Children and teens displayed their beloved canines at the annual 4-H & FFA Dog Show on Sunday, July 22.
“The kids have been practicing for 12 weeks now, they’ve been coming every Tuesday night,” said Robin Korotki, director of the 4-H Dog Club and dog show co-superintendent, in a phone interview with the Times Friday. “And they’ve been learning about sitting and showing.”
The dog-loving adolescents competed in classes, based on their age and experience level, showing their dogs in various obedience routines.
One of the routines, rally obedience, is “a fun obedience, it’s kind of like a steeplechase where you get a map and you learn the course, then you have to go and do the course with your dog,” Korotki said.
Judges scored children and their dogs on 100- and 200-point scales, depending on the routine. The competitors started with a perfect score and judges deducted points as they noticed flaws in technique.
Children were all dressed up for the event, because their success is “all based on their presentation of the dog,” Korotki said. “So they wanna look their best so they create a beautiful backdrop to show off their dog when they’re in their fitting and showing class.”
The show featured mixed breed and purebred dogs. And the 4-H competition serves as a state qualifier, Korotki said, so if they scored high enough they’ll have the opportunity to represent Carroll County at the State Fair.
Korotki said the 4-H dog club coordinates activities based on the kids’ interest. Also, if a child is interested in participating, but doesn’t have a dog, the club will find a canine companion the child can work with.
This year they learned to make dog toys, about dock diving, listened to presentations from veterinarians and visited an animal emergency room. It’s designed around what the children want, but the club leaders — and dog trainers — assign homework after their Tuesday night meetings every week.
“You can really really tell when the children do their homework,” Korotki said. “We had a young lady that came in the beginning, and she was so unhappy and the dog was so unhappy, and all of the sudden a lightbulb went off and now she comes in smiling and can’t wait to get to dog training.”