…down and back please.

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Photo by Sarah Armstrong See how nicely these two are moving together as a team.

It’s a simple request, we all know it’s coming. When we enter our Gordon Setter in a dog show this inevitable request is certain to be uttered at least once by the judge, at least it will if you’ve been able to get through the judge’s examination! So, if we all know it’s coming, why oh why are dogs presented so poorly, so often when exhibiting their gait? Entry fees are expensive, food, gas, motels, all those expenses add up to this 30 seconds or so at a trot. If we blow this part we’re going home without the win we came to collect.

Before we move on to Peter Frost’s excellent advice, let’s start with a couple of easy pointers.

You have to teach your puppy (or dog) to move at your side on a loose lead, not a dragging on the ground, waving in the air loose lead, but one that is not pulling the dog off-balance.

If you haven’t taught your dog to move easily beside you, go back to step one and accomplish that. Hopefully you started this training when your puppy was a baby just learning to walk…well maybe not quite that young!

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Photo by Sarah Armstrong See how nicely these two are moving together as a team.

If you don’t know how to teach your Gordon Setter to move on a loose lead please find yourself a good class or an instructor, be it conformation or obedience, but find someone who can teach you and your dog how to move together as a team.

Now then, Peter’s advice just as I promised. I’ve included links to Peter’s blog here Straight out and back Part I and Straight Out and Back: Part II. He covers tips that will help you learn how to keep your dog on the straight and narrow path that you should be on during this most important part of the judging.

It isn’t about how well your dog stacks, or how long he stands still that is going to earn you the win under most judges. It’s most likely to come down to whether you can present your dog in motion to his best possible advantage. That free-flowing movement, that is what will capture the judge’s eye each and every time.  Have fun learning everyone and best of luck to you all!

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Photo by Sarah Armstrong Even though he’s glancing up for reassurance, this dog is moving freely and without tugging or pulling away from his handler.

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