4-H Dog Clinic slated Dec. 1 in Mercedes

Mercedes   –  Young people who own dogs in South Texas are encouraged to attend a 4-H dog clinic next month to help them create a better bond with their four-legged friends, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert.

Jysela Gonzalez of McAllen attended last year’s dog clinic in Kingsville with her Terrier mix pet. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension photo by Luis Saldana)

The 2012 District 12 Dog Project Clinic will be held from 8 a.m.- 6:30 p.m. Dec. 1 at the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show Grounds, 1000 N. Texas Ave. in Mercedes.

“The more people know about their dogs, the more they get out of them,” said Luis Saldana, AgriLife Extension program specialist for 4-H and youth development at the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Weslaco.

“Dogs can provide everybody, but especially the young, a healthy, stable and nurturing influence whose benefits can last a lifetime,” Saldana said. “But the more they know about their pets, the richer that experience can be.”

To help them learn, the event will feature professional dog handlers who will teach 4-H and non-4-H members alike dog-related topics ranging from obedience and veterinary care to equipment and dog careers, Saldana said.

“Kids and their dogs can come learn a wide range of skills to train their dogs, work with them, learn about their health, explore canine careers and gain a much greater appreciation for their dogs,” he said. “It’s not about training dogs to be house-broken. It’s more about how young people interact and communicate with their dogs through basic obedience, plus a few fun events they can go home and try with their dog, like rally and agility.”

This is the second 4-H dog clinic to be held in South Texas; the first was held last year in Kingsville, Saldana said. Guest speakers include professional dog trainers, veterinarians and youth development professionals.

“In addition to this local event, every July there is a State 4-H Dog Show, an event that exposes kids to a wonderful opportunity to interact with other dog-loving families across the state through 4-H,” he said. “At both the local and state level, the idea is to expose young people to the opportunities the 4-H dog project offers, how to get involved in 4-H and how to explore 4-H experiences within this project area.”

Registration is $35 per participant and dog. To register, go to the District 12 4-H website at http://d124-h.tamu.edu . Fees include instruction, facility fees and lunch. 4-H members, parents and leaders that want to attend without a dog can do so for a fee of $20, which includes program costs and lunch.

“Details and requirements for attending are available online, but they include the need to bring a rabies certificate and a copy of health records for each dog attending, treats for their animals, bags and pooper scoopers, water bowl and water, and each child (ages 8 to 18) must be accompanied by an adult,” Saldana said. “We also ask that they bring a buckle collar, a metal training collar and a non-metal leash of appropriate length for the size of dog.”

In addition to the website, more information can be obtained by calling Saldana at 956-968-5581.

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