|Juniors in Obedience
By Elizabeth Vandergrift
Hi! My name is Elizabeth Vandegrift and I am a junior handler in AKC and a 4-H-er. I have been asked to share with you what it is like to show dogs in obedience.
In AKC there are six classes: pre-novice, novice, graduate novice, open, graduate open, and utility. Three of these classes, novice, open, and utility can be titled in; these are called regular classes. The others are called non-regular classes. To title in any of the regular classes you have to go to three different shows with three different judges at your level and score over 170 out of 200 points.
4-H is less strict then AKC and it is only for children age 9 to 18. In 4-H there is an extra 10 points for your appearance, 10 points for your dog’s appearance, and 10 points for sportsmanship, so you are competing for a total of 230 points. There are only five levels in 4-H, all of them except utility. You don’t get titles in 4-H, instead you go to the state fair competition if you get first or second at the county fair.
I take obedience lessons from Kathy Cook and have been training and
showing dogs for four years. This year my dog Dolly and I won the
outstanding exhibitor at the county fair, first in the graduate novice
A class at the Ohio State Fair, and our AKC title in the novice class.
I think juniors are very good at training dogs because, in all the
shows I’ve gone to, it was the juniors who won. There are many
opportunities for showing dogs, but there’s something special
about being a junior that makes it fun to show.