Is Your Dog Competition Obedient?

Obedience competition is my passion. I love to compete!  Obedience competition is the only to really know what your dog knows! You take your dog into the ring and perform a set series of exercises and are judged on how well (or not so well) you and your dog perform. There are no treats, no toys — just you and your dog’s training!

There are three levels of competition obedience: Novice, Open and Utility and both purebreds and mixed breeds can competeCCF08072013_00002. Here’s a brief description on what’s included in each class:

Novice – In this class, you and your dog perform a heel on leash, perform a Figure 8 around two people standing as posts, heel off leash, stand for exam and recall. All of these exercises are performed with only one dog in a ring at the time. After about eight dogs, all the dogs and handlers return to the ring and perform a one-minute sit stay and a three-minute down stay as the handlers wait across the ring.

Open – One major difference between Open and Novice, is that while you enter and exit on leash, the dog is off leash the entire time in the ring. Exercises include heel off leash, Figure 8 around two people standing as posts, drop on recall, retrieve on the flat, retrieve over the high jump and broad jump. Again, after about eight dogs are judged, dogs and handlers return to the ring to perform a three minute out-of-sight sit stay and a five minute out-of-sight down stay.

Utility – Exercises in Utility include Signals (where all commands to the dog must be non-verbally), Moving Stand for Exam, Directed Jumping, Scent Discrimination and Directed Retrieve.

When your dog performs these exercises three times, they earn a title! Click here for a great summary of what a title means.

The great thing about obedience competition is that while you’re training for competition, the dog’s overall obedience increases as well! When I started training my first dog I had no interest in competing with him. I just wanted him to sit, down, stay, come when called and walk on loose leash. However, when I entered the competition obedience for the first time, I immediately was hooked! I have now been competing for over 10 years! Are you interested in competing with your dog?

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