Douglas County 4-H'ers paraded their pets in shows that marked the beginning of the Douglas County Free Fair.
For at least some participants Saturday, the clothes made the dog.
A costume contest for dogs was the final competition Saturday afternoon during the 4-H Dog Show at the Douglas County Fairgrounds.
At least 40 young dog owners participated in the show, the second of two events Saturday that marked the opening of the Douglas County Free Fair, which officially begins Monday.
The participants, who ranged in age from 7 to 19, and dogs were competing for showmanship and obedience titles. At the end of the show, the dogs competed in a costume contest.
Sally Moseley, whose children dressed the family's five border collie puppies in diapers and bonnets for the competition, said that months of preparation had gone into the dog show.
"The kids work with the dogs almost every day," she said. "They had dog obedience classes, and the kids went every Wednesday night for several months."
Barbara Lilyhorn, a 4-H and youth agent for Douglas County and a show organizer, said the classes were offered from March to May. At the classes, dogs and owners learned basic commands. Guest speakers also were brought in to let the members know about careers in animal-care.
"It's so much fun to come for the first night of the dog training class," she said. "Dogs are all over, and it's just chaos. Then during the fair you can come and see how far they've come."
Dogs and owners competed in a variety of categories. Dogs judged for showmanship gained points for being well-groomed and healthy. Dogs competing in the obedience category gained points for feats such as walking in a figure eight or staying put when their owners left the room.
First-, second- and third-place ribbons were given in each category, and grand champions were awarded a device that would electronically keep outdoor dog's water from freezing on cold winter days.
Marilyn Colgan's daughter, Melissa, was showing the family dog, Emmie, a white Bichon Frise. Colgan said that the preparation for the show was beneficial in more ways than one.
"I think it turns your pet into a more responsive pet, and it turns the kids into more responsible pet owners," she said. "They have a better idea of what it is to be responsible."
Show participants also learn a valuable lesson, Colgan said.
"I think it teaches them a lot of patience," she said. "They realize that you must continue to work on things. It's not like when you bake a cake and get the end results right away."
Earlier in the day, owners of cats, birds, hamsters and other pets competed for showmanship ribbons.