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Question about exactly where to wicket a pretty-much-over-sized Kel

Discussion in 'Getting Started in Conformation' started by blaiseshimmer, Jul 5, 2016.

  1. blaiseshimmer

    blaiseshimmer Forums Regular

    Apr 16, 2015
    south TX
    There is a show coming up a few hours from my house (we're in Texas, so that qualifies as 'close by) that I am still thinking about entering. The show is 4 days long, but I'm thinking about only doing one day with Kel (the specialty, because I'm not one for doing anything the easy way:)). No matter what, we are also getting him used to a few agility items around our yard because even if he does stay within size, we would love to be able to do agility with him. He certainly has the energy...

    I've been watching that little mudpuppy (our yard looks like a construction site thanks to him and his big brother shiloh), and when my husband came home from his ship for the weekend (he's been in philly for 2 months) he told me that he doesn't think Kel looks any taller, though his coat is beginning to come in and poof him out.

    Trying to measure him is, well, TRYING. I have two separate homemade wickets, plus a simple yardstick and 'across' stick. He's either on his tip toes reaching for a treat from hubby, or hunched down to grab treats hubby drops on the grooming table. Or wants to kiss up to me which means his legs are never vertical which is where I understand the measurement is supposed to be.

    I am not sure I'm measuring him correctly. I'm averaging anything from 15 to 15.78 to 16, but I'm not sure exactly WHERE on the shoulder blades do I place the 'measure'. Or do I place it right close to the neck or the back? And if he IS already exactly 16", would he be considered oversized? He's just a tad over 7 months. When I had mentioned his height a few weeks ago to his breeder, she mentioned that she didn't feel he would get much taller as both his parents are in the 15" range as are all his grandparents. I know I keep coming on to this forum with questions about his height, but this would be my first 'show' sheltie', and a part of me was kind of hoping I'd be able to see if both he and I could manage the show ring as a hobby (since we love this little bundle of chaos and mayhem).

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Silaria

    Silaria Forums Sage

    Sep 19, 2008
    Aspinwall, PA
    When measuring for height, the dog should be standing as natural as possible. If you are having him focus on a treat, you want to hold the treat low to the head stays natural.

    The measurement should be taken at the withers, which is the ridge between the shoulder blades. If you feel around the center of the back, roughly where the line of the front leg could continue up, you'll feel two hard bumps, the shoulder blades, with a gap in between them. You want to measure across the shoulders at that point. I found a video, not a Sheltie but the withers are in the same place for all dogs, that may help you: Withers Height - Dog (If the link doesn't work, I'll fix it when I get home.)

    I'll defer to those on the forum who breed and show for the specifics on the size question.
  3. tofu pup

    tofu pup Moderator

    Aug 28, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    Silaria is correct about how to find the withers. Have your husband hold the dog, hold the wicket away from the dog in your dominant hand, use your nondominant hand to find the "point" of the shoulders, and then bring the wicket to rest on the withers.

    First, and you may already be doing this, measure him only on a grooming table. He will never be measured on the ground at a dog show, and having him on the table will make him less inclined to noodle around.

    Second, take the cookies out of the equation. No cookies here! Your husband needs to physically hold the dog by the collar. He may need to give him a gentle back-and-forth rocking to remind him to hold still. 99% of the time, yes, we want our dogs to be up and happy in the ring - but we want them to be a little "down" when they are measured. Does that make sense? This is not the time for him to lift himself or "show". Just hold him by the collar and stand there.

    Third, keep practicing. Put the wicket on him at least once a day, until it becomes so incredibly boring that he slouches under it and doesn't care. Again, you don't want him to be excited about this process; he should think it is the dullest thing that ever happens to him.

    Keep in mind that judges are inclined not to measure; there is a very specific protocol around measurements, because they can lead to a dog being disqualified (and a dog who has collected three disqualifications cannot be shown again). It's one of those sticky situations that they prefer to avoid. However, it does happen, and if your dog is big, you should mentally prepare yourself.

    To answer your question about what constitutes "oversize", yes, 16" exactly is in-size. 16.1" would be oversize. The rule is that if both feet of the wicket can hit the table at the same time, the dog is in.

    If your dog is measured at a show: Be calm, it happens. If you've read this, you're prepared. Remember that only you may set the dog up for measurement, and that you must confirm that the wicket is the correct size and assent that you are ready (Judge: "Are you ready?" Handler: "Yes") before the dog is wicketed. Remember also that you may only have one hand on the dog while it is being measured. Don't pull him up and wave a cookie like you're showing him off! Just put his legs under him, hold him by the collar, and stand there.

    Good luck! It really isn't so bad to be measured. But again, you need to practice and prepare yourself, and have a really good idea of how likely it is that your dog would measure out.
  4. blaiseshimmer

    blaiseshimmer Forums Regular

    Apr 16, 2015
    south TX
    Thank you for the link - in my mind the withers on Kel seem so much more pronounced. I also found - ironically - a youtube from the AKC, so I'm hoping once I read this, I can get a beter view.

    I'm going to wicket the daylights out of him. I put hubs back on a plane at the inhumane hour of 5 this morning, so I'm going to do my darndest to get Kel nice and quiet by myself. 9 times of out 10, he's learned to stand nicely on the grooming table while I do everything from dealing with those ears to trimming his feet, and he already has ignored wooden yardsticks draped across his back.

    If he does get wicketed and 'fails', I'll only be sad because I won't be able to use the pretty bejeweled show lead (<this is a lie; I'm actually hoping he'll pass and we can do this, at least until I realize he might never get a BOB in a show), since other than the height, he is doing really good with all his 'show training'.

    Fingers crossed!

    And then no matter what, time to build weave poles!
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2016
  5. Ann

    Ann Moderator

    Feb 25, 2008
    Western Connecticut
    You've gotten really great information here, Brandy. One point though: If Kel is indeed around 16" now (or slightly less), go ahead and show him! He isn't oversize until he's oversize. So as long as he's at 16, you can get him in the ring. It may all be for naught certainly, but why call the game over until you're sure? As Megan said, a judge may measure him, but it's not likely unless he looks like a moose. Just my suggestion.
  6. Caro

    Caro Moderator

    Jan 14, 2009
    Canberra, Australia
    Just a suggestion. When you finally get him standing still for measuring, make sure he is stacked properly so his hock is perpendicular to the ground and the back pastern is exactly vertical. This will actually reduce the height measurement. And it is the correct way so you won't be cheating - I was shown by a judge how to do this. Makes a big difference when your dog is hovering around the height cut offs. It got Tully below 13" for flyball jump height and not stacking her correctly got her over 13" for show purposes.
  7. blaiseshimmer

    blaiseshimmer Forums Regular

    Apr 16, 2015
    south TX
    I so super heart you guys! I found a youtube video by the AKC (!) which followed the video Silaria recommended. It showed (mostly judges) how to weigh and measure, so I searched throughout my house, ended up using - of all things - an embroidery frame. I took off one of the shorter edges, measured really carefully for 16" from tip of foot to the brace, and set up Kel on the grooming table (NO TREATS! he was miffed), and set up the impromptu widget like in the video.

    It skimmed (not touching!) his withers. Whew! So far, so good.

    So, I just need to scramble to see which day(s) I'll enter him in. Even if it's his only show, at least we'll both have that under our virtual belts. There is a one-day specialty, which I am a bit reluctant to enter since the only sheltie specialty show I watched seemed to be pretty closed to the hosting sheltie club, and Kel's coat will already set him apart (he's just beginning to grow in his adult coat, it's still stubbornly Peter-Brady-Perm curls, and he's an almost-cryptic blue merle<NOW do you see why I was focusing on his height?). The Thursday and Friday shows are hosted by another club, and the Saturday and Sunday shows are by a third club.

    And the closing dates are today...because I am the Poster Child Of Procrastination. There are no other shows that are within a reasonable (as taking under a day driving fast) distance for the rest of the year.

    Everyone's wonderfully helpful advice has been duly printed out and placed front and center in my Kel Book, right behind his paperwork.

    You guys are the best. We're still going to make some agility course thingies since Kel's new thing is being a whackamole when I place him in his expen. It's just a matter of time before he realizes he can simply launch himself over the brim.
  8. Bradt9881

    Bradt9881 Forums Enthusiast

    Jan 15, 2014
    Fayetteville, NC
    Get a wicket that is accurate, such as one from Wickets by Mel. Then measure as everyone has suggested. It would be too easy for your homemade wicket to be inaccurate.
  9. Piper's mom

    Piper's mom Forums Enthusiast

    Jun 26, 2015
    Winnipeg Mb
    Congrats on taking the jump on conformation and good luck! I'd of loved to show Piper but unfortunately he has lance canines so I took the much harder route of obedience. Hopefully he'll be ready this summer lol.

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