Placing the Legs & Stacking Tips


Now that you know how your dog is supposed to stand, you must learn how to place the legs. This might seem easy, but if you do not do it correctly you will lose points. If the judge is standing in front of you, position the dog’s front feet first, starting with the front leg on the judge’s side. To position the front leg, hold the leash with your right hand at the point where it joins the collar. If you have a sporting dog, hold him or her by the head as described earlier. Pull the dog slightly to the side to shift his or her weight from the front leg you want to move. Pick up the front left leg at the elbow and place it straight down so the toes are pointing ahead and the leg is directly under the chest. This should put the leg at a 90-degree angle to the ground. Then put the leash in your left hand, holding it at the point where it joins the collar. At this point you can push the dog slightly to the side to shift his or her weight away from you so you can easily stack your dog’s inside front leg (closest to you), using the same method as above. To position the rear legs, grasp the leash where it joins the collar with your right hand. Use your left hand to place the rear leg on the judge’s side first, grasp the leg either by the stifle or hock. Place it so the hock is straight and the toes are pointing forward. This will put the hock at a 90-degree angle to the ground. Do the same with the inside rear leg (or the leg closest to you). Make sure the hocks do not turn in or out.



• In the show ring, your dog will have to remain stacked for one-half hour or more. It takes a lot of training to get a dog to stand this long. You should practice every day, gradually in-creasing the amount of time your dog stands.
• Give your dog a stay command every time you place a foot. This way your dog knows he or she must stay, and you can correct your dog if she or he doesn’t.
• To get your dog to lean forward, pull slightly on the tail. Most dogs will lean forward to counterbalance the pull.
• Reward your dog with a tidbit after he or she has stood awhile. This will keep your dog happy.
• If your dog keeps moving its feet, stack your dog on a raised platform so if he or she moves, he or she will fall off. Remember, keep the platform low enough so the dog cannot get hurt it does fall.
• Place the lead or collar above the throat, but behind the jaw, and directly behind the ears.
• If your dog is standing correctly, do not move the legs.
• Dogs should be baited to get their attention and show expression. Bait may be tiny pieces of a favorite food, a small squeaky toy, or other noise. Do not disturb other dogs in the process.
• Practice stacking your dog—side, front, and rear—in front of a mirror or picture window.
• Even if your dog has conformation faults, you should attempt to stack him or her correctly. You will be judged on your effort. Although each breed stacks a little differently, there are certain basic poses most breeds use. It is a good idea to learn all the poses because some judges may ask you to trade dogs with someone else in the ring. The basic poses are described under “Stacking”.
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