University of Maryland Extension


Club Type: Specialty Club - Emphasis on Dog Projects.  Our activities include: 8 club meetings a year, education, service/outreach, and various 4-H events on both the county and state levels.

Community Location: County-Wide

Club Leader: Jennifer Leck, Sarah Cleaver

Phone Number: 301-865-2889 Jennifer, 301-865-0878 Sarah

Email: Jen Leck  Sarah Cleaver

Meeting Location: Frederick County UME Office
                              330 Montevue Lane, Frederick, MD 21702

Meeting Time:  Third Thursday of January, February, April, May, 
                         June, August, October & November at 7:00 p.m.


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Information about Tailwaggers 4-H Club

Tailwaggers is a 4-H club that specializes in dog projects, and as such our programming is primarily focused on dog training and dog related activities.

Club Meetings – We have 8 official club meetings each year where we conduct business and plan events.

Education – We learn dog facts (breeds, anatomy, health, grooming, etc.) as we train for the State Dog Bowl and Dog Skillathon competitions. We learn from dog industry professionals through guest speakers and field trips.

Service/Outreach – We collect donations for local causes, participate in community events like Bark in the Park, and perform community service with our dogs like visiting nursing homes.
Plus – We are encouraged to participate in 4-H events on both the county and state levels including 4-H camp, the Great Frederick Fair, and Maryland State Fair.

Training Opportunities

  • Handling – We learn about dog care and train our dogs for showmanship and conformation contests.
  • Obedience – We train our dogs in basic obedience including heel, sit, down, stay, and come. 
  • Rally - We take our dogs through a course following obedience command cards.
  • Agility – Once our dogs have solid obedience skills, we teach our dogs to navigate an obstacle course with jumps, tunnels, ramps, etc.

In all training, safety for both the handler and the dog is paramount. Student handlers must be able to control their dog and the dog’s temperament must be suited for a group training environment.

Dog Shows
Wills Fair – Regional show at Howard County Fairgrounds (May)
Tailwagger Dog Show – Club sponsored show at Catoctin Kennel Club where we can qualify to compete at the State Fair (June)
Maryland State Fair – State show for those who qualify (August)
Great Frederick Fair – County show at the GFF (September)

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Can I show my dog in 4-H even if it isn’t a purebred? 
A. Absolutely! Pure breeds are not required. All dogs are welcome as long as they have a good temperament.

Q. What if I don’t have a dog?
A. For some activities like club meetings, field trips, Dog Bowl, and Dog Skillathon, you don’t need a dog. If you want to do training and shows, you will need to make arrangements to borrow a dog (maybe from a family member or neighbor).

Q. When can my new puppy get started?
A. We do not offer puppy classes and would suggest taking a puppy class as a family before starting classes with us. Many local companies/agencies like Petsmart, Greenbrier Pet Resort, Breakaway Action Dogs might be places to look. Once your puppy is at least 6 months old and has initial socialization and basic skills, your dog could start training classes with us.

Q. My dog doesn’t like other dogs. Is that a problem?
A. For the safety of our kids and dogs, all dogs are evaluated to see if they are able to handle a group training environment. Dogs that are aggressive and reactive toward other dogs are not allowed to participate in our programming.

Q. Are there requirements for starting with a training class? 
A. To do any training, your dog must be at least 6 months old, be able to handle a group training environment, and have current contact and rabies information on file with the club. 

Q. Who teaches the training classes? Where are they held? And how much do they cost?
A. Our training classes are typically provided by highly trained and experienced dog handlers at various venues in Frederick County. Many of them volunteer their time and as such classes are usually free. Email a club leader or for a list of or current training classes.

Q. Agility is cool! When can I start agility classes?
A. Agility is essentially advanced obedience with obstacles. As such, the kid/dog team must have solid obedience skills like recall, long sit, and good teamwork before even attempting agility with us.

Q. How old do I need to be to participate?
A. Our program is for students ages 8-18 (age as of January 1 of the current year). We do not offer programming for younger students (age 5-7 on January 1st) but younger siblings can certainly come watch.

Q. Do I have to compete at shows or can I just do training?
A. You are not required to compete in shows but they are a good way to exhibit what you have learned in training classes.

Q. How much does it cost to join? 
A. Total cost is $25 per year which includes the standard $10 4-H dues and a $15 club fee to help cover club expenses.

Q. Can I join anytime?
A. The 4-H year follows the calendar year and registration is only open January - May 1 of the current year. Students can participate in our club events and some training classes as a guest without membership though. Once a member, they can compete in events, vote at club meetings, and run for office.

Q. How can I get involved?
A. You are very welcome (and encouraged) to come visit a meeting and training session to see if our club is a good fit. Email a club leader or for a list of or current club events and training classes.

Q. What is expected of parents?
A. First, if your dog is present at an event, an adult family member must also be present. Second, we need parents to be involved in planning and overseeing club activities. The success of our program is directly linked to the level of parental support.

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