Prepare and Train Your Puppy For The Show Ring
Hints and Tips
We always advocate allowing the puppy to play, have fun and grow up in their own time. But ...training has to start at some stage of it's life if it is intended that it will attend dog shows. Training for a puppy need not be strict or too formal and your puppy can be happily occupied whilst having fun and learning along the way.
The first part of training your boxer puppy can start from the early stages of it's life (after innoculations). Get friends and family involved to gently handle the pup, so that he/she gets used to being handled by a number of different people. Having others involved makes it much more fun for everyone and you will end up with a more confident dog.
Don't teach your show pup to sit! You want your dog to understand that it should stand and wait for just about everything. Encourage it to do this before you feed. Teach it to STAND and WAIT (using those commands so it associates what it is doing), praise it and say good dog !! Then feed. It doesnt take long before they get the message. After all the boxer loves its food and will happily wag its tail for it. So you will have achieved stage 1of it's training.
Get your pup used to having its teeth looked at. Lift the lips gently so that you can see their smile. Do not be rough as this might put it off for life - then it will back away from the judge and will not be able to have it's mouth assessed properly. (People are very quick to consider such a dog as nervous.) Make a game of it. Get your friends to do the same ever so gently. Do not, under any circumstances, force the mouth open or handle it roughly. It is important to remember that when a puppy is really young they do have a sensitive mouth, just like any baby. They have teething pain ! So be very patient. Kindness is the best way. You may find that when you cuddle the pup is a good time to do this, or when the pup is on its back, etc. Just quickly lift the pups lips so that you can see the teeth, say "TEETH" and make a big fuss to show you're pleased. This way they learn that this can be fun.
Get your pup used to having its body touched. Do a hands on body feel of your dog. Take both hands and go over your dog from top to toe. Hands on the head and feel your way down the body. Down the front legs onto the feet. Up to the shoulders and back and around its ribs. Continue down the body towards the tail. Stroke down the hind legs (back legs). Touch the tail and gently lift it (by stroking/tickling beneath it). If you have a male it must get used to having its testicles felt.
Whilst it is still young get it used to a collar and lead. You may wish to leave the collar on for a few days before you start lead training. You want your puppy to be comfortable and accepting of the collar before you begin attaching a lead to it.
Lead training is again fairly straightforward. The first few times that you attach a lead, let the puppy "lead" you. After that, try to make a game of lead training, but remember to only praise the pup when it has behaved as you want it to.
Start off with the collar and lead, walking around the house and garden and try to get the pup to 'walk to heel' - but not too close, you don't want to trip over the dog. Make sure that you walk the pup both on your right hand side, and also on your left hand side.
Practice walking in wide circles, do triangles and straight up and down. When you go up one way have the pup to your right side, then when you come down again put the dog on your left side. One important thing to remember when showing your dog is the dog must always be positioned between you and the judge. The judge wants to see and assess the dog, not you!
Always praise your dog when he does what you want. It really isnt rocket science. Just repetitive!
Do not allow the pup to pull in front of you on the lead. Correct it gently (not roughly or with sharp tugs), by telling it HEEL and pull it back on the lead. Praise again when it does as it is told. Every time you turn say something like TURN or CLOSE and again praise when it does it. When you stop say WAIT or STAND. Are you now feeling confident?? Ok - then it's time to get a show lead. What is a show lead?? It is what is also called a half choker, (some people call it a half-check or slip lead). We will be happy to advise and demonstrate should you need it.
RING CRAFT training is the most important part of training your dog for the show ring. Dog shows can be an expensive hobby and a well trained and schooled puppy or adult can make all the difference from a 1st place to being un placed.
Whether you're a beginner with your first show dog or an experienced handler and exhibitor, our team of instructors will help you get the best from your dog in the show ring.
We will teach and assist you to present and move your boxer correctly for the dog show ring. Our instructors have a great deal of experience and regularly exhibit their own boxers at the UK Open and Championship Dog Shows. Many of our members regularly show their dogs at Championship shows and compete annually at Crufts.
We can offer friendly, practical advice on all aspects of Dog Showing from handling and moving your dog, entering your first show and even to judging classes of boxers. When your dog and yourself have the training and ability to attend shows, we're always there for further practice and helpful advice.