Preston 4-H'er Tyler Dorman and his dog Oakley will take part in a 4-H dog show in Cimarron this weekend.
The Pratt County Fair is still three weeks away but 4-H competition will start for Tyler Dorman this weekend.
Dorman, who is a member of Preston 4-H Club, will travel to Cimarron in Gray County for a one-day 4-H dog obedience event on July 7, said his mother Lu Ann Bergner.
The show is a multicounty event involving four or five counties. Several counties join to provide several entries for the 4-H dog show competition.
Dorman will be working with Oakley, a catahoula dog, that works well with livestock. The event is strictly for 4-H’ers with no open class competition, Bergner said.
Animals will only be judged against dogs from their own county fair 4-H clubs. Dorman, who is 11 and has been in 4-H for five years, said he enjoys showing dogs because its exciting and a challenge and its fun.
As competition time gets closer, Dorman has been working with Oakley twice a day to prepare her for the competition. Sometimes they work in the backyard at home and sometimes they work at his mother’s veterinarian clinic on North Main. They usually train in the afternoon and evenings.
When Oakley does well, she receives a special treat. Right now, Dorman is working with Oakley on the basics of heeling, sit and stay. As they get closer to competition, they will work on the two events they will compete in at Cimarron, showmanship and Rally-Obedience.
In R-Obedience there is a series of cones that each contain a command word. The dog and handler walk a path between cones and when they reach a cone, the trainer gives the command named on the cone. The dog has to obey the command before moving on to the next cone. The handler is not allowed to touch the dog and can only give vocal commands and use hand gestures, Dorman said.
Part of the competition includes the dog walking at three different speeds while another requires the dog to walk around the standing still handler then the handler has to walk around the standing-still dog that must remain still.
In showmanship, the dog and handler are judged on their appearance and how they work together as a team, Bergner said.
Dorman said his favorite part of the competition was getting finished. Oakley’s best competition event is heeling. She has a good steady pace.
The biggest challenge is getting Oakley to sit. That is the hardest thing for her to do, Dorman said.
Oakley will not compete in regular obedience or agility. In regular obedience, the judge tells the handler what command to give the dog and the dog must do the command. In agility, the dog must successfully complete an obstacle course with jumps, tunnels and walkovers. Oakley has a mind of her own and doesn’t do the obstacle course very well.
Dorman has been showing dogs all five years in 4-H and he did one year in open class before he got involved in 4-H. He will also compete in entomology, photography and illustrated talk for citizenship.
The Pratt County Fair is July 25-28. The Rabbit show is July 14 and the public fashion review is July 20. The horse events are July 23-24 in the horse arena at the south end of the fairgrounds.