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Ohio teenager Mariah Bradley and her family adopted a puppy from a rescue group five years ago. The Australian Shepherd mix was smart, but active, and soon Mariah got involved with training him through 4H. Before long, the pair were competing in 4H events and did so well that they started competing in AKC events and have now earned through the highest level of AKC Rally! AKC has a Junior Showmanship program for youth 18 and under who show their dogs in all AKC events.

Mariah, a high school freshman, tells their story:

I got Dakota as a puppy five years ago from a rescue group. I first started showing Dakota in 4H events, and as we grew in skills and confidence, I started showing him in AKC events.

We breezed through Rally Novice, Advanced, and Excellent; however, achieving the Rally Rally Advanced Excellent (RAE) title proved to be a bit of a challenge at times!

I was honored to be invited to the AKC Rally Nationals in March 2015 in St. Louis, where we obtained a qualifying score in Rally Advanced. We finished our RAE on Oct. 15, 2015 at the Dayton Dog Training Club.

Besides, Dakota’s RAE title, he also has the AKC Obedience title of Companion Dog and is a therapy dog, visiting the residents of Cottingham Retirement Home on a regular basis.

This is our fourth year in 4H, and we are currently training at Queen City Dog Training Club in preparation for Graduate Novice and Agility.

Dakota is a member of the AKC Canine Partners program for all dogs, including mixed-breeds and rescues.