Thursday, March 24, 2011

Black Labrador Puppy Training for the Show Ring

Meet Moonlits Rolling Stone, aka Jagger. He came to me as a 7-month old boy ready for my 2-week training camp to prepare him for the dog show conformation ring. All of the show ring preparation I do is by capturing or shaping behaviors with clicker training. As always, Jagger learned the meaning of the clicker and began working on meaningful eye contact on his first afternoon here. This picture was taken on the morning of his third day. Visiting puppies live in my house with the rest of my own dogs, so there are rules to learn that have nothing to do with the show ring and we start those within the first few minutes of arrival as well. No busting into or out of the house or gates, be respectful of the other dogs (especially the oldies), no taking anything that is not a dog toy, eliminate outside, wait patiently while I prepare meals and eat only from your own bowl, go in your crate quietly when asked, no begging, no pulling or weaving on leash -- lots of what I consider to be basic manners, but many dogs do not know.

The show training happens throughout the day as I capture behaviors he offers. We start small and shape what each puppy gives into what is needed to be a classy show dog. Jagger is the sensitive type who needed his self-confidence boosted so we worked slowly the first few days, concentrating on bringing out his personality and helping him feel comfortable. Each puppy is different so I tailor my steps to fit the individuals. Jagger learned all of the things chocolate Labrador puppy, Scandal mastered and left here feeling much more confident and proud of himself for knowing how to do what was expected. We created the Jagger Movie to show some of what he had accomplished. Now he will go out in the real world to practice and build fun experiences in the breed ring. Be proud, Jagger!

(In case you missed it, there's a Scandal Movie as well.)