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Discussion in 'Dog Showing' started by I Believe I Can Fly, Jan 2, 2009.

  1. I Believe I Can Fly

    I Believe I Can Fly New Member Registered

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    Hello,

    I would like to see many comments here, I am really interested in opinions worldwide!

    Although it is connected to a certain show, I think it might be a general question.

    It happened, that there was some whippets on a show - some better ones and some worse. They were all judges by the same way, so it was not about didn't touch one and frighten the other. But, there were some really nice dogs - they should win the titles definetly! - but they were shy, and couldn't behave at all. Instead of running, they were jumping, no correct standing for a moment, but their tails were under them all the time, and the judge could not touch them at all, or only when the handler kept the leader strongly.

    Of course, they didn't win. The BOB and BOS dogs had much more faults, but they could behave well.

    I wrote my opinion on a forum - I am sorry of their behave, because they could win easily, as they did before with an other handler, but I agree, they should not win if they are shy.

    I got a comment, that it is not true - shyness is not a fault in whippets, it would be more important to see the anatomy, and give the titles to these shy dogs.

    What do you think? Is it forgivable for whippets to be shy in the show ring?

    I have 2 adult whippets, and now the puppies. They just cannot be frightened of anything. They enjoy shows, sometimes kissing the judge for more strokes, it is difficult to use the public transport with them, because all travellers have to deal with them, they are jumping on them all the time to attract their attention. So it is not a question for me, that a whippet should be like that... And I met other whippets as well, and most of them was like that. So I experience that having, showing confident whippets is not a problem. So why should we excuse shyness? For me, whippets are perfect pets, family dog, and I know, having a shy dog makes the owner's life very difficult. Temperament must be very important... Most of the people owning whippets just want a pet, not a show dog. They don't care if they are beautiful, when they cannot live an easy life with them...
     
  2. I Believe I Can Fly

    I Believe I Can Fly New Member Registered

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    Of course, I do think it is stupid to give bad marks to dogs because they don't know how to behave in a show ring - they are not worse because the owner didn't teach them. But you can see the difference between a beginner and a shy dog...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 2, 2009
  3. meddling

    meddling 'Dibs' Registered

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    It can be very difficult to assess the merits of a show dog who does not behave well and show off its finer points, if they do not move properley or stand correctly its quite difficult.

    But temperment is important, as if a animal does well in the show ring it is more likely to be bred from, either gender, and it is highly undesirable to breed from a nervous or neurotic dog or bitch, whatever the breed however perfectly constructed they are.
     
  4. seaspot_run

    seaspot_run New Member Registered

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    I don't think that a Whippet should have to show like a poodle, but a good ring attitude is part of what makes a dog show quality. And being properly trained and presented is also part of the show. You're not just representing your breed to the judge, but to the ringside, many of whom might be deciding if they ever want to buy or recommend one of the breed you are showing. So, it's important that your dog make a good impression, and that the exhibitors make a good impression by having their dogs trained and conditioned. Puppies are allowed to act up a little, but dogs shown in the adult classes should be trained if you are at a show where championship points and certificates are handed out. I think most countries have minor shows or match shows where inexperienced dogs and handlers can gain experience and training opportunities--if you can't find those, then get together with some friends and make your own training session that mimics a show ring.

    Whippets should be willing to do what the handler asks of them, and have a steady and calm demeanor in the ring. If they have some extra "sparkle", so much the better, but I would not place an obviously shy dog or one who appeared miserable to a high award.

    Looking at it another way, why would you ask your dog to do something repeatedly that makes it so obviously miserable? Some dogs just hate it. Why force them to do it? Maybe they would be happier trying some other activity.

    A breeder/owner can determine if the dog's ring attitude is due to environment or to genetics, and if they feel the dog was traumatized or improperly socialized early on, then if the conformation is outstanding, one can certainly try breeding that dog.

    But if the dog is from a line which tends to be shy or nervous, that to me is not a breeding prospect for the show ring. I've seen some of my friends make excuses for temperament and attitude and end up with dog after dog they have bred which will not show well enough to win anything.

    Temperament is one of the most hereditary things there is. Ring attitude and stability should be taken into consideration in breeding every bit as much as shoulders and toplines.

    Karen Lee
     
  5. Avalonia

    Avalonia New Member Registered

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    I am with Karen Lee on this one.

    Temperament is an important aspect of the breed, and I do not believe that dogs with social problems -- including acute shyness should be bred to or from, even if that shyness is alleged to be from lack of socialization by the owner at some critical early stage in the dog's development. While I think it is permissible to forgive a young dog in its first show ring experiences with being frightened and offset by the change of environment, I do not believe that forgiveness should extend beyond what is called the junior puppy age here in North America -- which covers pups from 6 to 9 months. Dogs can and should be able to adapt to reasonable circumstances, and if they cannot, then we have to consider why we would contemplate passing their genes on to a new generation. I strongly believe it is critical that a dog being considered for its merit in terms of conformation (and ultimately its contribution to the whelping box) has to be assessed in terms of not just its conformation but its sociability. A well conformed dog that is a cowering timorous psychological disaster is not a whippet we should be considering breeding to, however well conformed it may be.

    Some years ago I had the opportunity, in Europe and I won't namethe country, to buy a stunning male dog who had won a his first qualifying championship award towards his title under an esteemed breeder/judge as a junior puppy. I met the dog in a car park at a championship show site where he accompanied another member of his breeder's bloodline (who has since become a multiple champion and top stud dog in Europe). This young dog was positively stunning and exceptionally well conformed, but he was also incredibly fearful, retreating, afraid of his own shadow, and as other dogs passed the car in which he was an inhabitant he barked loudly and aggressively, growled, at the same time as he recoiled and basically acted like a very fearful dog. When I extended my hand to him he snapped out of fear. He did not bite me, but it was not for want of trying. Through the day I saw him I watch as he approached by me, or other humans beyond his owner, and saw always the same reaction -- snapping, retreating to the back of his crate and shivvering. Taken outside his crate on the ground where other dogs move he alternately recoiled and moved forward aggressively. He was always on guard, never at ease, and so obviously distraught it was heartbreaking to watch.

    I had wanted so badly to own this dog, and this dog's bloodline, that I had travelled to Europe to see him with the intention of buying him, but reality took hold when I saw his behaviour. I advised his breeder/owner that since we run our male dogs in packs if this dog could not/would not be able to fit into a 10 male dog pack, we could not dare consider purchasing him. Bless his owner, who also too recognized the acute shyness/ fear which had by this stage moved beyond the puppy first show fearful stage -- and so it was suggested he would be run on and socialized and taken to handling classes to instill the confidence he had, to this point not shown any evidence of having.

    To make a long story short, this spectacular dog never made it past this stage. His breeder acknowledged that he had a definite problem with social skills that made it impossible, despite all efforts, to make him feel happy, at ease, welcome in any external activities, including shows. With great reluctance I made the decision there was nothing we could do to instill what the dog lacked genetically in the personality and comportment department, and his owner / breeder at the same time acknowledged that for whatever reason -- and there was none any of us could think of -- this was a psychically wounded dog who would never be comfortable in new circumstances or in unexpected situations, and the decision was therefore reluctantly made to take this beautifully conformed dog and have him neutered. He was ultimately placed in a home with a single individual living in a lone, rural situation where I understand he still lives today.

    No breed needs psychically damaged dogs. Whatever the reason this pup, out of all of his litter, exhibited traits that were not normal and that could not be altered with careful training and desensitization to the elements of the world that distressed him. He was, at the same time as he was the pick of his litter, also, so sadly, the one dog in his litter who could not, should not, and fortunately never would because of his breeder's wise decision, ever be used in a breeding program and bred to produce another generation so untypical of this gentle, sensitive but sensible and affectionate breed.

    It is important that pups be socialized early and learn to appreciate changing climates and circumstances. Dogs who cannot thrive happily in many different situations, and certainly in situations outside their own home turf, are not dogs we should ever entrust the future of the breed to.

    Lanny
     
  6. Seraphina

    Seraphina Active Member Registered

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    As others already said, temperament is important.

    But we have to distinguish what is a bad temperament. Obviously, dog so shy that he is a fear biter is no argument. On the other side of the scale; dog that is so "friendly" that it leaps into the arms of any unsuspecting stranger and tends to knock visitors to the ground slobbering all over them, while the owner tries to pull the dog off, is not exactly my idea of a great temperament. Friend bought a boxer like the latter; it was advertised as a "great outgoing temperament". (w00t)

    But there is a lot of gray area in between. However in the ring it is simple; the dog has to stand and move so the judge can see what the dog looks like. Dog that pulls away and goes around the ring in great leaps and bounds cannot be assessed. Naturally there has to be consideration given to baby pups, and most judges are quite patient with bit older but still young dogs, but they have stand still at least for few seconds, and make few nice steps. Whichever class they are, if they do not show what they look/move like, they cannot be placed, the judge cannot be guessing what they may look like if they did not struggle.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 3, 2009
  7. petrezselyem

    petrezselyem New Member Registered

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    I think that there are so many excellent dogs -both genders-coming from all the types and bloodlines that everybody should avoid breeding Whippets with such problems....balanced body and good temperament have to walk hand in hand.

    Don't forget that most of the Whippets bred by anybody, will live in pet/companion homes. They have to live a family life, have to be fearless in situations like town traffic, guests in the house, children, etc. The hobby owners would like to own friendly, brave and well behaved Whippets.

    The others those go to show homes have to be friendly and easy-to-handle as well....

    Of course there are dogs who simply dislike shows. This is not a menthal problem I think.....I also dislike shows at all so I really know what I am talking about. But I am a human being of course so I can force myself...... :lol: :lol:
     
  8. I Believe I Can Fly

    I Believe I Can Fly New Member Registered

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    Thanks for the comments from everyone! And yes, Maia, that's what I am talking about. It is not so difficult to breed dogs with good temperament, since we can see plenty of them!

    I don't think that the dogs I was writing about are shy genetically. It is more because of their owner. For example, they just arrived to the show, locked the whippets in a crate, then take out them for the judgement only. If I was them, and shows are about being in a small crate for all day, I would hate the shows as well...

    We could say, that shows are for more than breeding - to have a BIS winner, it must look well in the ring. I have a dog, who loves to be in shows - she is running around like the queen of the ring, judges must pay full attention to her, and forget that there are other dogs there. It could happen that she is not OK in breeding (but she is also great there :D ), but she is a good advertisement for my kennel anyway, and I could decide if she is OK for breeding or not. Fortunately, show results cannot affect good breeders - they could decide themselves if the MultiCH dog is really a good example for the breed, or they would choose the 2nd placed male for stud, because he is just not a star, but have a better angulation or fix in pedigree, etc.

    But on the other hand, there is a reason why the dog is afraid on shows! So it is better for them if they neglect shows, and we all know, that if a dog is successfull in shows, the owner will take him to another and another... If not, maybe the owner will question why - and probably understand, that he has to forget this bloodline, or think over how to treat and raise up dogs.
     
  9. rls22

    rls22 Rachel - Citycroft Registered

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    I whole heartedly agree with this post.

    As the vast majority of dogs go to be much loved family pets, temperament is paramount.

    We would never breed from a nervous dog/bitch of questionable temperament, be it in or out of the ring. I would really hope that we are all together on this.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 3, 2009
  10. seaspot_run

    seaspot_run New Member Registered

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    I don't equate poor ring attitude if it's just a matter of the dog doesn't enjoy showing and doesn't like to "turn on" for the ring with poor temperament from a pet owner standpoint.

    We're talking about several rather different issues.

    The poster who started the thread seemed to be witnessing shy, nervous, shrinking behavior in the ring, with dogs who were difficult to examine because they pulled away from the judge. I think most of us would agree that this probably IS a temperament issue and would show itself in a companion situation as well if there isn't a REALLY good excuse for it (and there seldom is nowadays, since most people socialize and train their puppies).

    I do remember some of the very old time kennels which were from the days of no vaccines that worked against dread diseases like Distemper had a philosophy of not ever taking puppies away from the kennel for fear they might get sick. This worked well to prevent puppies dying of distemper but didn't do a whole lot for promoting socialization and some of those kennels as they went forward into the '80's and '90's had youngsters who showed up in rings clearly less outgoing and confident because of this lack of early exposure to the outside world. But over time, if the temperament was basically sound, the dogs would come to relax and be more confident. Exhibitors who came of age in the modern era of good vaccines have no such excuses. If you haven't bothered to get your dog ready to be shown by socializing it and getting it out in public to develop confidence, then you don't deserve a good placement--in my book. It would be like taking a coated breed which is supposed to be groomed and judged on coat quality into the the ring with matted hair. Preparation for showing is more than just what happens the morning of the show.

    Inherent shyness or fearfulness isn't a temperament that should be bred from, period. Nor should an uncontrollably aggressive one. I think most people understand that when it comes to looking at other people's dogs, but a lot of people do make a lot of excuses for their own dogs. It's an easy trap to fall into.

    Now, there are a lot of Whippets who are absolutely delightful in a companion situation and aren't shy at all, just think that showing is bunk and not anything they want to do. These dogs are more stubborn than anything else. They don't like it, and so they tune out their handler and are just not willing to move out or use ears. Sullen ring attitude is certainly hereditary in my experience, but those dogs are often very nice stable calm housepets and you can't say they have bad temperaments--just that they lack competitive desire in the show ring and have undesirable attitude for a show dog. If the conformation is outstanding, then they can be bred, but should be bred to a showy dog or line. The dogs we started out with weren't particularly showy for the most part, but they had good conformation and we tried to improve the ring attitudes on our dogs by breeding them to dogs who were natural showmen. These earlier dogs weren't shy--they just wouldn't animate in the show ring. But some of them were demons on the coursing field, so if you offered them an activity that they really liked, they were plenty enthusiastic.

    A higher degree of showmanship is sought in the US ring than was the case when we first started. When we first started, it was enough to have a dog who would move with you and stand still, so long as it did not actually shrink from the judge or shake the whole time. But now that is no longer the case. Your dog must be willing to move out with head carriage that is confident, and should free stack and use ears and give plenty of expression if you hope to do well consistently. So, I'm a lot harder on ring attitude than I used to be when I grade my own litters. It's no fun to drag a reluctant Whippet around the ring and have the judges tell you over and over that they liked the dog on the table, but it just wasn't using itself well enough to reward with a higher placement or award.

    I think we've gone a bit too far in asking for showmanship in Whippets in the US, but if the alternative is going back to the days of the shrinking, shivering Whippet with clamped ears and a look of distaste for the entire process, then I guess I'm happier with the overkill.
     
  11. dragonfly

    dragonfly New Member Registered

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    Shyness should not be forgiven in the ring, but I do think that a good judge will do their very best to put a dog at ease, even if it is not possible to go over them properly.

    An exhibitor with a normally confident dog behaving spookily for the first time should probably withdraw from the ring and give their whippet a confidence boost outside the ring, find a quiet spot and get a friend to help the dog enjoy a bit of attention while still in a show situation. Even happy confident dogs can have an off-day once in a while, maybe they are not feeling great or the dog on the next bench had a bit of a go and made them windy.

    Here is a question. You are a judge - It is the novice class -the only two dogs in the class are both shy and you cannot go over them as normal. They move OK but don't want to be touched and back off when you approach. Do you withold the awards?
     
  12. seaspot_run

    seaspot_run New Member Registered

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    At an AKC show, you could excuse both dogs. This is direct from the AKC rules for Conformation Judges:

    The above appears to apply mainly to dogs who might bite, but a very shy or fearful dog might bite as well, plus you cannot be expected to check the dog for disqualifications if it will not allow you to examine it without risking a fear bite. Most judges don't do this, but some do.

    But a dog who just shakes and acts unhappy or timid but submits to examination, I think you place the dogs after handling them kindly, and then you explain to both handlers when you hand them their ribbons that you cannot consider the dogs for any further awards until their ring demeanor is improved.

    At a match show, you can just leave the dogs unexamined if you feel it will be too stressful for them, but not take them any further, again explaining to the exhibitors that the dogs need a lot more experience and training before they can be considered for a competitive award.
     
  13. Avalonia

    Avalonia New Member Registered

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    Yes. Why is such a dog being taken into the ring to begin with? If they aren't socialized they are not awardable dogs. Enuf said.

    Lanny
     

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