One local resident and her dog are reigning 4-H showmanship champions.
Sarah Younkers and her English cocker spaniel Rosie took home another purple ribbon for showmanship Monday at The Great Frederick Fair’s 4-H Dog Show. Sarah, 13, and Rosie, 6, won in the same category at 2017’s fair.
“I feel really proud,” Younkers said. “It shows that I worked well with her and she’s connected with me.”
Younkers has trained Rosie herself since the dog was 8 weeks old. They spend almost all their time together, resulting in a bond that translates well into show performance, Younkers said.
“It’s about having a good relationship with your dog and making sure they can connect with you, so they can pay attention to you and trust you,” she said.
Alicia Flowers and her Lab mix Shadow took home the ribbon for reserve champions in showmanship. Alicia, a Monocacy Valley Montessori School eighth-grader, adopted Shadow through Craigslist, saving him from going to the pound.
Competing in the showmanship category is all about practice and memorization, Alicia said. The category is more about handler performance than dog obedience, she said.
“It takes a lot of studying to know the procedures,” Alicia said. “I still don’t have all of them down, but someday I will.”
Handlers and their companions, including Rosie and Shadow, also competed in tests of obedience and agility at Monday’s dog show. There was a dog costume contest as well.
Although she was just coming off another win in the showmanship category, Sarah said she was nervous about showing Rosie in the obedience competition.
“She’s not very good at, like, staying with me,” she said. “She’s interested in all the smells and everything else that’s happening.”