Dog show opens judged events at the Grundy County Fair

T-R PHOTOS BY CHUCK FRIEND Top: Winners in the Grundy County Fair Dog Show from left are: Michela Meester, Hannah Koch, Taylor Launstein, and Allison Koch. Bottom: Taylor Launstein of the Palermo 4-H Clover Club puts one of her two dogs through its paces during the dog obedience portion of the Grundy County Fair Dog Show. Launstein was named Grand Champion in the Obedience division.

GRUNDY CENTER — Seven exhibitors opened the 2018 lineup of judged events by participating in the annual Dog Show at the Grundy County Fair in Grundy Center on July 17.

Show superintendent Erin Calkins, who is also superintendent in Marshall County and helps at the Iowa State Fair, said the contestants in the show begin taking dog obedience classes about the first week of May. These classes include training on how to control the dog, obedience to commands and showmanship (or handling).

One of the exhibitors, Gabrielle Parker of the Palermo 4-H Clover club is in her fourth year of showing dogs. She said the funniest thing about showing is when you tell people that you are taking your dog to a dog show and they look at you and say, “I didn’t know you could show dog.”

“The hardest part about showing dogs is when you get a new dog that is harder to train than the last one you had,” Parker said.

Michaela Meester of the Buckington Barnstormers club, is in her first year of showing dogs. She commented that the most fun that she has had so far is working and developing a bonding with her dog. She said the hardest job in showing is when you dog doesn’t want to listen.

Taylor Launstein, who has shown dogs for two years, said the hardest part is keeping dogs that don’t get along well together, apart.

The judge for the Grundy County show was Kathy Johnson for Rockford. She has been judging dog shows for 31 years — mostly in the northern two-thirds of the state of Iowa.

The obedience classes have a scoresheet containing things the judge must look for, Johnson said. The showmanship class is based on how well the exhibitor handles his or her dog.

“In my judging travels around the state one thing I have noticed this year is that the number of exhibitors is dropping off considerably,” Johnson said. “One of the problems causing that is just getting the right people that will take the time to work with the 4-H youth and the dogs. It takes special people, and the job is hard work and not for glory.”

The overall champion for dog obedience was given to Taylor Launstein, and reserve champion to Hannah Koch. The Grand Champion Dog Showman was Michela Meester and the Reserve grand champion showman was Allison Koch.

The entry number was about as many as usual and that is something that he was pleased with, said superintendent Russell Benson.