A dog whose structure and appearance conforms closely to its individual written breed standard is said to have good conformation.  Dogs compete for the best conformation against other dogs of their breed in AKC conformation shows. Handling a dog in one of these shows looks easy, but is carefully calculated to show the best attributes of the dog.

For more information about conformation shows, see:


Handling Class

The handling class teaches students how to show a dog to its best advantage in the AKC conformation ring.  Students learn about etiquette and rules of the ring.  Experienced instructors explain the complex AKC point system.

Students will learn the basics of posing their dogs squarely for the judge to observe. This includes “hand stacking” where the handler kneels next to the dog and gently moves the feet into position, and “free stacking”, where the handler stands in front of the dog and the dog is free to stand in a comfortable position.

Students will practice “Gaiting” so the judge can observe the movement and structure of their dogs while moving, and will practice holding their dog’s attention while they are being examined by a stranger.  Class will cover baiting, where food is used to hold the dog’s attention, and the importance of grooming.

The class is continuous enrollment with a cost of $10 per class.


For more information please Marlene Schlichtig at 301-577-4786 or