you had to use body language to put the dog back in to the same position they were when they were on the table.
It was a lot of work and so much to remember. But George said that Rudy did great and so did I. He said that Rudy would be a great dog for conformation because he walks so well and really looks good.
For the second half of the class I got to use George’s dog, Binky. She is a Brindle Coat Boston Terrier. She was such a good dog that I wanted to take her home with me. George said that using hotdogs for treats to get the dogs to do what you want works best because they are super stinky and dogs love that!
Since it was my first time doing this I did not get any pictures, but will next time.