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Dog Obedience

Manual Information

  1. The Dog Obedience manuals are divided into three levels according to the following breakdown:

           Level 1       Grades 3, 4, & 5

           Level 2       Grades 6, 7, & 8

           Level 3       Grades 9 and Above

  1. The Dog Record Sheet, signed by your leader, must be checked at the time of Dog Show registration. (Vaccination Certification will be checked at first training session).


Exhibit Requirements

Complete 3 activities in the manual each year and include with exhibit.  Do one or more of the following:

  1. Exhibit your dog in the 4-H Dog Obedience Show.
  2. Exhibit Dog Educational Poster– Refer to “How to Prepare a Poster”.
  3. Do an interactive demonstration.



Dog Show General Rules

  1. Dogs may be purebred or mixed breed.
  2. A dog being shown in dog obedience must be fed, trained, and cared for by the 4-H member.
  3. Dogs should be 6 months of age or older by March 1.
  4. All dogs 6 months of age and older must have the required vaccinations and procedures listed on the Certificate of Vaccination for the 4-H Dog Project (4-H 671). This form, signed by your veterinarian, must be presented at the first training class.
  5. Each trainer is to keep a complete record of his dog, including feeding costs, health care costs, training record and time spent grooming.
  6. All dogs must be kept on leash while on the Fairgrounds, unless required to be off leash during the Dog Obedience Show.
  7. A dog shown in Showmanship must have also been shown in an obedience class and must be shown by the same exhibitor.
  8. Only dogs exhibited are allowed at the Benton County Fair 4-H Dog show. Do not bring extra dogs.
  9. Dogs are not to be left unattended in vehicles at the Benton County Fair.
  10. Prong collars or electronic collars of any kind are prohibited.
  11. All judging classes and judging exercises will comply with State Fair rule.
  12. Any questions or situations not covered in this handbook will be ruled upon by the Project Advisor(s).


Training Program

  1. All members must attend 2/3 of all training classes. More than two meetings missed in succession should be made up with the assistance of one of the leaders.
  2. Members must equip their dogs with the following:
    1. A 6-foot leash made of “quiet” construction, meaning it does not make noise when being used. Leash could be made of nylon or leather, for example. The fastener should be made of metal so it doesn’t break.
    2. A choker chain properly fitted to your Long-haired dogs will do better with a larger chain link size, while short haired dogs can have a smaller chain link size. The length of chain you need depends on the size of your dog.
  3. Each member should train his dog 30 minutes each day. This may be broken into two 15-minute periods.



Judging Classes

First Year Dog Obedience

Section A:    For 4-H’ers with no previous formal dog training experience, with a dog which has received no obedience training prior to January 1 of the current year.

Section B:    For 4-H’ers with previous dog training experience (4-H or otherwise), coming back.

with a new dog; or for 4-H’ers with no experience whose dogs have had training which disqualifies them for section 1A.


Second Year Dog Obedience

Section A:    For 4-H’ers and dogs that have completed sections1A or 1B.

Section B:    For 4-H’ers and dogs that have spent a year in section 2A, but are not ready for third year work.


Third Year Dog Obedience

Section A:    For 4-H’ers and dogs that have completed second year work.

Section B:    For 4-H’ers and dogs that have spent a year in 3A, but are not ready for fourth year work.


Fourth Year Dog Obedience

Section A:    For 4-H’ers and dogs that have completed third year work.

Section B:    For 4-H’ers and dogs that have spent a year in section 4A, but are not ready for fifth year work.


Fifth Year Dog Obedience

Section A:    For 4-H’ers and dogs that have completed fourth year work.

Section B:    For 4-H’ers and dogs that have spent a year in section 5A, but are not ready for sixth year work.


Sixth Year Dog Obedience

Section A:    For 4-H’ers and dogs that have completed fifth year work.

Section B:    For 4-H’ers and dogs that have spent a year in section 6A, and may repeat.


Veteran’s Class

For 4-H members whose dogs are at least 7 years old or are physically challenged. The dog must have completed at least section 2B in previous years.



General Rules for Dog Educational Poster

  1. Poster is to be 22” x 28”, exhibited horizontally, with a firm backing and a transparent plastic covering. Place a small label in lower right hand corner with the following information: Name, Grade/Age, Club, Project and Level.
  2. Posters should be educational in nature and may be on any topic related to dogs.
  3. Suggested topics include:
  • Level 1: Dog Care, Dog Breeds, Me and My Dog, Helping the Handicapped
  • Level 2: Purposes of Dogs, Responsible Dog Ownership, Uses of Dogs, Disease/Parasite Prevention, Careers with Dogs
  • Level 3: Learning Life Skills with the Dog Project, Your Dog and the Law, Food, A Dog’s Sense of Smell, Dog Over-Population Problems, Animal Health, Animal Welfare
  1. Refer to “How to Prepare a Poster Project” in this handbook for details on preparing poster.
  2. Posters will be entered on the day of building project Check-In.



General Rules for Demonstrations

  1. Interactive demonstrations may be given on any topic related to dogs and will be presented at an appointed time during the Fair.
  2. Refer to “Verbal Communication Events and Activities” in the Benton County 4-H Handbook for details.



Indiana 4-H Aggressive Dog Policy

The safety and well-being of 4-H members and volunteers is a primary concern with all Indiana 4-H Program opportunities. Families should err on the side of caution in selecting a dog for the 4-H member to exhibit. A dog that has a known history of aggression or biting is not appropriate for involvement in the 4-H Program. On occasion, the 4-H member may have difficulty managing their dog within the 4-H Program. The following guidance has been provided for the Indiana 4-H Dog Program as the owner/exhibitor of the dog bears responsibility for the dog’s actions. In the subsequent policy, the term “4-H Dog Personnel” will include County 4-H Volunteers, County Extension Educators, State 4-H Staff and appropriate County and State Fair Directors.

A dog that bites a human or another dog at any 4-H Dog Event must be immediately removed from that event by the 4-H member and will subsequently be excused from the 4-H Program. The member should be directed by 4-H Dog Personnel on-site to remove the dog if the member does not do so willingly. If a determination is made by the 4-H Dog Personnel that a dog bit in self-defense, it may be allowed to remain at the 4-H Dog Event.

Dogs that display other signs of aggression, including but not limited to barking and standing ground, growling, lunging and snapping will be given one verbal warning. They will be removed from the event after the second violation at the same event. To be removed from a 4-H Dog Event, there must be two violations at the same event.

Any dog that is removed from a 4-H Dog Event due to aggressive behavior will be placed on probation for 2 weeks. Written notification of the probation will be given to the 4-H member. The 2-week period will start upon written notification to the 4-H member. While on probation, the 4-H Dog Personnel and the 4-H member and parents will work together to determine the best course of action for the dog. This may include (but is not limited to) working individually with the dog and 4-H member, asking the 4-H member to use a different dog or having the 4-H member attend events without their dog. At the end of the designated probation period, 4-H Dog Personnel will make a determination regarding the dog’s return to 4-H Dog Events.

Dogs that are removed from a 4-H Dog Event twice will be immediately excused from the 4-H program and will not be allowed to re-enter. Excusing a dog from the 4-H Program is rare but could be necessary for the safety of 4-H members, volunteers and other participating dogs. Should a dog be excused from the program, it must be remembered that the action is against the dog and not the 4-H member. 4-H Dog Personnel should look at many solutions and encourage the 4-H member to attend classes without their dog while training it at home or potentially bringing another dog to 4-H events. 4-H members will always be welcome in every other part of the dog project.

In the event that a dog is removed from a 4-H Dog Event or excused from the 4-H Program, 4-H Dog Personnel should report such to the State 4-H Office so that the information is available to all county 4-H Dog programs and the Indiana State Fair.



Manuals:                                                            References:

Level 1:Wiggles and Wags  BU-8166                    Common Dog Diseases and Health Problems 4-H-852

Level 2:Canine Connection  BU-8167     

Level 3:  Leading the Pack   BU-8168


Dog Record Sheet: 4-H 390

Certificate of Vaccination: 4-H 671-W


REV 11/16                                                                                                  

Related Files

4-H 390 Dog Obedience Record Sheet  2021_dog_vaccination_form.pdf


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