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Good dog!

Obedience contest kicks off Hamilton County Fair shows

Miley Mason and Sophie, and Amanda Lahr and Oreo, competed in the Dog Obedience show at the Hamilton County Fair Tuesday.

It was dog obedience day at the Hamilton County Fair on Tuesday and there were many wagging tails and exclamations of “Good dog” as Hamilton County 4-H’ers put their canine partners through their paces in the show arena.

The 4-H program offers young people a chance to learn how to teach their dogs to walk on a leash, sit and stay, and come on command. Donna Moore and Virgene Monthei have served as the project superintendents for several years. Along with assistant superintendents Taylor Johnson and Cassie Sego, they help the young handlers teach the dogs to pay attention and follow instructions.

Moore said this year there are 25 participants and 27 dogs involved in the obedience program.

Training sessions begin in the spring, with participants and their animals meeting weekly to work through the exercises. But the handlers also work with their dogs on their own throughout the year, practicing what they learn in the training sessions.

In the fair competition, the obedience lots are divided up according to experience — both for the handler and the animal. For example, the beginners novice A class is designed for dogs and handlers both in their first year of obedience training. Animals in the class are judged on their ability to heel on leash, sit for examination on leash and recall while on leash. The dog must also sit and stay for one minute while the handler walks around the ring.

Jillian Sparks competes in the Dog Obedience Show Tuesday morning with her rat terrier Carmen.

As the dog and handler advance in the training, the required elements become more difficult.

Dog obedience participants can also take part in showmanship, testing their knowledge about their dogs and how to handle them in the show arena.

The rally events takes handlers and dogs through a course of stationary exercises, following a series of commands through the course. For the novice class, that’s 10 to 15 different stations. For the advanced participants, it increases to 12 to 17 stations.

Miley Mason, a member of the Freedom Flickers 4-H Club, said she decided to get involved in the dog obedience project area because her sister had been involved in it. She’s in her second year of the program. She’s working with a yellow lab named Sophie.

“Sophie’s doing good and likes the training,” Mason said.

Oreo is Amanda Lahr’s canine partner. A member of the Cass Red Cardinals 4-H Club, Lahr said she was having fun in the project area with Oreo.

“All my brothers showed stuff at the fair and I didn’t have any animals to show, so I decided to show my dog,” she said.

Both girls said they enjoyed working with their dogs and getting to see the other dogs in the program.

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