Lily Debus, 8, flew over the jump first, her dog Finley following her lead. Just before heading to the agility course, Debus had been given a purple ribbon in showmanship — her favorite event.
“You get to do a whole bunch of patterns,” she said. “I have to say a lot of words.”
The handlers are judged by how well they show their animal and Debus had shown her blue heeler well. Debus got Finley when she was four, and has worked hard to train him. Her work paid off when she was named Grand Champion in showmanship.
In agility, Debus had to lead her pup through an obstacle course made up of jumps and other items such as a teeter-totter and tunnel.
There is also an obedience portion which showcases how well owners train their dogs.
“Showmanship is my favorite,” Katherine Colson said after finishing up obedience.
In obedience, she shows her mom’s golden retriever, Copper, but in showmanship she gets to work with her own pup.
“You have to know what type of dog works for you,” she said. “It’s all about how you and your dog work together.”
Also in the obedience ring during Colson’s round were Grand Champion winner Grace Payne and Reserve Champion Taelar Logan.
Payne has been showing for four years, earning the title in obedience twice. She’s had her dog Sophie, a Cane Corso, for about six years. Out of the three events, obedience her favorite, she said.
“She loves learning,” she said. “It’s fun to watch her little brain work.”
Logan has been showing her corgi, Katy, for five years. She got her as a pup and learned how to train her through the 4-H program. She encourages other young dog owners to do the same.
“It helps them learn how to be successful with their dog,” she said. “It helps them connect.”
Logan was pleased with the Reserve title and said she favors obedience.
“She’s really good in obedience,” Logan said of her corgi Katy. “I’ve been showing her for five years now.”
Colson has been showing for seven years and said every year is different, which is something she enjoys. Payne said she wished she had gotten started sooner.
“I got a late start,” she said. “Not that we’re not doing well, but I’d tell other people to start early and go as far as you can.”