Des Moines County Fair hosts 4-H dog obedience competition
WEST BURLINGTON – There’s always room for improvement, according to Monday’s 4-H / FFA dog show attendees at the Des Moines County Fairgrounds.
Four girls attended the event, all teenagers and with different skills.
“Watch obedience and watch rally. I don’t think any of you would have made any progress at (an American Kennel Club dog show), ”Norman Aqquire, who regularly judges for the AKC, told attendees.
In contrast to show rabbits, where the various rabbits are judged in categories based on breed and gender, dogs are judged on the experience of their handler.
The assessment was divided into three categories, a beginner’s class for first graders, an intermediate class for those two or three years old, and an advanced class with four or more years of age.
Although there was only one dog show, technically there were two events – one focused on obedience and the other on handling.
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Dogs competing in the obedience section had an especially difficult time sitting and staying and lying down and staying, which requires dogs to stay in positions their owners command them to do, even from a few paces away stay.
“That is one of the toughest skills for dogs,” explained Kim Lohmann, who led the event.
It was the only time for Lohmann’s 15-year-old daughter Jennifer Lohmann from Sperry that her dog Trip, an English pointer-Labrador mix, lost points during the competition. Trip decided to lie down during the session part of the show.
“It wasn’t really what I wanted from him,” said Jennifer Lohmann.
Breaking down cost Jennifer Lohmann a few points, but not enough to knock her out of first place.
It was not the first time that Trip took part in the dog show, as Lohmann took him there in 2019. There was no dog show in 2020. Jennifer Lohmann thinks that Trip was a little better two years ago and wasn’t as used to the distractions of being at a trade fair as he would have done in a normal year.
Trip was a rescue dog. Kim Lohmann works at the Allgood Animal Hospital and one day they had a puppy with a broken leg. That was five years ago, and Jennifer Lohmann and Trip have been inseparable every year since then, even though Trip has free-range ownership of Lohmann’s property in an unincorporated area of Des Moines County.
The training came gradually for Trip. First he had to learn to sit, then lie down, and then heels. Heeling is when a dog is walking right next to the owner and not in front of him.
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Another lesson dogs need to learn is how to show the right amount of kindness.
Sydney McElhinney’s dog, Laredo, is a 5 year old Australian Border Collie mix. Four years ago, McElhinney began taking obedience classes with Laredo, a requirement for attending the dog show. Even so, Laredo is a human dog and greets anyone who crosses their path.
“She just likes to be next to you,” said McElhinney.
During the first part of the obedience show, Laredo did well and followed every order from McElhinney. However, while sitting and lying down, Laredo refused to sit and preferred to stay right next to her Owner looking up at her excitedly.
Both McElhinney and Jennifer Lohmann started in the advanced class. Jennifer Lohmann took first place in both competitions and McElhinney won the Showmanship Prize.