Shelter dog took state-fair blue ribbonSep 6, 2015 By Andrea Novotny, Staff Writer
Patches went from shelter dog to state fair grand champion in less than a year.
Gina Blumenshine brought Patches home from Paws Animal Shelter in Riverton in October 2014, and her grandson, 9-year-old Hayden Blumenshine, started training the border collie/Australian shepherd mix the following spring.
"The deal was, if we showed her, and he wants to keep showing, then the dog comes to our house," said Hayden's father, Jake Blumenshine, where she will be the fourth in "a pile of dogs."
In March, Hayden, a first-year 4-H member, gave up karate so he could start training Patches for fair.
He took her to training classes two nights a week for five months, and worked with her outside of class for about 15 minutes three additional nights a week.
At Fremont County Fair, Hayden and Patches took second place in rally, third place in confirmation, fourth place in obedience, fourth place in showmanship, and sixth place in agility.
They advanced to state fair in Douglas. There, the duo took ninth in rally, seventh in showmanship, sixth in agility, and grand champion in confirmation in the "Any Other Dog Over 14 Inches" class.
Hayden said his dog performed even better at state fair than she had at county. During one of the competitions at county fair, Patches laid down when she was required to sit.
"At state fair she didn't do that," he said. "So she got better."
Hayden's grandmother said that since Hayden started working with Patches, she has seen positive changes in both of them.
When Patches was adopted, she had no training and was very timid.
"You could be yelling for someone to come to dinner or something, and she'd go hide," Gina said.
Patches also did not know how to walk on a leash.
"It was hard," Hayden said. "She kept dragging me across the ground...I probably could have sat in a sled . She probably could have pulled me everywhere."
Now, Patches has become less timid and will walk with a slack leash. Hayden also seems to have gained confidence, Gina said, which she sees watching him help his younger brother and cousin train their dogs.
Hayden plans to show again next year. Soon he plans to start working with Patches without a leash.