Every September, youth from all over Minnesota meet at the Minnesota 4-H State Dog Show on the state fairgrounds. They and their dogs compete in agility, obedience, showmanship and rally events. Emily Todd and her dog, Benner, are members of the Hennepin Heelers 4-H Club, which focuses on learning and leading through the 4-H dog project. They participated in the Minnesota 4-H State Dog Show for the first time and received Reserve Champion (2nd place) in the rally event.
Amy Collura, a 4-H youth development educator in Hennepin County had a chance to hear from Emily about her experience in the dog project.
Amy: Congratulations on your Reserve Champion ribbon! How did you and Benner feel when you learned you got second place?!
Emily: Benner just felt happy because I was happy. I was so surprised! I was really hoping to just get a red. This was our first year and Benner can get distracted. VERY easily.
Amy: How would you describe the State Dog Show to someone who has never been there before?
Emily: A lot of rushing and waiting. It was super crowded. When you are finally done, then you are free to go outside and explore.
Amy: What are you most proud of about you and Benner?
Emily: That we even made it to the 4-H State Dog Show. Because when I rescued Benner from the Animal Humane Society, he was scared of everything. We even call him 'Chicken Dog'. But I was able to bond with him enough that he did that well in a strange place with lots of people and dogs he didn't know.
Amy: What is something you are looking forward to trying this year in 4-H?
Emily: More agility!
[Patterned after equestrian show jumping, dog agility combines the elements of a dog’s agility, briskness, confidence, and a handler’s control over an obstacle course designed for dogs.]
Amy: What is your favorite thing about 4-H?
Emily: Getting to bond with my dog.
Amy: What would you say to convince someone to join the Hennepin Heelers 4-H Club?
Emily: It's a great way to bond with your dog. And it's completely fun! Give it a chance. At least once!
Amy: We are so proud of you two. Congratulations on a successful year in 4-H!
(Minnesota 4-H State Dog Show results are posted online.)