The Utah 4-H companion animal programs include the 4-H Pet Advocate Project and the Utah 4-H Dog Program. These programs are designed for youth with an interest in all companion animals including traditional pets such as dogs and cats, as well as miniature horses, rabbits, guinea pigs, mice, and more! Youth involved in companion animal projects will be provided with experience to help develop leadership, citizenship, self-esteem, social skills, and animal husbandry. This program is for youth in grades 3rd-12th and at least 8 years of age as of September 1st, with the opportunity for Cloverbud involvement. The 4-H Pet Advocate Program includes projects designed for both those youth who have their own pet and those who don’t, but still want to learn about animal husbandry and care. To find information about Pet Advocate projects in your areas or to start your own club, contact your County Extension Office.
Spring Small Animal Showdown
An opportunity for 4-H youth involved in Pet Advocate, Small Livestock, and other companion animal projects to come together for a day of learning, networking, and fun!
Join us for educational clinics on rabbit, poultry, and dog showmanship in the morning, and then try your hand at showing each species after lunch (provided with registration). We will have spare animals for showmanship, but we encourage you to bring your own.
Open to all registered 4-H members, including Cloverbuds (Grades K-12)!
We hope to see you all there!
The first pathway is the project that is available to everyone with a pet. Youth and their pet project work as a club and at home to develop skills, mastery, and citizenship. Rank advancement work books are available for the most common companion animals, with the opportunity for “self guided” projects for any other pets. Youth have the opportunity to participate in pet shows at the county level, and take the things they have learned and compete with public speeches, demonstrations, and other projects involving their pets.
Pet Advocate Project
The Pet Advocate contest creates an environment where learning is fun. 4-H members exhibit their knowledge and understanding of companion animals as pets, hobbies, and careers. Participation will help youth understand what being a “pet advocate” is all about.
The Utah 4-H State Contest is the largest youth event held each year, with over 350 youth. The Pet Advocate Contest is a skill-a-thon that tests youth on practical skills, general knowledge, and includes a case study presentation. The contest has 4 – 6 stations dependent on number of participants, space, and time allowance. Each station falls into either the case study or general knowledge and practicum category. A minimum of one station will be a case study, and a minimum of 3 stations will be general knowledge and practicum.
Participants compete as individuals OR teams of 2 – 4 and will be scored and awarded as two separate contests. Throughout the event, teams work together to complete each station. Anything needed to complete the stations will be provided. Notebooks, index cards, or any electronic devices will not be allowed.
Each station is worth a total of 50 points and must be completed within a 15-minute period.
Pet Advocate Contest Rules can be found HERE
Case Study Stations
Case Study stations are a team effort to evaluate different case scenarios and come up with a plan of action or solution. Topics will involve companion animal careers (limited to grooming, training, running a facility, and veterinarian medicine) and laws or legislation involving companion animals. At this time, the case studies will be written and turned in. Teams will be given their case study at the time they enter their station. They should be in paragraph format (topic sentence, body, and conclusion) with complete sentences. The rubric for the case study is coming soon. Scoring is based on knowledge of the topic, innovation in a solution, and accuracy in information. Example case studies are below:
- Your neighbor’s dog has bitten you. They claim to have given him his rabies shots at home. How do you respond to your neighbor and what should you do?
- You see a dog panting inside of a hot car. According to Utah Law, what should you do?
- You are working as an assistant for a grooming facility. A potential client comes in with a cat that has bald patches, is very sensitive around his ears, and has a foul odor. What do you think is wrong and how would you proceed with the owner?
- A family member wants to buy a 3-week-old baby rabbit advertised in an online classifieds site. What advice do you give them before they bring their new pet home?
- You see two pygmy goats running down the side of the road. What do you do and who do you contact?
General Knowledge and Practicum (15 minutes)
General Knowledge and Practicum stations will include a written exam worth 30 points and a 20-point practicum. Stations for the 2019 contest will be based on one of the seven following companion animal categories: cats, dogs, guinea pigs, miniature horses, miniature livestock (including only goats, sheep, and camelids at this time), potbelly pigs, and rabbits.
The written exam will test the general knowledge of the participant and include anything involving the care and proper ownership of companion animals as found in the resource books. The exam will consist of multiple choice, fill in the blank, short answer, or any combination. Questions may include breeds, equipment, interpreting a feed label, general health, and husbandry.
The practicum will be the hands-on portion of the station. Participants will be judged on a practical skill or series of skills involving the care and handling of the category animal. Each teammate may participate in the practicum and help each other, but only one teammate will be scored (the scored teammate must identify themselves to the station manager and announce when they are ready to be scored). Only one teammate has to complete this portion of the exam. Some skills may include (but are not limited to) putting on a harness or halter, putting on a muzzle, measuring the correct portion of feed for their pet, correctly taking the temperature, or bandaging a leg. The rubric for the practicum is coming soon. Scoring is based on competency, general knowledge, and technique.
NOTE: Each station will focus on one companion animal category. For example, students will not see a station that includes information on both dogs and cats (but they may have a station that consists of goats and sheep). Categories may be used at more than one station (for example, you may have 2 dog stations) but only ONE station will include the full written exam. A second station should be a more advanced or multi-step practicum equaling 50 points. The advanced practicum may include questions pertaining to the equipment and skills being tested. (for example, the participant may have to write a short answer on why they would or would not use a certain type of lead on a cat and then demonstrate properly fitting the harness/lead).
All reference materials come out of Ohio State Univeristy.
Ohio State Book
*Please note: we understand that these resources can quickly add up! We did our best to find quality resources that were either available through your County office or your local library. In an effort to be consistent, our 4-H Pet Advocate youth studying dogs or livestock will all be studying from the same materials as youth involved in those specific project areas.
Keep in mind these contests are done as a team so it is not necessary for each team member to have their own copy of the resource books.
Tie-Breaking: Ties for highest over-all score for either the individual or team contest will be broken by the highest practicum score (with the winner of the tie being the individual or team with the highest combined practicum score of all stations), then by the highest general knowledge score, and finally by the highest case study score. If a tie still occurs, the general knowledge portion of a randomly selected station will be used. Whichever team or individual missed a question first will be the loser of the tie.
The 4-H Dog Program creates more than obedient dogs—it builds youth!
While 4-H members learn to better control and train their dog, they are also building self confidence, independence, and mastery.
Opportunities within the 4-H Dog Program include:
Contact your local county Extension office to find dog clubs in your area.
2023 Utah 4-H State Dog Show | Sept. 9, 2023
- At the Utah State Fair
- Register in Zsuite by midnight Thursday Sept. 7, 2023
- Entry is $20 for your first project dog and $5 for each additional project
- Participants will receive 2 tickets to the fair and additional tickets can be purchased
Rules & Guidelines
Youth Division & Dog Classification
- Youth Division: for some of the dog events, youth handlers and their dogs will be divided by skill and experience rather than age.
- To figure out what division best suits the exhibitor, review the Exhibitor Division Fact Sheet.
- If you are unsure what division is best, err on the side of caution and go down a division.
- Dog Classification:
There are three dog classifications for exhibitors to participate in:
- Standard: dogs 12 months and older
- Puppy: dogs 7 months to 12 months
(puppies younger than 7 months at the time of the show will not be allowed on the grounds)
- Aged/Modified: dogs typically older than 7 years that need modified show conditions to account for age, endurance, etc. or dogs that have injuries or other conditions that need modified show conditions
**Dogs that participate in the Aged classification will not be permitted to compete as a Standard dog. The show committee reserves the right to recommend dogs be moved to a different division prior to the start of the show.
Exhibitors will either participate as a Novice or an Open youth in the puppy and aged classifications (assigned by the show committee).
Exhibitors can bring one dog per classification.
For more information on Dog Classification, review the Dog Classification fact sheet.
The 4-H Pet Show is designed to enable youth with a passion for companion animals to show case their skills and knowledge about pet care, as well as show off their pets to an audience. The Pet Show consists of a display and presentation on a skill or technique specific to their pet, as well as the opportunity to talk to the public about their companion animal.
For a complete list of contest rules, score cards, and a sample entry form, go HERE!
Contact your local county office to see if there is a pet show at your county fair!
Senior aged 4-H youth have the opportunity to become certified Pet Partners team members. Pet Partners is the largest non-profit organization that focuses on certifying therapy animals and their handlers. Using science based research, Pet Partners promotes the human-animal bond and healing through animal interaction. Therapy Animals of Utah is the Pet Partners organization in Utah and will be collaborating with USU Extension to promote this opportunity to our youth.