As the dogs made their way through the course, their trainers gave commands such as sit, heal, down, up, jump, and, lay down. All of this was done in an effort to complete tasks as quickly as possible while going through the course.
On Thursday, members of the 4-H Hotdoggers Club gathered to compete in the obedience and confirmation and agility courses at the Sweetwater and Daggett County Fair.
Sophie Spicer, Superintendent of the 4-H Dog Show said she’s been trying to rebuild the program over the last few years and this year she did see a slight increase in the amount of entries, but it wasn’t where she wanted it to be yet.
Spicer said it appears parents and children just don’t realize they can enter smaller pets, such as dogs, cats, and rabbits into competitions. All they have to do to enter these types on competitions is become a 4-H member and join one of the 4-H clubs. Those who want to join 4-H must be at least 8 years old.
Spicer was in 4-H herself for a long time and always enjoyed her time as a 4-Her and wants to pass that great experience along to others.
“It was always super special,” Spicer said.
A Few Competitors
Prior to the competition, the human participants had a chance to walk through the courses to see what their dog would be required to do.
11-year-old Taylor Hernandez and her red Border Collie, Taffy, were ready for the challenge. This was Hernandez’ third time participating in the competition.
“My whole family has done everything in 4-H and so I do too,” Hernandez said.
Hernandez’ favorite part of the competition is the agility course.
“I think she’s best at agility,” Hernandez said.
Abby St. Marie, a 13-year-old, and her dog Kool-Aid, an Aussiedoodle, were excited to participate in their first competition. Like, Taffy, Kool-Aid, loves to run through the agility course.
However, St. Marie was nervous about how Kool-Aid would perform during the obedience and command portion of the show. She said she not only has been working with Kool-Aid on listening and obedience commands at home, but joining others to run through practice courses.
“We practiced at someone’s house who had the equipment,” she said.
This was a way for St. Marie to get Kool-Aid used to the idea of sitting, walking, jumping, and crawling through tunnels, prior to the competition.
For 17-year-old Alexa Lauze and her dog, Cosmo, a mutt, this was their second year of competing.
Lauze said Cosmo enjoys hiking and that’s what she really is good at, which is why she thinks agility is Cosmo’s strongest event.
“It’s something I know she can do really well,” Lauze said.
Lauze said she obtained Cosmo from the Green River Animal Control Shelter after her family fostered her. Since then, she’s been working with Cosmo by setting up PVC pipes and children’s tunnels for Cosmo to jump over and crawl through. She was trying to do the best she could to prepare Cosmo for the competition on her own.
“I’m a little nervous this year,” Lauze said. “Because of COVID we weren’t able to have as many meetings.”
As for participating in 4-H, Lauze enjoys it.
“They are all really nice and they try to help you individually as you need it,” she said about the club.
The Show Must Go On
For Spicer, seeing how successful the participants are and their reactions is what makes it worth the work.
“I just like watching their faces light up,” Spicer said.
Once participants have a chance to compete, they continue to come back. The tough part is getting the word out about the program, she said.
“I love it all,” Spicer said. “I love watching people fall in love with this.”