319 — Cavalettis for Show Dogs with Vicki Ronchette

Owner Handler Secrets to Success (1)

Cavalettis for Show Dogs with Vicki Ronchette

Vicki Ronchette with her Lowchen.

Show Dog Prep School founder Vicki Ronchette shares her tips and tools for using cavalettis to train body awareness, conditioning and more.

Cavalettis, Ronchette said, are useful for a variety of issues. Dogs who pace, forge on the leash, need to know where to put their feet amongst other topics are well served by practicing with caveletti training.

One of the most common uses is to build muscle memory to increase reach and extension, Ronchette said. “Most dogs love doing the cavalettis,” she added.

Using simple, inexpensive materials, Ronchette provides direction for building and utilizing these obstacles in an exhibitor’s “tool kit” of preparing the dogs for the show ring.

How To’s and Why For’s

One of Ronchette’s most frequently asked questions is how far apart to set the poles for proper gaiting. She said she measures from the front toe to the back toe when the dog is in a comfortable stack. That is the “elementary” distance the poles are placed apart. As the dog gains skill and confidence, the poles are moved further apart to make them the dog increase its stride.

“We’re asking these dogs to be athletes in the show ring,” Ronchette said. “It’s more than just walking around. It’s walking around and looking fabulous.”

One specific training opportunity Ronchette uses the obstacles for is to teach not to chase other dogs. “I make them concentrate on foot work instead of chasing,” she observed.

“I strongly believe that if there is any physical limitation the dog is aware of it and it increases anxiety,” Ronchette said. “When you do these type of exercises, the dog ‘owns’ that behavior and it creates confidence. Confidence changes a dog’s carriage.”

Ronchette’s course at Show Dog Prep School.

Canine Conditioning with Dixie Rae Sick.


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