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To show or not to show?

Discussion in 'Getting Started in Conformation' started by Simba13, Oct 30, 2015.

  1. Simba13

    Simba13 Forums Enthusiast

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    I have done a lot of thinking about wether or not I should show my newest addition. He was sold to me as in his first few weeks the breeder thought he may be to big and that his sister had more potential but when I went to get him she said that he may have the makings of a show dog after all. She said that if he makes the grade she would like for me to show him. The thing is how do I know if he has made the grade? How do I know if he would be competitive? Do I wait until he is say 8+ months old before I know for sure?

    Just like with obedience I would like to have him in the ring early on to get him used to it. So I would like to start showing him once he is old enough.
    I've attached some photos of my handsome boy.

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?...457175.-2207520000.1446255300.&type=3&theater

    https://instagram.com/p/8QVEirF7P0/?taken-by=sheepdog_shepherd_pack

    https://instagram.com/p/9ZQWzeF7Go/?taken-by=sheepdog_shepherd_pack
     
  2. Ann

    Ann Moderator

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    How old is your puppy now? You do have plenty of time if you decide you'd like to show him. Your breeder is the best person to guide you on the path to a show career and let you know if he has the potential to be a show dog. If you aren't close enough to visit her with him regularly, I'd suggest emailing her photos from several angles regularly so she can see how he's growing.

    The first thing you must do if you want to show your puppy is to start training his ears! A Sheltie puppy's ears, left untrained, will either prick and stand straight up, or fall, giving them "hound" ears. They need to be taped or glued so they tip properly, and braced on top of his head so they don't slide to the sides as his head grows. This should be done from the time he's 8 to 10 weeks old until he's through teething -- nearly a year to be safe. Your breeder is the best person to teach you the way to do this or, if she's close enough, to do it for you.

    So the first thing you should do is get in touch with her breeder. Arrange for a visit or a way you can keep her posted on his development. Sheltie puppies change a great deal in their first year and it can take 6 to 8 months before we know if a puppy is show quality. Height, head shape, ears and teeth are all things that can affect this decision.

    Good luck, and please let us know how it goes!
     
  3. tofu pup

    tofu pup Moderator

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    Ann has it; your breeder should be the one answering these questions. Showing dogs (and evaluating/raising/preparing puppies for show) is one of those quirky activities that you really need a mentor to help you learn.

    Your breeder has a vested interest in having this puppy shown successfully, so she should be more than happy to guide you through the process of growing him into a show dog.
     
  4. Simba13

    Simba13 Forums Enthusiast

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    He is only 10 weeks old. Unfortunately I live about 4 hours from the breeder but I do have friends who used to show Shelties. I will be keeping in contact with her and will hopefully see her regularly at agility shows after the winter and so he will be about 6 months by then. I will be able to start ring craft classes after the christmas holidays. I will definitely let you know how it goes! Thanks for the advice :smile2:
     
  5. seashel

    seashel Forums Enthusiast

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    I agree, the breeder is the best person to evaluate as she will know her lines and the way they develop. She will be able to advise you on how he is progressing as show ring prospect.

    What I would suggest though is to take him to ringcraft training anyway. It is such good grounding for puppies, irrespective of whether they eventually make the show ring. They learn to be handled by different people and meet other dogs in a controlled environment. Ringcraft tends to be more restrained than ordinary obedience/puppy training classes too, so an ideal place to get out and about for shelties. If you do go on to show, this is also the place to get yourself trained on how to stand him on the table, move him etc. You can start this as soon as he has finished his inoculations and carry on for as long as you want to keep on going. You can't officially show him until he is 6 months anyway (unless Irish KC has different rules to UK?) and by then you will have a reasonable idea of whether he will be show quality - but they change so much. My Revel looked hideous at 12 months (very leggy and long in the head) but by the time he was three he had matured into a nice, well proportioned boy and actually improved with every year that passed.


    On the subject of ears, breeders here (UK) tend to let nature take its course and only step in with remedial action if necessary - usually just weighting the ear slightly if it starts pricking, most often during teething or trimming off a little hair to lighten a heavy ear. Some breeders advise massaging ears which have a tendency to prick with some oil to keep the leather supple. Routine ear training from the outset is not usually practiced, I imagine it is the same in Ireland. Again the breeder will advise and will also help if needed. If she isn't close enough then I'm sure other sheltie exhibitors/breeders in the area will assist.

    How old is puppy now?
     
  6. Simba13

    Simba13 Forums Enthusiast

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    Unfortunately she lives 4 hours away from me :( I will hopefully see her at agility shows next year. I do however have friends who did show there Shelties in the past who can help me. I will just have to wait and see if he has potential or not. Even if he doesn't I think he has some agility/obedience potential. He is a quick learner :smile2:
     
  7. Ann

    Ann Moderator

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    Julia, this is fascinating. Do you have many show prospects who end up with prick ears? Breeders here in the U.S. would never think of leaving puppy ears natural...98 percent of our dogs would have pricked ears. Do European Shelties tend to have more naturally tipped ears?
     
  8. Simba13

    Simba13 Forums Enthusiast

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    Thanks for all of the advice :) I think here there is a baby puppy class which I think is 4-6 months so maybe I will give that a try in a few months time when I have been to s few ring craft classes and he is old enough. It seems less intimidating then the normal classes :lol:

    I have been told to massage the ears alright and to start weighing them when he is teething. Luckily my friends know all about that kind of stuff so they will help me when the time comes. I left Simbas ears and he has 1 up and 1 down which is so cute :lol: He is 10 weeks old now and getting bigger and bolder. Trying to nip the biting in the bud at the moment :smile2:
     
  9. seashel

    seashel Forums Enthusiast

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    Some do go up Ann, but usually a show prospect kept by a breeder will keep its tipped ears, with the assistance described above when necessary. Breeders will normally be able to tell with their puppies if the ears are going to be obviously problematic and will sell these to pet homes. My observation is it seems that fine boned shelties may be more likely to have pricked ears whereas the larger ones may go more towards heavy ears...

    Our show dogs seem to be more variable in ear position and breaking point than yours in the US.
    http://www.essc.org.uk/results_oct15.htm
    Because the ears are not trained routinely, this is due to the natural variation in ear positioning. Ears are definitely bred for here and the majority of shelties in non-conformation homes do have naturally tipped ears.

    I believe a lot of the differences arise from the wording of the two standards. Yours is more exacting than ours:

    UK Standard:
    EARS: Small, moderately wide at base, placed fairly close together on top of skull. In repose, thrown back; when alert brought forward and carried semi-erect with tips falling forward.
    US Standard:
    Ears small and flexible, placed high, carried three-fourths erect, with tips breaking forward. When in repose the ears fold lengthwise and are thrown back into the frill.

    Perhaps because your Standard is more precise in its requirements the ear training has become necessary to ensure this criteria is uniformly met?

    This video shows the usual technique used in the UK for ears, although the product used varies. The stuff she is using isn't obtainable now. :no:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8isyVFDVBkE

    Hope this information is of interest to Simba too.
     
  10. Ann

    Ann Moderator

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    Julia, thanks for all this information. The video on how you do ears is especially interesting! I don't know what the reason is that Sheltie ears here in the US almost always go up if they aren't aggressively trained from a young age. I wonder how much is genetic. I wish we had an easier regimen!

    Simba, sorry for hijacking your thread! Thanks for letting me learn something new too and good luck with your puppy! :smile2:
     

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