Show Handling Tips - Stacking

Teach a dog to stand without stuffing food in it’s mouth…
Your show dog lunging at bait does not create a simple, clean and impressive picture. Train without handfuls of bait. Handfuls of food equals bribery, not training.

Watch the video below to see how this is accomplished.

Be Fair and Consistent – Don’t Expect what you don’t Train
If you don’t train a behavior such as a stack, don’t expect it in the ring. It’s just not fair. Put in the time if you want the reward. Remember, Olympic athletes win because of the discipline and training first, then their talents.

Conformation Common Battles

Rocking Horse or Racking Back

If the judge approaches and the dog racks back, you have an outside the ring practice issue. Laura explains a little of this in her personal story at the end of this episode but also:

Conga Line – At a show or kennel meeting with experienced dog people:
  • Stack your dog
  • Have first person approach with a smile and just touch your dog on the back and keep going, reward and release.
  • Repeat with a slightly longer touch – don’t push it. Reward and release.
  • Repeat with pat on head, touch on back, walk around rear and back to standing in the front away from the dog, reward and release.
  • Get the picture… Don’t go to fast. If the dog reacts, go back a step.

  • Balance

    Moving a foot or dancing in the ring could be as simple as poor stacking or stacking your dog in an uncomfortable position.
  • Be sure to stack your dog appropriate to your breed.
  • Practice stacking while looking in a mirror.
  • Print photos of winning dogs and paste them to the mirror to compare.

  • Over Exuberant, Happy Happy

    Yes, we want our dogs to have a good time. Yes, this is an issue if the judge cannot examine. Yes, this is lack of training the basics.

    A happy, happy release from a stand stay is a reward. Watch the agility and obedience rings if this is a new concept to you.

    Sit, Stay, and Stand are all trainable expectations. Practicing or “proofing” these expectations in dog show or public situations are part of your job to prepare your dog for the show ring. It doesn’t just “happen”.

    Laura Reeves PHA
    Laura Reeves is an AKC Breeder of Merit and retired zone rep for the Professional Handlers Association. Laura is a second-generation breeder of German Wirehaired Pointers, under the Scotia Kennel banner.

    In her professional handling career, Laura consistently maintained a low number, high-quality client list. Specializing in rare breeds and challenging dogs, she piloted multiple dogs to Best in Show, Best in Specialty Show, #1 rankings and more.

    Laura's weekly column "As the Wheels Turn" ran continuously for three years on Best In Show Daily. Her current adventure as host of the Pure Dog Talk podcast lends her particular combination of skills to exhibitor and public education platforms.

    CREDIT: Many other useful articles can be found at