Ring training has proven to be essential if you want to participate with your dog at club matches or other dog shows. It helps you to present your AmStaff the right way in front of the judge. Nowadays, showing, or better said, presenting a dog is a professional thing where the smallest details can make the difference between winning and losing.
Ring training´s primarily function is to teach the dog how to present itself in its best way in front of a judge. This would preferably be as relaxed as possible and alert at the same time. Most important is that the dog should have fun.
In the past, double-handling was used to get the dogs attention. It´s attention is drawn in some way by someone outside the ring. The dog will show itself very well and appears to be alert, but this type of showing is currently forbidden. The Raad van Beheer has registered this under the Penal Code (Art.260) of the Household Rules of Procedure. A good ringmaster will keep his eyes open to prevent this from happening. When he sees it, he will notify you to stop this, and in the extreme case, disqualification will follow. So, training, or better practicing, with the dog is a must. This to realize a good presentation, which is essential.
The judge must be able to judge the dog if it is in a stacked position, and when it´s on the move. And to complete the good overall picture he must be able to touch the dog. As you can imagine not all dogs do like this, and one dog can be easier on this subject than another. In addition to all this, our American Staffordshire Terrier, will be judged on its temperament. Because of its origins this factor is considered more important than with other breeds.
A dog who has learned to be touched during the ring training (preferably by strangers) will get used to this and if this happens on the day of the show, the chance that the dog will display any strange behaviour will be brought back to a minimum. And as we all know, strange or aggressive behaviour can lead to disqualification.
During these ring training sessions, the situation of a show is imitated as accurate as possible. Things that are being practised and considered important are:
- Stacking and stay still
- To show the teeth
- Let themselves being touched or examined and their behaviour in relation to humans and animals (temperament) Show their gait, this in a triangle, and as well running up and down with the dog
- Gaiting in a group, normally the dogs will trot around in a circle
These 5 elements are the basic elements of the show. The ring trainer will “judge” the dog during the ring training with the look of a judge. In this way, the trainer can give you good advice and good tips to improve the dogs’ performance during the show.
The instructor can also point out beauty errors your dog has. Jip, not 1 dog is perfect ?, not even yours! He will tell you how to hide or show away this error. He can advise you as well on other little things, like the type of clothes to wear, or not to wear, when you present your dog. For example, if a black AmStaff is being shown, it may be that it is not convenient to wear black pants as the dog then fades away in the colour of the clothes.
He will also teach you and explain you what it’s all about on shows. He will explain you about all the different titles to obtain, and all the different classes there are on the dog show.
It is very useful to start ring training as early as possible. Our advice is to start with the dog if it´s still a puppy. Apart from preparing your dog to a good show dog, it is also a good and responsible step in the dog’s socialization process.
Kynologists associations (also known as KCs), regional associations and dog schools, give courses concerning ring training. It should therefore always be possible to follow a course or join a training in your neighbourhood. There are associations that have a course of a certain number of classes. Others have a fixed weekly hour on which interested persons can join in. We also see more and more that professional handlers give seminars or organise short courses.
If this ring training is just too much work for you, you can also use professionals who will show your dog at a dog show. We call these persons “handlers”.
If you would like to have advice on how this all works, please contact us. We can point you to a professional handler in every country we have good experience with.