Gilberts' K-9 Seminars News & Review
Copyright (c) 2004-2009 Gilberts' K-9 Seminars
A reader wrote in response to the article: To Bait Or Not To Bait – That Is The Question 
by Pat Gilbert
Dear Pat,
Here is the crux to your position:

1.       What you are describing is NOT BAITING.

Baiting is the attracting of the attention of a dog, and the entertainment of that dog to maintain a level of showmanship.  It may or may not utilize food, or toys.  [I often “bait” my dogs with my voice or my hands, or some other body language].

2.       Too many training methods today use the shortcut of “food luring” rather than direct communication.

Too many training methods, today, for any behavior, use the “lure” of food to teach a behavior.  [I love to see that “trainer” work with a dog with no food drive!]. Because those “trainers” do not know how to “bridge” to the desired behavior, they must constantly rely on food luring to achieve the behavior.  This indicates to me that such “trainers” do not even understand the actual behavior they are attempting to achieve.

3.       Today’s exhibitors have few to NO knowledge of proper “Ring Etiquette.”

First, a dog should NEVER grab for food.  Rule one is: don’t bite the judge!  Such behavior is nothing but the worst of bad manners and exceptionally bad training.  Throwing and/or leaving noticeable amounts of food, toys, or other distractions on the floor can endanger other exhibitors, or even one’s self: another exhibition of bad manners, or lack of consideration for all involved.  [I do enjoy seeing the exhibitor who left food on the floor lose control of his own dog on a “down and back” for that very food!].

After seeing an exhibitor break a wrist due to a fall when the dog being shown dove for food on the ground, I have taken particular notice of the situation you describe. In fact, on my own way around the ring with my 80 pound powerful special as the large group of specials charged around the ring, I discovered myself flying through the air not “with the greatest of ease.”  Fortunately, no one was injured in what could have been a major pile up. That evening, that specials dog and I spent considerable time schooling.  He never again considered anything on the ground at any time. 

Ultimately, I do not know what “the” answer is.  More and more judges are not allowing food in the ring, perhaps that is the start.
Ann E. Keil
Professionally handling dogs since 1972, a second generation handler.
Editor’s Note: Thank you Ann for an excellent response. Original article is at

A reader wrote in response to the article: To Bait Or Not To Bait – That Is The Question 
by Pat Gilbert
I read the article on baiting and the throwing of bait in the ring. We live in the mid-west and yes there is a lot of throwing of bait, but not all people showing are doing it. In the boxer ring I have noticed that it seems to be the same handlers and one former judge that are the ones doing it over and over.  I have seen huge pieces of chicken, half of a hot dog, globs of liver and chunks of cheese hurled out into and out of the ring. When these people leave the ring needs to be cleaned, but usually that doesn't happen, so other dogs coming into the ring try to pick up what is left behind.  Which of course doesn't make showing them to their best advantage very easy.  At one of our very first shows we had a very nice 6 month old male that we noticed a top handler watching before we went into the ring, and we were really pleased that he seemed to like our dog, until we got into the ring and my husband was stacking him for the judge, as the judge started to turn before looking at our puppy a huge piece of meat was thrown right under the pups tummy, startling him and my husband at the same time.  I saw the handler throw it. Needless to say the pup didn't show that well and it took several shows to get him where he wasn't waiting for something to come at him.
I am glad that judges are aware of this and making people clean up after themselves.
Thank you for your time and for the article.
Marge Gubry


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