66 – Free Stack Perfection: Dog Show Basics Expanded with Laura Reeves

free stack perfection

Free Stack Perfection – Nail it Every Time!

Impress with the Best with tips from Laura Reeves.

In episode #2 we talked about the basic practice for training the free stack.

Free Stack – Tip #1 – Opposites Attract

When training the basic free stack, if you step towards the dog, the dog backs up.  If you step backwards, the dog moves up.  Step sideways or turn and the dog adjusts to your front.

Now we are going to put the leash on, use a little bait and set a perfect stack.

  • Stand squarely in front of your dog.  Shoulders back and good posture.  Make eye contact affirming your watch command.
  • Move forward to back you dog up.  Back the dog until he sets his rear properly.
  • Back up slightly until dog moves front feet forward.  Use the leash gently if necessary.  Reward immediately the perfect stack.

Free Stack – Tip #2 – Dancing with your Dog

Think Dancing with the Stars!  Each dance partner has their own space.  Shoulders back, posture erect, tummy in and balanced.

Slight movement in your body and your dancing dog adjusts.  Both are bonded through eye contact.  Your right hand is an extension and expression that mirrors the headset of your dog.

Free Stack – Tip #3 – Focus and Zen Mode Watch

In the basics we stressed the importance of a good watch command.  Being able to maintain focus and eye contact is paramount.  A good watch will keep your dog focused when there are distractions outside the ring.

Spend time doing the “Zen Mode Watch”.  Practice it in relaxed situations with lots of positive reinforcement.  Practice it until “Watch” is a reward in itself.

The Zen Mode Watch is an understated, elegant, confident, quiet focus.  If you aren’t sure what this looks like, study Andy Linton and his amazing free stacks.

Extra Tip – Throwing Bait

If you must toss bait – don’t throw your bait in front of another dog.   Don’t distract another dog. Be a good sport and be sure to pick it up.


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