Craig About 20 well-behaved dogs communed under trees at the fairground’s grassy spot for some shade with their owners while, one-by-one, 4-H members led their pets through a modified agility course.
The demonstration rally was open to dog lovers from the community and provided a space for people to show off their dogs' obedience skills.
The dogs’ mild attitudes were revealed on the course where, among speedy feats, they also needed to sit and wait on a table for five seconds. They had to slip through two tunnels and a hoop; jump over a double jump; climb up a dog walk; and scamper up a steep A-frame.
This is the first year dogs have been an element at the fair, said Kelly Davidson, who started one of Craig’s 4-H dog clubs, the K9ers, and owns Paddy Whack.
We wanted to start it "just to add more interest in the community,” she said. “And to be something kids could get into.”
Breeanna Meats, 9, led a lumbering Great Pyrenees mix aptly named Maximus through a course that looked like it was made for dogs much smaller.
“He likes to lay on people’s feet and stay with them and protect them,” she said.
The program gave her a chance to do something new with her dog, Breeanna said.
“I wanted something to do besides be in the house,” she added.
The program emphasizes obedience training.
“My dog had very bad manners. He was hyper and needed a lot of attention,” said Brianna Burkett, 12, about her Labrador retriever. “So, I got into the program for him.”
Mitchell Davidson, 15, has been involved with the K9ers for seven years, training about four different animals. He started off the rally by leading his Shetland sheepdog through the course sans leash (most participants used a lead). The 4-H dog clubs provide an opportunity for people who want to get involved but don’t raise livestock, he said.
“A lot of people don’t live where they can have cows, pigs or sheep. But a lot of people have dogs,” Mitchell said.
A 7-month-old Havanese, Lexi, rolled around with her owner, Rory Hudson, 11, after going through the course a couple of times.
“She’s doing really well. She’s good off leash when we’re in our neighborhood,” Hudson said.
Erin Fenner can be reached at 970-875-1794 or efenner@CraigDailyPress.com