Obedience skills demonstrate a dog’s willingness to work closely with its human handler. Obedience training and competition establishes a close working relationship between dog and handler. Successful obedience competition takes many hours of training and is a rewarding experience.
AKC Obedience offers regular titling classes of Novice (CD; Companion Dog), Open (CDX; Companion Dog Excellent), and Utility (UD; Utility Dog) with increasing difficulty at each level. Optional titling classes are available that provide an opportunity to gain ring experience at intermediate levels of difficulty: Beginner Novice (BN), Graduate Novice (GN), and Graduate Open (GO). Preferred classes are similar to the regular classes but include lower jump heights and do not have group exercises.
The Novice level is performed on and off leash and tests the dog and handler's skills with basic obedience exercises such as heeling, stand for exam, recall, and sit/down stay exercises. The Open level is performed off leash and in addition to heeling exercises includes command discrimination, drop on recall, jumps, and retrieves. The Utility level includes advanced exercises in scent article discrimination, directed retrieve, moving stand for examination, and directed jumping.
Advanced titles requiring additional qualifying scores, minimum qualifying scores, and/or competition include the Utility Dog Excellent (UDX), Obedience Master (OM), Obedience Grand Master (OGM), and Obedience Trial Champion (OTCH).
GETTING STARTEDIn addition to training at home there are many obedience clubs that offer classes at all levels. AKC clubs also hold obedience matches that are invaluable for proofing your dogs in a trial environment.