Jefferson County’s 4-H program isn’t just for youth who are enveloped by foothills or surrounded by an agrarian lifestyle. The youth development program also offers a dog training program which may peak the interest of some of Colorado’s more …
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Jefferson County’s 4-H program isn’t just for youth who are enveloped by foothills or surrounded by an agrarian lifestyle. The youth development program also offers a dog training program which may peak the interest of some of Colorado’s more city dwelling kids.
At least that is the hope of the staff for Jeffco’s 4-H CSU extension.
“I’ve really felt passionate about growing the dog program because I think it’s a way we can reach the urban kids and get them involved in 4-H,” Lisa Sholten, CSU extension agent said. “A lot of kids in the area have dogs and it gives them something to do with them.”
Last year, 19 kids participated in the program but Sholten would like to see that number grow. As of Dec. 31, Jeffco’s 4-H CSU extension is recruiting for the 2014 Dog Training Project.
Training in obedience, rally, and showmanship are the focuses for the project including dog care, and agility. Participants in the program are expected to keep a record book of their project that will last until the fall. Competition in 4-H dog shows and dog rallies are part of the program with opportunities to qualify for the county fair, and from there to the state fair, which are some of the bigger objectives of the program.
“If you can show the child how to work with the dog and get the dog doing what you would like them to do then it makes the kid a better person and it definitely helps the dog and the family,” said Maureen Stevens, dog trainer and project leader for the 4-H Dog Training Project in Golden. Stevens will recommend that 4-H participants dedicate at least an hour a day with their dog for training with the hour divided into 10 minute intervals. Stevens will also bring her extensive knowledge in dog training with 30 exercises that her young trainers can use.
On Thursday, Jan. 2, the Conifer group met at the Event Center at the Jeffco Fairgrounds with their project leader, Kathy Otterbein for a video promo for the project. Trainers who showed up were long-time participants of the program, with most members going into their second or third year.
“I’ve always liked to train dogs,” said Abigail Anderson, 12 of the Conifer group. “Dogs are very good and they are easy to train.”
Anderson, along with her golden doodle, Jenny who is 3, has competed at the county fair and won first place for obedience, first place for rally and second place for showmanship. The close pair went on to qualify for state where Jenny won 10th place for obedience and won second place for the grand champion for showmanship.
Anderson spends at least two hours a day with her beloved friend who has a certification as a therapy dog through training that Anderson has done all on her own.
Animal care and a housing form must be filled out with a health certificate for up-to-date vaccinations. Forms can be found online at www.4honline.com. Youth who are currently enrolled in 4-H can join the Dog Project with no additional cost. For more information visit: www.extension.colostate.edu/jefferson/4h/4h.shtml or by contacting Lisa Sholten at 303-271-6620 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The registration fee is $40 and can be paid online at jeffco.us/csucamp/4hindex.jsp.
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