YEW TREE CANINE SOCIETY
What is Ringcraft?
Ringcraft is the art (craft) of presenting (standing and moving) your dog or puppy in manner which is correct for your breed type in an area designated as a “Ring”. The Trainer or judge will be in charge of the ring so you must show good ring etiquette, that is being courteous to the judge or trainer, being attentive and being in control of your dog at all times - including responsible dog ownership by clearing up any mess your dog or puppy makes. Ringcraft Training General Training. The trainer will initially ask those dogs and owners being trained to stand on the training mats and present their dog/s to them. The trainer will then visually look at each dog from the side and then the rear, moving then onto the front, looking for all aspects of correct shape and outline. The first dog in the line up will be asked to stand on its own on the mat and to “stand” or “present” their dog/puppy to the trainer. From the head, the trainer will start the process of “going over” or having “hands on” to feel for correct conformation and structure. At this point there are many ways to present your dog...... 1. From the side - “stacking” - holding the head/jowls with your right hand (including lead) and tip of tail with your left. 2. From the side - “Free-standing” (presenting with the lead) - dog standing correctly for the breed on its own unaided with exhibitor holding lead out in right hand.* baiting may help here to control your dogs position. 3. From the front - “Free-standing” (body to head) - standing directly in front of your dog, controlling your dog with lead in your left hand and *baiting or using your knee/body movements to keep your dog standing correctly. **baiting is the act of controlling your dogs position/movement by teasing a piece of bait about 10 inches in front of your dogs vision without allowing him/her to get it - when they have behaved as required then you may reward them with it - this comes with practise! Your dog will always be presented between you and the judge at all times - this is what we call “ THE GOLDEN RULE ” Normally your dog is presented with its head at right hand, from right to left, but in certain cases like being left handed or a neighbouring dog in the line up may be a bit keen, you may reverse this position but it may be frowned upon by some judges. The trainer will go over your dog/puppy in the same manner above (free-standing or stacking) with breeds that are shown on a table. At this point i would like to add that trainers are NOT breed specialists but if the exhibitor asks for specific areas of their breed to be checked due to type, i.e. testing the pelt (coat) for tightness on a Border Terrier, then the trainer can do so if they know how or are shown by the breeds owner. The Head and Neck. The trainer, as in the same manner a judge would do, will commence “going over” the head first, looking at eyes, feeling for head shape, stop and occiput. He or she will check furnishings “head feathering”, muzzle, nose and most important is the teeth - show dogs, in most cases, must have the correct dentition for its breed type. They will also check for ear type/length and ear set (position on skull). The neck shape and thickness is then checked. The Body. Initially the trainer would have studied the outline which will have included the body shape, its top and underlines and visually depth of chest. In going over the body, the front is first, checking the withers, shoulder set, down onto the front legs. The front should be straight on most breeds but again that is down to breed type. Moving along the body, both hands are placed around the chest, feeling for depth and width with spring of ribs, again breeds have different chest shapes and depths. Moving hands up into the coupling and tuck up area going over the croup  down onto tail (set) then over the rear which includes upper/inner thighs, turn of the stifle, length and let down of hocks, checking for testicles (dogs) and finally checking length of tail, thickness and feathering. I personally, as a trainer, enjoy “going over” our dogs in this manner, as its more intense and would be as near to being “judged” as you would at a show. Movement. Once all aspects of “going over“ has been completed then the trainer will ask you to move your dog. The exhibitor should position themselves to the right of the judge with their dog/puppy in-between ready to move away. The lead should be at the correct length and held correctly in the left hand. The beginning of the move should be controlled with the handler and dog/puppy moving at the same rate away from the trainer, this can be achieved by 2 different methods: 1. Circle you and your dog/puppy around, clockwise, then move off without stopping, leading from the left foot (two paces) then into slow/ medium or fast rate which is relevant to the correct gait of your breed type. 2. Settle your dog with a stand then move away, leading from left foot, command dog to move, and then settling on moving at the rate associated to your dogs correct gait for its breed type. Initially the exhibitor is taught to move their dog/puppy in a triangular pattern i.e. away, across to the left, then back, diagonally to the trainers position. On approaching the trainer you should decrease you and your dogs speed and stop about 2 feet in front of the trainer bringing you and your dog around on the spot in a circle (about turn), ensuring your dog is between you and the trainer. The trainer will then ask you to move away in a straight line, same methods as above, to the edge of the ring/end of mat and return and finish, with the same move as above, once again 2 feet in front of the trainer. This time finishing by presenting your dog in a manner relevant to your breed type. The trainer will help and support you in all aspects of presenting and moving your dog ensuring that you are ready for the show ring. Please visit our Training page for the format of the evenings activities. There are many aspects of moving you and your dog (Handling) which we will cover on our Handling page.  
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