OTTUMWA — Bridge View Center was filled with barking dogs and crowing roosters Thursday as 4-H’ers busily rushed around preparing for the various animal shows.
The Wapello County 4-H Expo offers traditional horse, swine and goat shows as well as pet and cat shows. Gina Martin of Iowa State Extension explained that contrary to popular belief, most kids that participate in 4-H live in the city so these unique shows give everyone a chance to show an animal that they care for.
Participants pick an animal to care for, train or groom throughout the year and then show them off at the annual expo.
Dog Obedience Class
A group of patient kids with leashed dogs waited outside of the show circle for their turn to demonstrate what they have taught their furry friends throughout the year.
Ashley Kinkade stood in the ring directing competitors to walk, halt and show their well-trained pooches some praise. She explained that every participant is different depending on how long they have been training, so she looks for different things in each of them.
“For me, I like to see what they have been learning all week,” she explained. “I have them do a figure eight and do some recall where they have the dog stay and come or sit and stay for one minute.”
Exhibitors that choose to work with dogs practice year-round and attend meetings to learn how to feed, care for and train their friend. Choosing to exhibit dogs enhances the family life by having a well-trained pet in the house. The kids learn to curb troublesome dog behavior such as chewing on their owners’ belongings, jumping and nipping.
“After I joined 4-H, I decided I wanted to train our dog,” said Lily Moses, 9, with her pup, DuPre, standing at her feet. “Usually when he jumps, what we do is take his paws and lay them on the ground, and then we give him a treat when he’s good.”