Growing up my friends all did 4-H with various kinds of livestock (dairy, horses, hogs, chickens), or they participated in sewing or cooking or some other indoor skill taught in 4-H. I admired the program then and I am of the opinion that 4-H is more valuable now than it was 40 years ago when I was a kid. Especially as a resource for home school. The most wonderful developments have been in the expansion of programs for children who are not living on farms but would still love to learn practical skills and have fun.
Home schooling my older kids I wished for a 4-H program that might fit the town living family with a dog. We could do a lot through the kennel club’s Junior Showmanship program, but it was not as pet friendly because it required a purebred dog. Looking around at other home school families, ones who didn’t show purebred dogs, I wanted something for everyone to enjoy.
Enlightenment! Enter 4-H dogs and AKC Canine Partners programs:
4-H dog training! The kids can work with their own family pet and compete to show off the partnership they have developed by competing in many dog events. There are obedience, rally obedience, agility and flyball to give some examples.
The number of competitions open to the kids who want to compete with their dogs is greater than ever too. In addition to 4-H competitions and non-AKC agility competitions, the AKC has opened up their agility, obedience and rally obedience competitions to mixed breed dogs through the AKC Canine Partners program. This gives families even more opportunities than used to exist for having fun with their family dog.
Once basic training is on the family dog, then a world of fun activities can be accessed.
Even with the increased opportunities to compete due to the AKC Canine Partners program there was still a lack of opportunity for a kids oriented dog training program and I see the 4-H program is there and fulfills that need.