- 4-H dog shows are a wonderful learning experience.dog show red award ribbon image by robert mobley from Fotolia.com
The 4-H dog show rules are easily accessible on the Internet. However, they may differ by state and local 4-H community. A competitor should always check with 4-H organizers to be certain that the information is up to date with current regulations for the local as well as the national group. Rules may change at any time and rule books should be able to be acquired via the local organization.
- The general rules and regulations state that all competing dogs must be vaccinated by a licensed veterinarian. The required vaccinations are rabies, hepatitis, distemper, parvovirus and parainfluenza. The handler must present a veterinarian-signed rabies certificate on the day of the competition. Any abuse or appearance of abuse will be considered grounds for disqualification. Bitches that are in heat are not allowed to compete in obedience or showmanship competitions. Sick dogs require veterinarian clearance before they may be allowed to show. Please keep in mind that any show of bad sportsmanship from the handler or the dog may end in dismissal from the show ring.
- For every competition available, these rules change slightly. There are a few ground rules that cover all of the competitions, though. The dog must be freshly cleaned and free from all external parasites. The skin must not be dry and flaky and the fur must be lacking any knots, mats or trim beyond local regulation. Eyes, ears, claws and teeth should be pristine. The handler must appear to be graceful and well-coordinated with the dog. Clothing should not outshow the dog, though neither should it be something as simple as a beaten pair of tennis shoes, ragged jeans and a T-shirt. Several points will also depend on how well the dog and handler work together as a team. If there is no chemistry between the dog and handler, the team will likely lose points.
- In the ring, there are a few extra rules to keep in mind. Collars must be appropriately sized and in the fashion of a slip, buckle or martingale collar. They must be made of leather, cloth or chain. Any other type of collar will likely result in disqualification. This includes specialized training collars. Leashes also follow this standard and should be 6 feet long. The dog should be on the leash at all times unless the event requires the release of the dog in events such as obedience. Dogs should be commanded clearly and should not require discipline of any sort.