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The Glitz, Glamour And Competition Of Dog Shows


4-H Confusion In Colorado


I saw more tears in the last 3 weeks than I have in my whole dog-showing career and it had nothing to do with judging a dog show.


August 2018 | TheDogPress.com

Sherry L. Shivley, Journalist Award Winner


“WOW” you are thinking! “I don’t want to show to that judge!” Unfortunately, the Judge was not the issue. She is patient, kind, but goes by the 4-H rule book which should be tossed in the nearest trash can.


First, no one from the Youth Extension Agents down have any idea where the youth should be showing-Sub Novice, Beginner Novice, Novice, Novice Junior-the list goes on! Most were showing either Novice or Beginner Novice, and the Judge bumped them back to Beginner and Sub. Why? They could no more complete the required moves than they could control a Schutzhund.


One youth had a pup with the show chain looped around its neck and the leash clipped through both rings. Because “she fights the pressure.” In an AKC show as well as 4-H, she should have been shown the gate because she was not using proper equipment.


The youngsters all dragged their dogs around, jerking on leashes, yelling at them to sit or down. Only 3 youths out of two shows knew how to do a Triangle and “L” correctly. Feet were used to pick up the dog if it sat or laid down. One dog was shown in Obedience and Rally in an illegal harness because “her dog chewed up her show collar and leash.


I have a friend and fellow Boxer showman who lives in the same town and works at a Dog Specialty store. She, same as Amazon, would have overnighted anything this young person needed.


One dog had toenails that had to be 3 inches long. I overheard the 4-H leader for the area telling her that if the dog would not let her trim them, run him on the concrete. WE know that doesn’t work unless that dog puts in a lot of miles!


Another large dog kept scratching, so I was thinking fleas or mange! Did they wash this dog and check his skin for parasites? There was also a white dog that was filthy. It was long haired so who knows if it had ever had a bath? The 4-H leader told me that those dogs should never be bathed because it strips the oils. Huh. Really? We should tell the Pro handlers this, because I have NEVER seen a filthy dog in an AKC ring.


An older youth who was very much into working with her dog asked the Judge how she could work with her dog more- as the dog goes with her Dad every day to work cattle. This falls on the Parents. When you see your child is dedicated to a project, HELP THEM! In her case, let her have her own dog-BUT DO YOUR RESEARCH. Don’t go to a pet shop or puppy mill and buy a lab pup for $300 and in a year put it down because of hip dysplasia.


Ask the veterinarian or go online and find your local AKC-affiliated dog club.


Go to a real dog show, watch, speak with the owners, handlers, or other spectators. Look for local dog clubs in your state, contact them and they will send you to breeders that are members of their club.


Good dog breeders health test their dogs for many health issues, trying to produce the healthiest puppies with the best temperament to the best of their abilities. If ever you cannot keep that pup, in most cases the breeder will take it back.


Most 4-H Leaders have no idea that AKC has Scholarships for Juniors that want to show their dog.


It should be the goal of every 4-H dog leader to improve their youth and get them involved in showing in UKC or AKC. They will make forever friends, find confidence, and learn the grace of loss and the joy of winning.


Even when Seminars are offered many youths don’t show up because parents don’t follow through. Dogs are a year round project. There should be meetings at least once a month to learn health, anatomy, and to encourage working with the dogs. If the parents are not invested in the youth’s project, they will fail.


Dogs do not come trained. Children are not born knowing how to train them. I hope that CSU will throw away the book they are using from another State and go back to the AKC rulebook which is “an easy to use level, Novice, Junior, Senior” anyone can follow. The AKC book covers “responsible dog ownership, responsible breeding, handling for conformation, obedience, agility, therapy, or other advanced skills.

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