I train for the conformation ring no differently than I would train for the obedience ring! And YES, you can train them both at the same time!!! In conformation, I train dogs, to look forward, run slightly ahead, stop, stand and stay when told. I also play with them to keep them animated so they are always looking their best when the judge sneaks a peek over at them. They know to bait to the judge, walk towards them when I ask, and to stand confidently for an examination. These skills are definitely taught and go hand in hand with obedience. Stand, stay. Sit, stay. Down, stay. These are all obedience commands.
Conformation helps to create our obedience dogs!
Without proper conformation, how can our dogs do the jobs that they were meant to do? Dogs with poor conformation, can they physically do the job? Or if their temperament is not what it should be, do they have the ability to be confident enough to move stock?
You often hear people talk about form and function, I believe these questions are what they're referring to. There are no perfect dogs out there, but this does not mean we cannot help them achieve these goals. That's where training comes in!
Having a hard time with the "stand for exam" exercise? There's no better place than a conformation class to have people going over your dog. This desensitizes them so that they can feel confident when people approach. It also gives you different places to train with lots of distractions. I hear conformation people talking all the time “well I do not want my dog to sit in the conformation ring”, then tell them to stand. As for moving your dog, in obedience we give a HEEL command and in conformation it’s a LET’s GO. Two different commands, two different types of movement.