girl sitting with small fluffy dog

The Nebraska 4-H Dog Achievement Program encourages youth to engage in a variety of companion animal opportunities, events, and contests. The program is designed to equip youth with a variety of skills and abilities and prepare them for success in the future. The Dog Achievement Program is open to enrolled 4-H members ages 8-18. 

The program consists of 4 levels that require youth to plan and report a broad range of age-appropriate accomplishments. For each level, the Dog Achievement program provides a list of recommended accomplishments from which 4-H youth choose their goals. At each level, youth must choose a specific number of recommended accomplishments they plan to achieve. Each level also has a certain number of required accomplishments that youth must complete in order to pass the level. The accomplishments increase in quantity and difficulty for each level. At the beginning of the level, participants plan what to accomplish and at the end, they report on their completed accomplishments. Successful completion of a level's Plan & Report form results in a 4-H youth earning that level of the Dog Achievement program.

Rules & Regulations

  • Youth must be enrolled and active in the 4-H dog project.
  • Youth may only receive recognition at each level once.
  • Youth are required to begin at Level 1 and progress through Level 4
    • Youth are able to finish more than one level in a 4-H year as long as they finish a level before moving on to the next
    • Youth are not required to finish an achievement level within 1 year. They may take longer if needed to finish a level.
  • 4-H youth may begin participation in the Dog Achievement Program at any time of the year, but it is recommended to begin at the start of the 4-H calendar year.
  • Youth must complete the Plan & Report Form for each level. 4-H youth may complete the form digitally or legibly hand write on printed forms.
  • Approval: Levels 1-4 require the approval of a 4-H youth's parent/guardian, and local county extension staff member. If the 4-H youth belong to a 4-H club, club leader approval is also required (if 4-H youth belongs to more than one club, choose one leader to work with).
  • It is recommended that the youth go through a level with one project dog rather than multiple dogs.
  • Resources are provided in the Resource section for accomplishments and required sections in the various levels
  • Accomplishments: Each level requires participants to complete a specified number of accomplishments. The 4-H participant may choose accomplishments listed for each level. The accomplishments are age-appropriate and increase in quantity and difficulty for each level.
    • Completed accomplishments may not be repeated for subsequent levels.
    • Parent/Guardians, leaders, or Extension staff may suggest other accomplishments for youth to complete in order to improve the individual learning experience for each 4-H member. Alternative accomplishments should be comparable to those provided for the specific level. 
  • Plan & Report Form
    • Provide all required pages, documentation, and rubrics for the specific level.
    • Forms can be organized as the youth sees fit.
    • Be creative with your forms! (use binders, dividers, cover pages, etc.)

Instructions

  1. To begin, the 4-H participant must complete the Plan portion of the Plan & Report Form for the level they are pursuing.
  2. This plan should be saved by the young person and used as a point of reference throughout the level.
  3. Youth may fill out the Report portion of the form as they complete their accomplishments throughout the year or at the end of the 4-H year.
    1. Pictures are welcome with the report!
  4. A parent/guardian, Extension staff, and a 4-H leader (if the youth has one) will need to confirm the report.
  5. The completed Plan & Report Form with signatures should be printed and submitted to the local Extension office. Do not email Plan & Report Forms. It is recommended to have Plan & Report Forms to county offices at least 1 month prior to your county awards night to be recognized. Please contact the local Extension office for deadlines. 
  6. Extension staff will review reports to confirm completion and notify youth if they have passed the level.

Dog Achievement Levels

Level 1: Beginning Handler 

Suggested ages: 8-9

Dog Achievement Level 1 Plan & Report Form:

Select at least 6 accomplishments listed below to complete. For required accomplishments, see the Guidelines for Required Accomplishment section for more information. For the remaining 5 accomplishments, write a 300-500 word report detailing what was done and what was learned. 

  • Required: Demonstration
    • Suggested length: 8-10 minutes
    • Suggested topics:
      • Basic bathing routine
      • Daily grooming routine
      • Parts of the dog
      • Lifting and carrying a puppy
      • Feeding a dog
      • Dog breeds
      • Making a dog toy
    • See additional guidelines below.
  • Make dog-friendly treats. Attach pictures to the report.
  • Participate as a member of a 4-H Dog Club. The report must include the club leader's initials.
  • Share a dog experience with one friend.
  • Bring a friend to a 4-H meeting or dog activity.
  • Read a dog-themed book.
  • Attend the State 4-H Dog Show. The report must include Extension staff initials. 
  • Try one new thing with your dog (swimming, yoga, etc. ). Attach pictures to your report.
  • Take an agility or obedience training class with your dog. The report must include the trainer's initials.
  • Make a scrapbook featuring a year with your dog. Provide a video of the various pages of the book and explanations of some of the pictures through a shareable link in the report.
  • Other accomplishments appropriate for Level 1 and approved by parent/guardian, leader, or Extension staff.

Level 2: Intermediate Handler

Suggested ages: 10-11

Dog Achievement Level 2 Plan & Report Form:

Select at least 8 accomplishments listed below to complete. For required accomplishments, see the Guidelines for Required Accomplishment section for more information. For the remaining 6 accomplishments, write a 500-word report detailing what was done and what was learned. 

  • Required: Demonstration
    • Suggested length: 10-15 minutes
    • Suggested topics:
      • How to teach a new trick
      • Different types of dog show classes
      • Dog body language/behavior
      • Care of newborn puppies
      • How to keep your dog healthy
      • Dog showmanship
      • Controlling fleas, ticks, and mites
      • Handling injured dogs
      • Registering a dog
    • See additional guidelines below.
  • Required: Complete a Breed Paper. See guidelines below.
  • Compete in the State 4-H Dog Show. The report must include Extension staff initials.
  • Write a 2-page dog story (fictional or non-fictional). Attach to the report.
  • Compete in a dog contest. Attach pictures or include the judge's initials in the report.
  • Participate in at least 2 4-H dog workshops or clinics. Attach pictures or include the clinician's initials in the report.
  • Participate in a service-learning project (i.e. donate to a local shelter, make toys for shelter dogs, etc.). Include pictures in the report.
  • Watch all 12 videos in the Nebraska 4-H Dog Showmanship Video Series.
  • Attend a veterinarian appointment for a dog and complete the Level 2 - Veterinarian Worksheet. Attach the form to the report.
  • Participate in Nebraska 4-H Virtual Dog Club.
  • Participate in a dog training program (i.e. training tricks, behavior, etc.). The report must include the trainer's initials.
  • Other accomplishments appropriate for Level 2 and approved by parent/guardian, leader, or Extension staff.

Level 3: Advanced Handler

Suggested ages: 12-13 

Diamond Clover Level 3 Plan and Report Form:

Select at least 11 accomplishments listed below to complete. For required accomplishments, see the Guidelines for Required Accomplishment section for more information. For the remaining 8 accomplishments, write a one-page report detailing what was done and what was learned. 

  • Required: Demonstrations
    • Suggested length: 10-20 minutes
    • Suggested topics:
      • History and purpose of American Kennel Club (AKC)
      • Heartworm
      • Emergency first aid kit for dogs
      • Body condition scoring
      • Pet/Dog insurance
      • Dental health
      • Dog agility
      • Canine infectious tracheobronchitis (kennel cough)
      • Toxic foods
    • See additional guidelines below.
  • Required: Write a 2-page Breed Paper. See guidelines below.
  • Required: Complete the Knowledge Interview Questions. See guidelines below.
  • Compete in the State 4-H Dog Show. Attached pictures to your report.
  • Make a First Aid Kit for a dog (explain why, how each item is used and the importance of first aid).
  • Volunteer at a 4-H dog event (i.e. state contest, workshop, educational program). The report must include Extension staff initials.
  • Complete/Participate in a dog-related 4-H workshop or event (i.e. educational program, contest, county fair, etc.). Attach pictures or include the clinician's initials in the report.
  • Participate in a service-learning project (i.e. donate to a local shelter, make toys for shelter dogs).
  • Care for someone else's dog for 2 or more days. The report must include the dog owner's initials.
  • Make a dog costume for your/a dog. Attached pictures to the report.
  • Make a short tutorial video on how to make a leash into a dog harness. Upload to YouTube and provide a shareable link to the YouTube video in the report. See Tutorial Video guidelines below.
  • Make a short tutorial video on how to make a leash into a dog muzzle. Upload to YouTube and provide a shareable link to the YouTube video in the report. See Tutorial Video guidelines below.
  • Earn an AKC Trick Dog Novice title. Attach a copy of the certification to the report.
  • Attend a dog event outside of 4-H such as UKC, AKC, or NADAC events. Attach pictures to your report.
  • Create a PowerPoint/Google Slides document comparing 4 dog diseases (include symptoms, transmission, treatment) OR 4 parasites (can be internal or external; include life cycle, clinical symptoms, treatment, health effects on the dog). Include a shareable link to the document in the report or print out the slides and attached them to the report. See PowerPoint/Google Slides guidelines below.
  • Write an essay (one-page minimum) comparing dogs as emotional service animals, therapy dogs, and service dogs. Attach to report.
  • Other accomplishments appropriate for Level 3 and approved by parent/guardian, leader, or Extension staff.

Level 4: Expert Handler

Suggested ages: 14-15

Diamond Clover Level 4 Plan and Report Form:

Select at least 14 accomplishments listed below to complete. For required accomplishments, see the Guidelines for Required Accomplishment section for more information. For the remaining 10 accomplishments, write a one-page report detailing what was done and what was learned. 

  • Required: Complete the Knowledge Interview Questions. See guidelines below.
  • Required: Complete and present Career Scavenger Hunt. See guidelines below.
  • Required: Complete the Dog Record Book . See guidelines below.
  • Required: Become AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) or UKC SPOT certified. See guidelines below.
  • Compete in the State 4-H Dog Show in at least 3 classes. The report must include Extension staff initials.
  • Earn an AKC Trick Dog Intermediate Title. Attach a copy of the certification to the report.
  • Volunteer at a 4-H dog event (i.e. state contest, workshop, educational program). The report must include Extension staff initials.
  • Participate in a service-learning project (i.e. donate to a local shelter, make toys for shelter dogs). Attach pictures to report.
  • Make a dog leash for your/a dog. Attach pictures to report.
  • Make a dog bed for your/a dog. Attach pictures to report.
  • Create a PowerPoint/Google Slides document over service dog requirements, training, what attributes are needed, best breeds, etc.). Include a shareable link to the document in the report or print out the slides and attached them to the report. See PowerPoint/Google Slide guidelines below.
  • Visit an assisted living center with your dog. Attach pictures to report.
  • Design 3-5 Rally signs not found in AKC or UKC Rally rules and determine the starting level (AKC Novie to Masters or UKC RO1 to ROM). Attach pictures to report.
  • Join an obedience club or kennel club. The report must include a board member's signature.
  • Volunteer at a dog show outside of 4-H. The report must include the trial secretary's or host club representative's signature. 
  • Complete in a dog event outside of 4-H. The report must include the judge's or trial secretary's signature. 
  • Create short tutorial videos on teaching the 7 basic dog manners (sit, stay, down, come, off, heel, no/leave it). Upload to YouTube and include a shareable link to the YouTube file in the report. See Tutorial Video guidelines below.
  • Create short tutorial videos teaching 3 dog tricks. Upload to YouTube and include a shareable link to the YouTube video in the report. See Tutorial Video guidelines below.
  • Write an essay with a thorough discussion on common or serious congenital conditions/diseases of the breed most prominent in your dog/a dog you know. Include a section on what testing is available. Attach to report.
  • Write an essay or create a PowerPoint/Google Slide document on chemicals/plants hazardous to dogs. See PowerPoint/Google Slide guidelines below.
  • Other accomplishments appropriate for Level 4 and approved by parent/guardian, leader, or Extension staff.

Guidelines for Required Accomplishments

Demonstration

Required for Levels 1-3

Guidelines:

  • Demonstrations can be any of the suggested demonstration topics listed in the level or any other topics fit for the perspective level deemed adequate by an extension agent, 4-H leader, or parent. 
  • A different demonstration must be completed for each level.
  • 4-H Attire is required
  • Questions asked by the audience can be included in the required time frame 
  • Visual aids are required for the chosen topic (pictures, posters, etc.).
  • A live animal may be used if allowed by the audience and/or examiner.
  • Use credible sources and cite all the sources used. 
  • Practice the demonstration beforehand.
  • Examiners may be Extension Staff, 4-H leaders, or adults other than the youth's guardians. Examiners should use the provided Demonstration Rubric to evaluate the youth's demonstration. Examiners should realize some youth may have learning disabilities and should use their judgment on the method of administration.
  • A score of 80% is needed to complete this accomplishment.
  • If youth do not pass the demonstration the first time, they may redo the demonstration at least one week from the previous attempt. 
  • Please attach the rubric (or a copy) to the report.

Breed Paper

Required for Level 2-3

Guidelines:

  • Breed papers may be handwritten or typed.
    • Handwritten:
      • Use pencil or ink on lined white notebook paper
    • Typed:
      • 12 point font size
      • Times New Roman font
      • 1.5 spacing or smaller
  • Use credible sources and cite all the sources at the end of the paper.
  • Use proper grammar and sentence structure. Edit the paper when finished using spell check. Consider having someone proofread the paper.
  • Attach the paper (or copies) to the report.

Knowledge Interview Questions

Required for Level 3-4

Guidelines:

  • 4-H attire is required.
  • Have a well-groomed appearance and professional attitude.
  • No notecards or aids should be used during the interview. 
  • Practice answering questions to yourself or friend beforehand. 
  • Interviewers may be Extension Staff, 4-H leaders, or adults other than the youth's guardians. Interviewers should realize some youth may have disabilities and should use their judgment on the method of administration. Interviewers should use the appropriate rubric:
  • A score of 80% is needed to complete this accomplishment.
  • If youth do not pass the interview the first time, they may redo the interview at least one week after the previous attempt. 
  • Please attach a rubric (or a copy) to the report

Career Scavenger Hunt

Required for Level 4

Guidelines:

  • Research at least 5 careers that use companion animal skills and knowledge. Research may be done by asking others, researching on the internet, or reading a book or magazine. Try to explore careers besides veterinarian. Consider job shadowing to gain more insight into the career. 
  • Create a PowerPoint presentation showcasing what was learned about each career.
    • For each career, include:
      • job title
      • job description (including daily responsibilities of the job)
      • education required
      • estimated pay
      • 50-100 words about how likely you would be to pursue that career
    • Use credible sources and cite all sources used.
    • Include a sharable link to the presentation slides in the report or print out the presentation slides and attach to the report. 
  • Deliver a presentation using the slideshow and what was learned about the 5 careers.
    • 4-H attire is required.
    • No notecards or other aids may be used during the presentation besides the presentation slides.
    • There is no time limit for the presentation
    • The presentation should be given to an audience along with the examiner.
    • Examiner may be Extension Staff, 4-H leaders, or adults other than the youth's guardians. Examiners should use the Career Scavenger Hunt Rubric. Examiners should realize some youth may have disabilities and should use their judgment on organization and information. 
    • A score of 80% is needed to complete this accomplishment.
    • If youth do not pass the Career Scavenger Hunt the first time, they may redo the presentation at least one week after the previous attempt. 
    • Attach the rubric (or a copy) to the report.

Dog Record Book

Required for Level 4

Guidelines:

  • Complete the Level 4 - Dog Record Book.
  • The record book does not need to be completed in 1 4-H year but maybe completed over several years.
  • Include details, and be creative in compiling your record book.
  • Attach complete record book to the report. 

AKC Canine Good Citizen or UKC SPOT

Required for Level 4

Guidelines:

  • Complete the AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) program or UKC SPOT program.
  • If the youth's project dog is already certified, they may attach their certificate to the report. Youth do not need to redo the program if they've already completed it. 
  • Attach the certificate of completion to the report. 

Guidelines for Optional Accomplishments

PowerPoint/Google Slides

Optional for Level 3-4

Guidelines:

  • Include 10 or more slides of information (including citation slides).
  • Title slides should include the 4-H'ers name, 4-H age, dog's name, and county of 4-H enrollment.
  • A picture with a dog may be provided but is not required.
  • The largest font size that may be used is 18 (except for the title of slides).
  • Include at least 7 pictures relevant to the content throughout the presentation. Pictures should not cover more than half the slide. 
  • Text or written information must be included on each slide. No slides should be only pictures.
  • Consider decorate slides with themes, fonts, and colors to make is visually appealing. 
  • Consider adding effects and transitions.
  • A bibliography (cited sources) slide must be added at the end.
  • Provide a shareable link to the document in the report or print out the slides and attach them to the report.

Tutorial Videos

Optional for Level 3-4

Guidelines:

  • Videos should be at least 5 minutes in length. Shorter videos can be edited together using video editing software.
  • 4-H attire required. 
  • Videos should include the 4-H'ers name, 4-H age, dog's name, and county of enrollment.
  • Steps should be said clearly aloud and described. Consider adding text slides or overlays for each step.
  • Voice-overs may be used and added during editing:
  • Consider watching other tutorial videos to get ideas on how to create one.
  • Plan out the video on paper before shooting.
  • Practice several times before shooting.
  • Have another person hold the camera or use a tripod to stabilize the camera. 
  • Phones, cameras, or other mobile devices may be used to record videos. 
  • If a dog is not used during the video, considering adding small clips (5 or more seconds) of yourself with your dog or include a picture. 
  • Videos may be edited. Some video editing software options include:
  • Upload the video to YouTube and provide a shareable link to the YouTube video in the report

Recognition

Participants will obtain a certificate of achievement at the end of the 4-H year (October-December) once they have completed a level. Levels 1 through 4 are awarded by the local Extension office. Some counties may choose to recognize recipients at county award nights.

Educational Resources

Transferring videos/photos between devices

Frequently Asked Questions

What does it mean to make a video Unlisted on Youtube?

  1. They won't show up in YouTube's search results unless someone adds your unlisted video to a public playlist. You can share an unlisted video's URL with other people. The people you share the video with do not need a Google Account to see the video.

How do I provide a shareable link but not make the video public for others to see (YouTube)?

  1. Change the settings of your video to Unlisted

How do I know the "other appropriate accomplishment" I have chosen is acceptable for the level I am trying to complete?

  1. If you do not know if the accomplishment you have chosen/made is fit for the level, discuss with your local county extension staff or 4-H leader.

For questions about this program or the information on this page, please contact: