Sitting not easy during Routt County Fair dog competitions | SteamboatToday.com

Sitting not easy during Routt County Fair dog competitions

No matter how hard you try, sometimes, you just cannot get your dog to sit.

The Routt County Fair is filled with excitement and distractions for a dog, which makes the annual dog show competition a challenge for both the young and more-experienced 4-H members who have spent weeks training with coach Cathy Shryock.

"It's been a fun experience," said Jessica Whitecotton, who will be a sixth-grader at Hayden Middle School. "The first day that we started, she wouldn't listen at all. Now she can stay and lay down."

Jessica got her giant schnauzer named Jasper a year and a half ago as a Christmas gift from Santa.

She's been going to dog training once a week and has been working a lot at home.

"It's been going good," Jessica said. "She just hasn't been sitting very good."

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Jasper would sometimes lay down, which drew a big smile from Jessica when she took the dog through the rally course. It is a course filled with instructions for various movements, including a few sits.

Judge Terena Thomas told the six participants not to be frustrated by the sitting issues.

"Some of the dogs forgot, but you could see they were trying," Thomas said.

Thomas, an energetic dog trainer who lives in Burns, praised the 4-H members for not having tempers and taking out their frustration on their family and dogs.

The 4-H members and their dogs participated in showmanship, obedience and the rally events.

In the showmanship event, 4-H members demonstrated their dog's training and knowledge of their dog.

Thomas said the younger kids beat the older kids when it came to answering questions in showmanship.

During the obedience event, P.J. Love's Australian shepherd Jazzy got distracted after finding a piece of bone in the ring.

Thomas was amazed that none of the other dogs had sniffed out the bone.

"She gets extra points for a great nose," Thomas said.

P.J., who will be a freshman at Steamboat Springs High School, is a past grand champion in the dog competition, but Soroco senior Mattie Rossi took overall grand champion this year.

"He's having a good time, and he's having fun, and that's important," P.J.'s mom Joanna said. "There is always something you can take away from the experience."

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland.

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