Fun for families and Fido, too: ‘Responsible Dog Owner Day’ comes to county fairgrounds

Responsible Dog Owner Day is back at the Washington County Fair Grounds next month and if folks are looking for a family-friendly event that’s fun for Fido too, this is the place to go.

“Basically it’s a drive to get people out to learn more about obedience, rally, agility and other things you can do with your dog,” said event organizer Pat Cunningham.

The Sept. 8 event, put on by the St. Croix Valley Kennel Club, features the St. Croix Valley tracking club, above-ground earth tunnels for terriers to explore, obedience lessons, a practice dog show, an agility program courtesy of the Washington County 4-H Dog Project, show training from AKC certified judges, and a newer sport that people and their four-legged friend can try out called rally.

Rally is a course set up by a judge that involves obedience tasks. The goal is to show how the handler and the dog work together. The pair go from sign to sign and follow the directions on the sign to the best of their ability.

“It’s a good way to practice basic obedience training because you can practice your skills on a leash. It’s a good starting point and it’s great for older dogs, because there’s no jumping or anything,” Cunningham said. “It’s a good way for older dogs to feel they’re actively participating in something, I’ve tried it with my older dogs in the past and they love it.”

Even though there are lots of activities for dogs, families get a perk: “It’s all free,” Cunningham said. “Free parking, free admission, free classes.”

Micro-chipping services are $25 including registration and $5 from any micro-chipping is donated to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer three-day walk. On-site food concessions will support the Animal Inn Junior Scholarship Fund, which provides children and teenagers involved in dog sports with scholarships.

The event also features 49 all-breed dog clubs so people thinking about buying a dog can get their questions answered by people who know all about the breed they might be interested in.

Any and all well-behaved dogs are welcome to come as long as they have proof of rabies vaccination. Cunningham said that it also gives people the opportunity to go out and see what their dogs or other dogs can do.