Change the lead from the left to the right hand (while maintaining the tension) and begin to adjust the rear legs. Do not let go of the lead or let the head drop out of position or you will find the front will need readjusting again.
In some dogs with very good rears, little or no adjustment will be necessary, but if your dog’s rear is out of line, begin by adjusting the left leg and then the right, as with the front.
There’s a greater variation of stances in the hindquarters between breeds. For example, German Shepherds are shown with one rear leg forward and the other back so check your breed photos to see which is correct for your type of breed. However, most are shown with the hind legs parallel and slightly wider spread than the front. The line of the pastern from the hock down should be perpendicular to the ground with toe straight forward.
At this point, your dog should be fairly well “stacked” in its show pose. Make sure none of the legs have shifted and then check your dog’s topline. In most breeds, the topline should be level or sloping downward towards the tail. Again, check your breed’s standard, as some breeds, like the Whippet and Borzoi, require a “roach” back. If the topline is correct, make sure the tail is in the proper position and that your dog’s head is up with an alert and intelligent expression.
As you become more proficient, you will see where you can make further small adjustments to improve the appearance of your dog and minimize its faults while maximizing its strong points. That comes much later, after you gain more experience. Make your dog hold this pose for only a few seconds at first while giving the command “Stay” then offer it lavish praise and reward it.
Practice this several times a day, until after one month or so of practice, your dog will stand for up to five minutes or more without you having to readjust it. Always try to keep these sessions pleasant for both you and your dog and do not be overly critical until it understands what is expected of it.
If you have a puppy, you will have to be especially patient and expect its ability to hold the pose to be much shorter in duration. Your dog must enjoy showing or it will not perform well in the ring. Therefore, try to make it fun and don’t forget to reward your dog with praise and its favorite treats.