The Key to stacking success.
Stacking dogs for the show ring is the easiest task we handlers are asked to achieve.
Presenting our dogs in a motionless pose should take no longer than 2 to 6 seconds to finish.
So, what is required to achieve this response without difficulty and have little or no resistance to our request – “Still right hand”.
The technique is simple and requires the minimal of effort when the action is carried out in slow motion and a primary goal is gained.
The absolute first requirement is to have the dog come to a halt and stand still within its own weight and not move. At this point the primary aim is to have the dog stand still, if it moves practice the blocking action, remember if you do not give up then your dog will.
Now with the right hand place the four fingers (small breeds one or two fingers with the remainder tucked into the palm) set a cradle in the yoke of the dog’s jaw line.
Next have the palm rest against the dog’s cheek with the thumb running along the muzzle down to the nose leather. This hand position also has the advantage of not intruding onto the judge’s side thus not interfering with the judges view of the head.
Now fight the urge to try and hold the dogs head up, that is not your job, the anatomy between the head and the shoulders (the neck) is designed for that task.
Your right hand is to indicate to the dog how high you wish the dog to hold its head up and which direction you wish the dog to look towards.
Now have your hand remain motionless.
Whatever you do keep your hand still and do not allow the dog to lower the head whilst you set about correcting the leg or legs that might be out of place. If you do allow this to happen, then after you have completed the leg placement manoeuvre the head has to be repositioned back to the original. By having to do this, risks unbalancing the dog and causing the dog to replace the legs you have just spent all that valuable time setting, now your task has just been duplicated. Once set keep the right hand in place and dead still.
The trap at this point is to move legs that are already in the exact required position and remember if you look down and are undecided whether to move a leg – THEN DON’T!
If you are that close and cannot make up your mind, then a judge 2 metres (yards) away will have no reason to question the dogs leg position.
Now having reached this stage, comes your greatest challenge, not to fiddle, tickle, stroke, bait, pat or anything just do NOTHING!
Dogs know how to stand, you do not have to teach them or hold them in a position un-familiar to them. Trying to hold them in an out-balance stance will just have them resist and eventually re-position themselves to a stance that is comfortable.
Keep still, and keep in mind that if we humans can stand still for two hours (i.e.: The Queens Guards) and we stand on two legs and pump our blood up and down, then our dogs can easily accomplish the tasks we ask of them considering they stand on four legs and only have to pump their blood horizontally.
Remember your right hand is only for elevation and direction, when you overcome your human belief that you need to interfere, then you and your dog will be much happier exhibitors.