More than 1,500 Illinois 4-H members care for dogs as part of their project work. Obedience training provides mental stimulation that keeps dogs mentally and physically healthy and provides structure for appropriate behavior.

Two hundred 4-H members advanced from county competitions to compete in the Illinois 4-H State Dog Show held Aug. 24 at the Granny Rose K-9 Enrichment Center in Dixon. Members competed in obedience, showmanship, and rally classes.

Based on the member’s experience and years in the project, four levels of competition are held. The high point beginning champion is Winnebago County 4-H member Natalie Markin.

A Champaign County 4-H member placed first in the beginner novice class. Top results in the beginner novice class are Shelby Hughes, Champaign County, first; Julia Eaker, Grundy County, second; Leah Thanepohn, Kendall County, third; Kate Harrouff, Mercer County, fourth; Rosalyn Fasnacht, McHenry County, fifth; and Karlee Switzer, Madison County, sixth.

The beginner novice 2 class was the largest, with high point winner Natalie Markin placing first. Additional winners from the beginner novice 2 class are Hallie Roszak, Grundy County, second; Grant Alexander, Knox County, third; Aidan Cook, McHenry County, fourth; Korryn Baraks, Mercer County, fifth; and Jadyn Wheat, Sangamon County, sixth.

A Kendall County 4-H member, Trevor Westphal, claimed first place in the pre novice division. Additional top finishers include Kaylee Dean, Knox County, second; Grant Alexander, Knox County, third; Molly Ziegler, Ogle County, fourth; Carrie Roberto, Will County, fifth; and Abigail Smith, Knox County, sixth.

Duncan Hughes or Champaign County earned the highest score in the most advanced novice class. Additional top finishers are Lilly Letts, Rock Island County, second; Mikayla Bankes, Tazewell County, third; and Kayla Connelly, Grundy County, fourth.

The junior showmanship winner is Dante Ketelsen from Whiteside County. Reserve junior champion is Julia Eaker from Grundy County. In the senior division, the champion showman is Duncan Hughes from Champaign County, and the reserve champion showman is Faith Bailey from Piatt County.

For the first time in Illinois 4-H, a rally division was also held with 44 youth-dog teams competing. In rally, the youth trainer and dog navigate a course together as fast as possible. Throughout the course, signs instruct the different exercise the dog must perform. Youth may not touch the dog, but can use verbal commands, claps, and hand signals.

McLean County competitor Kara Froidcoeur is the rally champion. Additional winners include Willa Getzelman, Kane County, second; Natalie Markin, Winnebago County, third; Alexia Fekete, Tazewell County, fourth; Westley Steiger, Rock Island County, fifth; and Kendra Nehring, Stephenson County, sixth.

In the intermediate rally division, Lara Bielema of Whiteside County is champion, followed by Natalie Harms of Winnebago County in second. Nicole Barker of Winnebago County earned first place in the advanced rally class.

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