TIPS FOR HANDLERS
How a Bulldog is handled in the show ring can make the difference between whether it wins or loses. Since the judge has only a few minutes to examine and gait each entry in a class, the person handling the dog must make every minute count. So it is of utmost importance to present the dog to the judge in the most favorable light possible in a very brief period of time. Those who fail to present their dogs properly are at a distinct disadvantage. The judge is only human and is likely to respond more favorably to a well-presented entry. It should come as no surprise when a dog of lesser quality out places a poorly handled dog of slightly superior quality.
Successful Bulldog exhibitors know it is next to impossible to hide obvious faults in this shorthaired breed. Physical faults of any consequence in the Bulldog are nakedly exposed to the trained eye of a knowledgeable judge. It’s a given that every dog has some faults, so why direct your energies into attempting to conceal them? Most judges are hoping to find something special to admire about your dog. Concentrate instead on allowing your dog’s best points to be evident. The judge’s job is to reward the dogs with the most outstanding qualities. A handler’s biggest mistake is to make the dog seem to be of lesser quality than it actually is.
Here are just a few mistakes to avoid in handling a Bulldog:
q Don’t hold the dog’s head too high in an effort to show off a good lower jaw. This unnatural posture tends to destroy the appearance of a correct topline by causing the dog to appear swaybacked.
q Don’t place the dog’s front feet too far apart in an attempt to make the chest appear wider. Place the front feet directly under the shoulder. This provides better balance and the appearance of stability and soundness.
q Don’t place the hind feet farther back than the dog’s rump. This unnatural posture straightens out the topline as well as the stifles and the hocks. Place the hind feet directly under the rump.
q Don’t call unnecessary attention to faulty ears, jaws and so on by constantly fiddling with them or attempting to hide them.
q Don’t gait your dog too fast or on a tight lead. Both efforts tend to destroy the Bulldog’s otherwise proper shuffling, rolling gait.
q Don’t lose sight of the judge for more than a few seconds. Always focus on your dog’s appearance, but don’t “overhandle” it by fussing with it too much while the judge is trying to get a good look at it.
q Don’t stack your dog too close to other dogs. Give it room to be seen by the judge.
q Don’t restack your dog after the judge has assisted in stacking it.
Finally, never stop showing your dog until all the placements have been made. A last minute change of heart can put your dog in the ribbons.
- William Andree, 204 S. Beach Dr., Monticello, IN 47960.