The Show Lead. For informal CWA Conformation Competitions, the
used during racing competition is perfectly acceptable, as well as
show leads. Show leads are available at pet stores or dog shows and
come in a variety of widths and styles (see photo)
purpose of the show lead is to give the handler control over the dog.
Many times the choke or martingale leads are used incorrectly. There
is a common misconception that dogs who misbehave must be strung-up
to be corrected. This is not true. When a dog needs to be corrected,
the handler should give the lead a light tug or verbal correction.
The motion should only be enough to gain the dog's attention, not
hurt him. A firm "NO" should accompany the correction. As
long as the dog is behaving there should not be pressure applied to
the lead other than to guide him in the direction you wish to gait.
Do not use a choke collar on a dog with a shy or insecure personality.
show lead is placed around your dog's neck and secured behind the
ears or at the base of the dog's skull (see photo). In a well trained
Whippet, the lead may rest on at the base of the shoulders.
show lead should fit tight enough so the dog cannot get out of it
easily, but not too tight. When the lead is secure, you should be
able to get at least one finger between the lead and your dog's skin.
the dog will be gaited on your left side, the show lead should
be held in the left hand when moving. Once the lead has been placed
on your dog and secured, you will need to adjust the length of
the lead. By leaving the lead dangling from your hand, you not
only present an unprofessional picture for the judge, but it can
distract your dog as it flaps around. To prevent the leash from
dangling, you can wrap it or bunch it in your hand (see photo).
left arm which holds the show lead should be bent at the elbow and
remain stationary so your dog remains under control while standing
Stacking your Dog. Stacking your dog, or setting up your dog,
means to position it in
a standing position with both front legs parallel and both back legs
dog should always be on your left side. When you first enter the ring,
most judges will look over the entire line-up in the stacked position.
After moving the dogs around the ring as a group, the judge will again
examine your dog on the ground or on the table in the stacked position.
After the judge finishes examining and gaiting each dog, he/she will
again look at the entire group in the stacked position. So the judge
will see your dog stacked a large percentage of the time so how well
you stack your dog could play an important part in where you eventually
stopping your dog move the collar to the top of the neck, right behind
the ears. Gather the lead into your hand and hold the portion of the
lead that goes around the dog's neck as the handle. This will give
you more control and make it easier to make a correction if he moves.
Be sure to keep some tension on the lead as you are setting your dog's
with the OUTSIDE LEFT FRONT leg, grasping it just below the elbow
and setting it down so it is under the shoulder (see photo).
this step with the RIGHT FRONT leg, making sure the front legs are
parallel with each other. It is important to make sure the dog's legs
are set under the shoulder because if they are stacked too far forward
or backward it will result in an incorrect rocking horse outline.
set the rear legs, start with the OUTSIDE LEFT BACK leg and set
it so the hock is perpendicular to the ground; i.e. so it forms
a 90 degree angle with the ground (see photo)
set the INSIDE RIGHT BACK leg in the same manner. Once both back legs
are stacked check to make sure the legs are parallel with each other
and the hocks are perpendicular to the ground.
position the dog's head in a manner similar to the dog below.
Gaiting. Whippets are gaited at a trot, and are normally allowed
to move at their own pace (as long as it's not too fast). The judge
is looking at HOW the dog moves, not how fast.
three most commonly used gaiting patterns are the 1) Down and Back,
2) Triangle and 3) "L" (see diagrams).
all three gaiting patterns you may keep the show lead in your left
hand, or you may change hands to minimize blocking the judge's view
of your dog, whatever is more comfortable for you. Switching hands
is an option and involves switching the lead from one hand to the
other to gait the dog on the opposite side. The decision on when and
where to switch hands will depend on the pattern you are performing
and the position of the judge.
best advice to improve your ring techniques is to Practice. When time
permits, practice the down and back, triangle and "L" on
your own. This will enable your dog to become more familiar with the
routine and allow you to become a "team" with your dog.
luck and have fun!