The next step is to teach your dog to submit to being checked by a complete stranger. Start with a friend who knows the dog; while you hold your dog in its show pose, have your friend touch the dog all over beginning with its head, just as the judge would. This includes parting the dog’s lips so the bite can be seen and picking up the feet one at a time and dropping them back into position. Ask your friend to go slowly and thoroughly and to speak softly to your dog, so as not to scare him.
Practice this more often with people your dog knows and trusts and reward it after each examination. When it calmly accepts the examination, ask someone who is a total stranger to your dog, to do the same.
Attending a handling class for dogs is particularly helpful in this situation. However, if you don’t have access to one, people admiring your dog in a public place, like a park, will often go over to your dog if you ask them. The idea is to get the dog used to remaining still while it’s in its show pose and strangers are examining it.
Another most important part of showing your dog is the gaiting in the ring. You will be asked to gait your dog around the ring with the rest of the class. You will also be required to engage in individual gaiting in specified patterns. There are six main gaiting patterns. You need to learn and practice them with your dog. You must spend as much time practicing gaiting, as you do stacking in the show pose.
It is also important to find the gaiting speed that makes your dog look best. Some dogs extend more and look better at a fast speed, while others lose all grace and symmetry at a fast pace and should be gaited slowly. Ask other dog show competitors, or breed experts, how they think your dog moves best and then have someone else move your dog for you at various speeds and evaluate the gaiting speed yourself. Movement is very important in the show ring. A properly constructed dog should move well, while a poorly constructed dog cannot.
If your dog is gaiting too slowly in the ring, short tugs on the lead will usually speed it up. Never drag your dog along with a constant pull, because it will only fight you. The same is true if your dog wants to move too fast. Generally, you should move your dog on a loose lead in order to show natural, fluid movement.
While gaiting in the show ring, do not crowd the exhibitor in front of you and do not pass unless it is necessary, or unless the judge signals you to do so. If the dog before you is much slower, hold back on your dog when out of the judge’s eye, creating a gap between you and the preceding exhibitor; then move out at your dog’s best pace when in the judge’s view, so he can see your dog at its best.
While gaiting in the ring, try to keep one eye on your dog and the other on the judge, so you can see when the judge is observing your dog and so you are aware if he/she motions to you.
Do not speak to anyone while in the ring, including the judge, unless he/she asks you a question. Keep your dog quiet and on its best behavior and don’t let it sniff or come in contact with the other show dogs as it may frighten them. Never reprimand your dog in the ring. If it misbehaves, take care of it later, but do not cause a scene in the ring, especially in front of the judges.
It is also a good idea to watch the professional dog handlers in action when you can and learn more about different techniques in showing. You can also gain advantage by watching their style and methods.