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Discussion in 'Getting Started in Conformation' started by corbinam, Apr 29, 2018.

  1. corbinam

    corbinam Moderator

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    I thought I’d start a thread journaling some of my thoughts as I start my first foray into conformation. (Especially as there are a couple of us just starting down this path here on the forum @Piper's mom I’m looking at you!)

    Some of you likely saw that I have my very first conformation prospect. She is now almost 13 weeks old. I am learning as I go, so thought I’d share some photos and my evaluation as well as what others have told me.

    Let me tell you it’s a stressful thing! She’s just a baby and we love her but oh man so much pressure for her to turn out a certain way already.

    What I can see: Elise has a bit of a round eye, almond being the preference (though it has calmed some).

    She also has a little bit of a domed head though it doesn’t flare out on the sides, and is looking better this week than it has before.

    She seems very well balanced and has a lovely stride from the side.

    What others have told me: many people are worried about her size. The breeder told me she comes from a slow growing line, and thought she’d make 14”. Apparently finishing a 13” bitch can be difficult. She was 10.5” at 12 weeks (and 9.5” at 10 weeks). These measurements put her in the middle of the chart.

    We start a handling class in a couple weeks—I’m excited!

    What do you guys think? :) She’s a cutie that’s for sure!
     

    Attached Files:

    ghggp likes this.
  2. Ann

    Ann Moderator

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    She is pretty and has a lovely outline! It's so hard to predict at 13 weeks. As someone with a houseful of "show failures" I well know stuff can go wrong for a very long time. Ears, size, teeth, temperament. Keep socializing her as often and as much as you can! If her size is in the middle of the chart, you're in good shape! I measure every week on the same day and mark it on the chart. Handling class is great and it will help a lot. Go to as many shows as you can just to watch and take her with you once she's a bit older to get her used to the atmosphere. The 4-6 month puppy classes when they're offered at shows would be great for both of you once she's old enough!

    Other than that, just keep at it and enjoy your puppy! And keep us posted!
     
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  3. corbinam

    corbinam Moderator

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    Thanks for weighing in, Ann! I know you know how it goes. I’m already struggling with what will happen if she doesn’t turn out for conformation or agility. I know breeders make these difficult decisions all the time, but I’m not sure I’m made of the same tough stuff they are!

    And yes, not sure how long it will take to get ring ready but I’m hoping to get her out in the 4-6mo class!

    If I take her to a conformation show, will she be welcome at her young age if she’s not entered? I had to be very careful at the National because I know puppies weren’t welcome.
     
    Ann likes this.
  4. tofu pup

    tofu pup Moderator

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    What a cutie pie!

    At 13 weeks... don't worry too much, and don't try to make big decisions about her. Unless you are thinking of placing her with someone else (and I don't think you are), you will only exhaust yourself at this point trying to "evaluate" the things you can't control (like her eyes, her head, and her outline). She will change from week to week, and some weeks you will be biting your nails!

    Do worry about the things you can control: her ears, her overall conditioning, and her socialization/training. You already know quite a bit about the last two; listen carefully to your breeder regarding the first. In terms of conformation-specific training, the best advice I have is for you to make sure she has HIGH VALUE for the stuff she's going to be doing in the ring. Don't let conformation be the boring, stuffed-shirt activity ("I'd rather be doing agility") or an anxiety-fest ("Mom is nervous so I'd better be, too!").

    As for bringing her to a show to hang out... pick and choose. Please don't bring her to a crowded indoor show where space is at a premium. Keep it low-key. Laid-back outdoor shows are usually good.

    Finally... don't let the pressure get to you too much. What will be, will be. Unless you are going to move her on to another home if she doesn't turn out, there is no real use in constantly trying to figure out which way she is going.
     
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  5. corbinam

    corbinam Moderator

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    Megan, I think you hit the nail on the head. If I were being smart, I would place her if she doesn't turn out. If I truly want to explore the conformation world and get involved in breeding having a 4th dog in the house that doesn't meet that criteria is a tough sell. 4 is really probably our limit, so we are "stuck" for a bit (and that's not a bad thing! I hope Bentley sticks around for many more years!--he's only 11)

    So I think that's where the stress comes from. It is in our contract that we can place her if she doesn't turn out, but I'm not sure if I would be able to do that if the time came.
     
  6. Piper's mom

    Piper's mom Forums Enthusiast

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    She certainly is a cutie! If she is entered in exhibition only (and has had all her shots) then there shouldn't be a problem. You can also take her to matches (they have conformation matches) even before she's had her last set of shots (although I wouldn't let her walk on the ground there)...can help get her used to that atmosphere. I had Finnie at an obedience match today (Piper was entered) and he handled it really good.
     
  7. Sharon7

    Sharon7 Forums Enthusiast

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    Oh my gosh that face! She is just so pretty and alert looking! Just from the little I know about how Sheltie litters can vary, I can see how breeders must bite their nails for a while, all fingers crossed that size, teeth, heads, etc turn out as envisioned. On the other hand, having gotten Faith as a show dog wash-out, I am grateful she was sent on to us for adoption. So, I guess it's win-win, really! Although I bet you'd be VERY reluctant to give her up.
     
  8. Chris

    Chris Forums Celebrity

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    Ashley, she has a nicely laid back shoulder, good topline, and presents a balanced "package" even at this young age. Don't sweat the eye. I swear Layla's Mom looked like Niya round-eye, but her show photos look very correct. There's much to be said for skilled grooming. The most important thing I am learning from my passion as an "appreciator" is that no Sheltie is perfect. Each has virtues and flaws. Enjoy the ride!!
     
  9. Calliesmom

    Calliesmom Moderator

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    all true- especially the part about the grooming:yes:
    since both my oversize boys were supposed to under 16"- I know that is what I would worry about the most in a show dog. Jocu only got to do one show before he topped 16"
     
  10. Piper's mom

    Piper's mom Forums Enthusiast

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    I have to agree with Chris, no Sheltie is perfect! I had Finnie at the breeder this past week to get his ears taped (one was going up) and I mentioned to her that he doesn't have much of a 'stop' and she told me how to groom him to make it appear as though he did. Heck, even if they don't have all their teeth you can place you fingers so the judge doesn't see it lol (at a handling class I was told to be ready to open dogs mouth so judge doesn't get their dirty germ infested hands on your dogs mouth and it worked).
     
    Chris likes this.

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