WATERLOO — There were just three competitors in Thursday’s Black Hawk County 4-H Dog Show on the National Cattle Congress grounds, but it was still a howling success – especially for Hugo.
The 3-year-old Labrador retriever-pit bull mix and his handler, 14-year-old Abby Peters of Cedar Falls, won the top dog trophy and ribbon for showmanship in her category.
Hugo gobbled a chicken jerky treat and cried at the news.
“He cries a lot – about everything,” Abby said, grinning. This was the second year in a row that Abby and Hugo took home the showmanship trophy.
The dog show was one of numerous activities and competitions at the annual Black Hawk County 4-H and FFA Fair, which ends Saturday. Today’s activities include a STEM Fair from 1 to 4 pm and a concert by Throwback Jack from 6 to 9 pm
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Saturday’s events include beef and dairy shows, pet show, archery demonstration, pie contest and a family picnic and ice cream sundaes.
Abby and her fellow dog handlers, 10-year-old Boone Kajewski of Dunkerton, who competed with his 1-year-old Pembroke Welsh Corgi Johnny Cash, and Zoey Raines of Cedar Falls, with her autism service dog, Finley, a 3- year-old yellow Labrador, all took dog obedience training this spring before signing up for the annual dog show.
“Hugo is very loyal and loves to play and jump on people. We’re working on that,” said Abby, who has been active in 4-H for six years. “We’ve been working on recall (calling her dog and expecting Hugo to come), but it’s harder with extra distractions.”
Obedience training has taught Abby how to better handle and control her dog’s behavior. “He likes and trusts me more, I think,” she explained, and the experience has made Abby more confident.
Finley was very good at her commands in the show ring. “Ella She likes to sit and stay,” said Zoey, who has created a strong bond of love and trust with her dog.
As an autism service dog, Finley helps with Zoey’s anxiety, reducing her stress level and increasing her interest in activities like 4-H and dog obedience training. Zoey, the sole competitor at the senior level, joined 4-H a year ago.
Finley was all business in her service vest, attentive, gentle and intuitive, responding immediately to Zoey’s commands. Before her time in the ring, Zoey sat on the concrete floor at Estel Hall, scratching Finley’s ears as the dog stretched out across her lap.
Out of her service vest, Zoey said Finley is a typical dog who “loves to play.”
“Finley gets Zoey out of her comfort zone and is helping her build friendships,” said her mom, Courtney Raines. Courtney and dad, Joseph, sat on the bleachers and watched her daughter de ella put Finley through her peace for dog show judge Susan Kauten.
Corgi Johnny Cash was more easily distracted by the noise of kids playing rollicking games on the other end of cavernous Estel Hall, and he couldn’t resist greeting passersby near the show ring. But for his first time – and with just two months of training, Boone kept good control of his pup. Judge Kauten offered instruction to Boone on being in the show ring and how to best display his dog from him.
“I really like being with Cash. He’s cute and he’s fun and he likes playing, ”Boone said, doling out bite-sized chicken jerky treats for his pal, sitting in perfect shape at his feet. “He’s worked really hard, and he’s pretty good if there aren’t any distractions. I just love him.”
2021 Black Hawk County 4-H Fair PHOTOS