Dog training

Paul Bunyan Dog Training Association launches annual 3-day competition – Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI — Participants and their dogs gathered Friday for the United Kennel Club’s 11th annual all-breed dog show for a weekend of competition.

The Beltrami County Fairgrounds came alive as approximately 130 dogs swarmed the commercial building to compete Friday morning to kick off the three-day event with an obedience rally competition.

Steve Krueger walks his dogs, Scamper and Petra, before their split at the United Kennel Club Dog Show hosted by the Paul Bunyan Dog Training Association Friday, Sept. 9, 2022, at the Beltrami County Fairgrounds.

Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer

The UKC Free Dog Show, which runs until Sunday 11 September, gives spectators the chance to talk to breed-specific experts and handlers and their dogs demonstrate their dedication in the ring.

Food and beverages will also be available throughout the weekend, along with a Twin Cities-based artist offering artwork to onlookers and exhibitors.

During competitions, dogs are presented in the ring by their masters. The handler is not always the owner of the dog. In some cases, the owner has two dogs and needs an extra helping hand during competitions: that’s where volunteer handler Andrea Gerraid comes in.

“I’ve always wanted to show dogs since I was a kid, I grew up going to shows with my sister and now I just help manage when someone needs it,” Gerraid said. “I don’t get paid for it or anything, I just do it for fun, I probably go to one or two shows a month and now it’s kind of been my getaway.”

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Andrea Gerriad catches Juice’s eye at the United Kennel Club dog show hosted by the Paul Bunyan Dog Training Association on Friday, September 9, 2022, at the Beltrami County Fairgrounds.

Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer

The Rally Obedience competition was followed by two Conformation shows. The competitions take place on two different rings where each hairy competitor is judged according to his race. Judges check everything from eye color to coat color.

Judges are considered knowledgeable and experienced experts in purebred dogs. They examine the physical characteristics, movements and temperament of dogs. Then they determine which dogs come closest to their respective breed standards.

“They go around the ring first, then they have to be checked by the judges and the smaller dogs are put on the table,” Gerraid said. “They have their whole body checked to make sure everything is in line with their race, after which they go back and forth and circle the ring one more time and the judges select a winner.”

Basically, dogs must have the appearance to excel as a suitable specimen of their breed, as well as the brains and ability to perform and cooperate with their handler. Some may see it as a beauty pageant for dogs, while others recognize it as an essential step in improving each breed for future generations.

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Quinn, an English cocker spaniel, is examined by a judge at the United Kennel Club dog show hosted by the Paul Bunyan Dog Training Association Friday, Sept. 9, 2022, at the Beltrami County Fairgrounds.

Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer

According to Ethan Larson, member of the Paul Bunyan Dog Training Association and handler in the dog show, there is always a wide range of experienced handlers, but there are also some participants who are showing their dogs for the first time. .

“We’re very proud to host this dog show every year and it’s a great way to meet new people,” Larson said. “Some people have been coming for 11 years, but some are here for the first time and we are always happy to have them.”

The show marks the sixth time Larson has participated as a dog handler for his 11-year-old chihuahua, Hero. He said they were both excited to get back in the ring and interact with other sports enthusiasts.

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Jim Peterson, left, and Kathy Lamping smile after showing off their dogs, Stella and Ziggy, at the United Kennel Club Dog Show hosted by the Paul Bunyan Dog Training Association Friday, Sept. 9, 2022, at the Beltrami County Fairgrounds.

Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer

“The best part is interacting with the attendees and seeing the dogs. I only really go to this show every year because it’s local, it’s just a good time to catch up with old friends,” Larson said. “I look forward to this every year and we always try to add something new to make the show different and unique.”

Throughout the weekend, participants will compete for Best in Show, Rally Obedience and Total Dog awards. The event continues Saturday and Sunday beginning with the Obedience Rally at 8 a.m. and two conformation shows starting at 9 a.m. each morning.

The event is free and spectators are welcome, but event organizers are asking people to leave their pets at home, as club rules state that unregistered dogs will not be allowed in the show.

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Tiffiney Bartz jogs with her dog, Nevis, during the United Kennel Club dog show hosted by the Paul Bunyan Dog Training Association Friday, Sept. 9, 2022, at the Beltrami County Fairgrounds.

Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer

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Cartrell Cooper and his dog, Comorra, receive a ribbon at the United Kennel Club Dog Show hosted by the Paul Bunyan Dog Training Association Friday, Sept. 9, 2022, at the Beltrami County Fairgrounds.

Maggi Fellerman / Bemidji Pioneer