If you enjoy obedience training and would like to get involved in the sport of obedience, the American Kennel Club can provide you with a list of local clubs that can help you. Obedience clubs hold training classes, and their instructors can show you the best methods to use to train your dog for competition.
Obedience demonstrates the dog’s ability to be a well-behaved companion. Dogs are entered in classes where they are asked to perform specific routines. A judge scores each dog based on how accurately he responds to his owner’s commands.
Most all-breed dog shows hold obedience trials along with their conformation classes; however, obedience trials can also be held as a separate event. If you would like to enter a trial, you will need to obtain a premium list from the show superintendent. This list contains the entry requirements along with an entry form. Entries usually close about two and one half weeks before the actual trial. If you are entering an AKC trial, your dog must be registered with the American Kennel Club in order to compete. Dogs must be at least six months of age at the time of the trial and, unlike the conformation ring, they can be spayed or neutered.
When you and your dog enter the obedience ring, you will be required to perform a set series of exercises under the guidance of a licensed judge. Your goal is to score more than fifty percent of the available points and obtain a total score of at least 170 out of a possible 200 points. When your dog accomplishes this, he earns a qualifying score called a leg. It takes three legs to earn an obedience title.
There are three basic classes that are available in obedience trials: novice, open and utility. Novice is the most basic of the classes. It requires mastery of commands such as Heel, Figure Eight, Stand for Examination, Recall, Long Sit and Long Down. The open class becomes more difficult, and adds a Drop on Recall, Retrieve and jumps to the basic commands.
Utility dogs are highly trained and must be able to take directed commands. The dog will be instructed to move away from the handler in a prescribed direction, stop, go over a jump and return. Dogs are also signaled to follow commands to Retrieve, Stay, Stand, Drop, Sit, Come and directed jumping. Scent discrimination is further required in utility classes. The dog must be able to distinguish an article that contains the scent of his owner from among several articles that are placed in the center of the ring.
Obedience is a fun event that brings dogs and their owners even closer in their relationships.