Stacking ; Hard work or natural stance?

“Who’s the boss?” How to  get your dog to stand still

Stacking a show dog should take no longer than three or four seconds but for many, it can take up to 15 or 30 seconds or more. In the first of this three part series I look at why some dogs just won’t stand still.

Dogs refusing to remain still when in line or when being presented individually to the judge is one of the most common problems handlers encounter in the show ring. But why? Dogs know, and have known for thousands of years, how to stand still. Our pure-bred show dogs are no different. How often do we see them free at home standing in the perfect stack and wonder why they won’t do the same thing for us in the ring?

Often the reason a dog won’t stand still when we ask them to is because they’re simply challenging the hierarchy. Effectively, our dog is telling us, “You’re not the boss of me and I don’t have to stand still if I don’t want to”. This is why when training your dog it’s so important to confirm that you’re the ‘top dog’ in this relationship. Between humans and dogs, hierarchy is a matter of will and not, I repeat, not of force.

When a dog challenges your authority by saying, “I don’t have to stand for you”, your answer is and must be, “Yes you do!” This no/yes contest is only concluded once your dog finally accepts your dominant position in the hierarchy by standing still. The point is, if you don’t give up, then your dog will. All it takes is practice, patience and perseverance. It really is that easy.

Put simply, the rule is: The top dog is the one that never, never, never gives up.

So, who’s the top dog in your relationship? Your dog or you?

6 thoughts on “Stacking Show Dogs: Part I

  1. Thank you for sharing your know-how! Any hints how to fix the situation when a dog does not want to stand still but is pulling backwards and “pushing” his legs forward – I mean not standing properly over his front?

  2. Thank you Peter I will practice this week and see if I can make a change. I have a baby puppy verging on minor.

  3. Thank you Peter, your tips are very understandable and to the point, as a beginner in showing I knew that I was in the wrong not my dog so reading your words really helped me.
    Regards Trish

    • Trish you are really starting out on the right foot in handling dogs when you have that attitude. We do not have to teach our dogs anything, they already know how to do every thing that is required of them in the ring, all we need to do is have them do what they already know what to when we want them to do “it”. It is as easy as that. Best, Peter.

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