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Getting those ears up for the judge to see!

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  • tmnb
    started a topic Getting those ears up for the judge to see!

    Getting those ears up for the judge to see!

    My puppy does well with stacking, but she likes to portray the "pet-look" with her cropped ears down flat behind her head. I have tried voice prompts, noises, and treats, but she will raise them, but quickly lay them down again. How do I boast her confidence to keep those ears up? I do not think she has caught onto the "raise your ears, get a treat" concept.

    With the rate she is going, I can only hope for a random squirrel or rabbit to scoot across the ring for the stack judging part of the show.

    How many handlers out there have to discretely raise them at the base? Is it looked at as flaw?

  • Hudson
    I agree with whats already been said.
    Use bait to get her attention and really praise her when she gives you ears -like a big party and immediate release, so she sees it as something really fun, like a game.
    Lots of people toss bait in the air an catch it, that works really well. Or let her know you have the bait, then hold it behind your back, so she will perk up to look for it.
    I'm not a big fan of throwing bait in the ring. I've seen some judges get very angry with this. I've only done it when there aren't any dogs infront of me. And always make sure you pick it up.

    It looks best if you can get her to hold her ears on her own and look alert, but if you have to, you can definitely hold them up.
    I've seen dogs with crop flops in the ring, and you wouldn't even know it, by the way that the handler is able to help support them in the ring.
    If you watch the pros, most of them do in some support the ears a bit at the base. You can either use your hands with finger tips on each side of the ear base, or you can gently pull the skin together at the back of the neck, to kind of pull the ears in. Or if you practice, the way that you hold the show collar can help support her ears -but this may be hard to do if she is pinning them right back...
    Just some suggestions and things to work on.

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  • Ellie&Moose
    I am lucky that Moose baits well with food and is extremely foot motivated.. Sometimes if he's super bored I need to keep him entertained so I will stand in front of him and throw the food in the air like hes going to have to catch it.. That catches his attention usually.. Or I will throw food on the ground(others around don't always like this but this is why teaching their dog a leave it command teaches them not to pick up the bait off the floor)

    Squeaker toys, Talking to them.

    Do you clicker train? Moose caught on 10x faster when I used a clicker for free stacking.

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  • oceanbluedanes
    Do you have her in conformation classes? Practice and exposure might help boost her confidence.

    How food driven is she? Baiting often can help get the ears up but sometimes it doesn't help much, depending in the dog.

    Some handlers will gently pull the skin tight at the top of the neck, behind the ears (along the line of the show lead) to help get them erect. It's not necessary for some dogs but can help others. It is not frowned upon. Some handlers have no choice but to hold up the ear itself which looks a little silly but is not frowned upon either.

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