During the dog days of July, canine competition heats up

Youngsters, animals vie for awards at 4-H fair

July 31, 2000|By Ellie Baublitz | Ellie Baublitz,SUN STAFF

It was a dog's day at Carroll County 4-H/FFA Fair yesterday as more than 60 dogs - from tiny Chihuahuas to huge German Shepherds - competed for blue ribbons in obedience, and fitting and showing.

"The dog show is open to anyone in 4-H who will do the training," said Iris Craven, dog show superintendent. "The training is for three months, one evening a week."

During the show, the young 4-H'ers put their dogs through two classes.

"In fitting and showing, judging is [based] on how well the dog is groomed, and the child is judged rather than the dog," Craven said. "But if the dog does something and the child corrects it, it doesn't count against them. It's also how they present the dog to the judge."

Obedience is a bit more complicated. In this category, the dog is judged on how well it obeys a series of commands: to heel while walking with the 4-H'er, to turn in an L pattern, to walk a figure 8 around two people standing several feet apart, recall (in which the dog sits and goes to the 4-H'er when called), and a long sit and lie down.

Laura Cugle, 13, of Hampstead was in her fifth dog competition, proudly showing Bear, her 3-year-old chocolate Labrador for the second time.

"Last year, he was first in obedience and second in fitting and showing," she said. "I was surprised because he was new, but he's really calm around other dogs."

Yesterday, Bear didn't fare as well: He placed third in obedience and second in fitting and showing.

A bit of royalty was displayed as Caroline Johnson, 10, of Westminster showed Lisa Baublitz's Pembroke Welsh corgi, Sebastian.

The corgi is a breed favored by Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain.

The sturdy, short-legged Sebastian was set on a table so the judge could examine his teeth, ears, coat, legs, claws and overall body shape during fitting and showing.

His appearance and behavior earned him and Caroline second place in their class, and reserve champion in the junior division.

In obedience, however, he placed fourth after growing too excited and obeying only some commands.

But Caroline was all smiles from their award in the other class.

Jacob Halbertsan of Millers also left the dog show smiling, after Holly, his Dachshund mix, placed second in obedience and third in fitting and showing.

Jacob has no arms below the elbow. The 12-year-old, in his first year in 4-H, wrapped and unwrapped Holly's leash around his arms and issued commands to her.

It was Holly's first show, too. During obedience, Holly didn't want to lie down, but eventually Jacob got her to do so.

"She ... likes my mom the best," Jacob said. "She does what I tell her as long as she doesn't get distracted by my mom."

Dogs will be dogs, and Natalie Pickett's 11-year-old white Samoyed, also named Bear, disappointed his owner when he growled at the judge during fitting and showing and refused to let the judge touch him.

When that happens, the 4-H'er has to show the dog's teeth, ears and paws.

The pair placed fourth in their class.

Apparently Bear was sensitive to the way the judge issued commands: "It was her tone of voice," Natalie, 10, said of the judge.

Even more excited during the obedience class, Bear jumped on Natalie during the walk around. The pair placed third.

But judge Eleanor Bradley, who taught Bear during his training class and knows his history, said, "For Natalie to do as well as she did today was a tremendous accomplishment."

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