There’s just something about a boy and his dog.
Whether the relationship plays out on the big screen in ever-popular films like “Lassie”, “Old Yeller” or “My Dog Skip,” or during the Dog Show at the Fremont 4-H Expo, there’s something special about the connection between a young person and their beloved pet.
That unique relationship was on display for all to see at the Christensen Field Main Arena on Thursday, as dozens of 4-H’ers showed off the connection shared with their dogs—big and small.
At the Fremont 4-H Expo the connection could be seen through what could be described as feats of trust and training as dogs showed off their agility, obedience and shiny coats of fur throughout the overall show which is broken up into three separate competition categories including: showmanship, obedience and agility.
Hours of training—and playing fetch together—paid off for one duo during their first-ever Dog Show competition.
Logan Hansen of Omaha and his Great Pyrenees named Belle took home first prize in the Junior Showmanship (8-9 year olds) division on Thursday.
Hansen and Belle had competed once before during his time in the 4-H Clover Kids program, but the Fremont 4-H Expo was his first official Dog Show competition.
So it was all the sweeter when the pair took home first place Thursday.
“Mom I got a 97!” he exclaimed to his mother Sarah Hansen while giving Belle a soft pat on the head following the competition.
During the competition, Logan and Belle were a picture of calm.
Belle sat stoically next to Logan as they waited their turn to be judged, occasionally looking up and smiling at her friend and handler.
When it was time for the judge to inspect her ears, teeth and paws she hardly flinched. And when it came time to complete an “L” pattern—where the handler leads the dog up the floor about 30 feet before making a 90 degree turn and continuing another 30 feet or so—the pair pranced stride for stride up and back again.
When asked what kind of training it took for Belle to be calm and ready to compete, Logan said the most important thing is just spending time with her.
“We play fetch in the backyard with a ball a lot and we usually train on Tuesday’s,” he said. “I give her treats and teach her to sit, but really I just spend a lot of time with her.”
According to Logan’s mom Sarah, most of the training revolves around leash work.
“A lot of showmanship is working with them on a leash and having them prance right next to you,” she said.
While a lot of pet owners say that their dogs chose them more than they chose the dogs, in Belle’s case it’s actually true.
“Our neighbors were actually fostering her and she kept running off and over to our place,” Sarah Hansen said. “So since she liked us so much, we decided to keep her.”
That was only a little over a year ago, and already Belle and Logan have what looks like a lifelong connection between a boy and his dog.
The Fremont 4-H Expo continues at Christensen Field on Friday with the Beef Show at 9 a.m. in the Livestock Arena and continues throughout the day with a variety of events including a watermelon feed at 9:30, community luncheon and coronation ceremony at noon, and a shooting sports competition at 4:30 p.m.
The expo runs through Saturday, and a full list of events can be found online at https://extension.unl.edu/statewide/dodge/frfourhexhguide/.