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Washoe 4-H canine workshop offers agility training

Posted 11/20/2008

by Robert Mills

Showmanship, obstacles also on tap Saturday

Dog owners from ages 9 to 19 can take their pets through agility and showmanship training Saturday (Nov. 22) at the Washoe County 4-H Canine Workshop at the Reno Livestock Events Center.

Participants will be divided into separate groups and rotated through workshops focusing on agility, showmanship and consumer judging. Participants will be instructed by professionals who have tailored their workshops to meet 4-H standards for canine training.

4-H program assistant Cindy Smullen said the agility workshop will help beginners learn to safely navigate obstacle courses such as A-frame ramps and tunnel jumps.

"Most kids don’t get a chance to work on obstacle courses with dogs because they’re expensive, so they’ll get plenty of practice on ours," Smullen said.

There are no pure-breed requirements for dogs - all breeds are welcome.

Smullen said participants will learn how to better train their dogs but also might pick up some important life lessons.

"Kids in the agility workshop are learning life skills and learning to set goals," Smullen said. "Maybe when they’re older they can nurture a family with some of the skills they learn at workshops like this one. Now they’re nurturing these dogs -- making sure they have food, water and exercise -- and hopefully they’ll apply some of these life skills in their adult lives."

Smullen said she hopes the workshops will be both fun and informative.

"This is a great way for youth to enhance their knowledge and expertise with their dog," Smullen said. "It’s also a great way for the kids to meet some new friends, and I hope their confidence and self-esteem is higher when they leave the event."

For more information on the upcoming Washoe County 4-H Canine Workshop, contact Smullen at 775-784-4848. 4-H is a University of Nevada Cooperative Extension program.

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