Teaching Dogs New Tricks
She’s nervous, 10-year-old Danica Eliason admitted, but also super excited. It will be her first time competing with her dog, Bailey, at the 4-H Dog Show at the Campbell County Fair Monday morning.
“There are going to be lots of people watching me with my dog,” she said, “and I’m excited because I love Bailey and want everyone to see how smart she is.”
Last year, she competed with her chickens, which she’ll be doing again. She decided to compete with her 1-year-old Sheltie for an additional challenge, because well, let’s face it. She’s a girl who loves pushing herself.
Along with going to 4-H dog training three times a week, she’s also been doing a lot of training at home these past weeks, as well as working with fellow 4-H’er, Callan Brothers, who is the go-to guy in Gillette when it comes to canine training.
At 18, Callan runs B3 K-9 Training, a company he started four years ago while still in high school. Growing up as the son of a Gillette Police sergeant who oversees the K-9 division, it’s safe to say that Callan literally grew up surrounded by dogs. As a kid, he helped his dad and continues to take part in trainings and will probably one day follow in his dad’s footsteps, though for now he stays busy running his own show, where to date, he’s worked with about 50 local dogs.
He also trains his own dogs, including 2-year-old Dutch shepherd Belgian Malinois mix Revo, and has competed in the 4-H dog competition for the last several years. All summer, he’s been helping 4-H Dog Superintendent Tailor Morris train the younger kids as well as working one-on-one with Danica.
Danica and Bailey have come a long way this summer, Callan said.
“She’s one of those kids who says this is what I want to do, so tell me what to do and I’ll do it,” he said. “She’s extremely committed, and it shows.”
Danica admits that she’s put a lot of time in these last few months with her trusty four-legged pal.
Along with group and individual training with Callan, the pair do a lot of at-home training too.
“My mom says I have to work with her on her tricks for at least 30 minutes,” she said,
“but then I have to brush Bailey and give her lovins’ so she knows that I love her and am proud of her.”
Working and training are definitely part of their process, she added, but there’s also a bond that the two share that she thinks makes the biggest difference.
“We love each other and are friends,” she said, noting that Bailey’s skills are a big part of the winning combination. Along with being able to sit and stay, she said that Bailey is smart and learns the commands easily.
And where Bailey is motivated by the treats, Danica is driven by her love for her dog.
That’s what Callan noticed most about the two.
“It’s like they were born to be together,” he said.
For her part, Danica has also loved working and spending time with the other 4-H kids, who have also taught her a lot about training and teaching her dog new tricks.
Winning a ribbon would be nice, but either way, it’s been a fun summer with her dog and other 4-H friends.
The 4-H and Open Dog Show begins Monday morning at 10 a.m. in Barn 3 with the Agility, Confirmation and Showmanship events.