If you haven’t yet read part one of our dog show guide – click here to go back and learn the art of stacking and how to gait your dog. If you have read our post and feel more confident with your pet and working as a team, then it’s time to advance to the next stage of training.
In part 2 of our dog show training guide, we are going to learn about ring craft. We’ll take a look at what ring craft is, how to find a local class and what you can expect to find once you get there.
I’ve never been to a ringcraft class which didn’t provide a warm, friendly and welcoming atmosphere. Majority of the venues will serve tea, coffee, soft drinks and often a range of food varying from a full meal to light snacks. As previously mentioned in the last part of our dog show guide, everyone attending these events will have similar interest and common ground. It’s easy to make friends and it makes an incredible environment, not only for practice but for picking up helpful tips and guidance for your brand new hobby.
What is Ring Craft?
Ring craft is typically run by a dedicated volunteer organization who will be involved within dog showing. These social events are usually run once a week. There may be a small fee to attend these events but this normally isn’t much and helps to cover the cost of the venue.
The individuals running these clubs are often kennel club registered judges and people who are incredibly experienced within the show dog world.
The whole purpose of ring craft is to create an environment similar to what you would experience within a dog show. It allows a more relaxed scenario which allows you and your pet to get used to the general environment of being in a show.
What to expect at Ring Craft Events
At most classes, there will be a circuit laid out on the floor which is a visual guide for you and your dog to follow, this is an important part of being at an official show. The layout will either be a large triangle or square. The reason for this is because at an official show the judge will ask you and your dog to travel in this formation to enable the judge to see the movement of your dog from each angle.
Now, ring craft events do vary greatly in the number of people and dogs attending. Anywhere from 6-60 dogs could be in attendance. There is an advantage however, to both small and large classes.
As there is only one dog at a time on the laid out circuit, a smaller attendance will give you more time and practice sessions simply because there are less people to use the circuit. The benefit of larger venues is that both you and your dog are presented with an atmosphere closer to the real thing at an official dog show.
How to train at the ring craft event
Once you are at the venue and settled in, it’s time for the real practice to begin.
You will have to queue and wait for your turn to use the ring. When you enter the ring you will immediately present your dog to the judge, you should have your dog stacked up at this point.
The judge will then instruct you to move your dog around the circuit. Once you have completed these movements, you will then once again present your dog again to the acting judge in a stacked position.
The acting judge will then examine your dog, this involves running hands over the dog to check its muscle tone, bone structure and how the dog’s bite is. They may then instruct you to perform another movement with your dog and then this will have then concluded the circuit.
Do not worry about messing this up, we all have to start somewhere and the community is nothing but helpful. Everyone attending the event is in the same boat, preparing for attending a show. The acting judge in the ring will guide you in the correct movement, direction and stacking of your dog. This is the core purpose of the classes.
You and your dog should attend these classes as often as possible. The more practice, the more comfortable you’ll become with the show environment. You’re pretty much guaranteed to pick up handy tips from others while attending. This is the starting block of your dog showing adventure.
How to find a local venue
The Kennel Club website offers some great information and a list of ring craft clubs who are registered. There are also many dog breed organisations and local show socialites which run weekly ring craft classes. In today’s age these events are super simple to find by just taking a look online.
In part three of our dog showing guide; we will look into preparing for a show, attending a show and the breakdown of which class you are likely to be entered in.