Prerequisite: Results Obedience & Manners Level Three and Instructor approval. If you are an experienced exhibitor and have an O&M Two dog that is exceptional and you would like to join a class at this level, inquire. Obedience trial spectator attendance is an asset!
How exciting to reach this level of training! Those that sign up for this class are expected to want to show and will put time into homework. This is true team effort - your dog will be expected to know what to do without leash help and with minimal commands allowed. This means that you will have to pay good attention to your training and helping your dog understand the exercises. Consistency in handling and clarity in commands is very important! If you have followed instruciton from the earliest Results levels, your foundation training will pay off!
In the past, some trainers have signed up for a show class fully expecting at session end to be qualifying in the ring. It may take weeks, but usually it is a few months of training to complete a title depending on many factors. As success depends on attention to the rules as well as practice, be prepared to study!
A brief description of each title is presented here. It will be very helpful for you to visit other web sites. There are many at the end of the web page newsletter, the "Trainer's Bark". You may also enjoy reading the "Awards" page to see titles earned through this program. Both links are at the top of the home page!
Dogs that have been spayed or neutered may compete in obedience trials. Females that have not been spayed are not allowed to participate in obedience classes when they are in estrus and must be bathed before returning to class.
If you are interested in getting an obedience title, but your dog is not already registered, nor does not have "papers", you may register your pet so it is able to compete for a title if it is spayed or neutered. There are three different ways this can be done: an AKC limited registration, a PAL (Purebred Alternative listing) or with an ILP (indefinite listing privilege). Visit AKC.org to learn more. It can be confusing, so do inquire if help is needed.
The AKC offers both a Beginner Novice Obedience (BN) or the Companion Dog (CD) level for dogs competing for the first time. The AKC BN and CD exercises described below are performed individually in a show except for the CD group sit and down stays.
There are two levels you may enter, the Novice A class is for the person that has not previously titled a dog in obedience. The Novice B class is for the person that has completed a title even if the dog has not.
The Beginner Novice (BN) title does not require that your dog be in the ring with other dogs. It is a nice introduction to being in the ring with a judge while doing basic exercises, most with you on the end of the leash. These are introduced in our O&M Two and Three classes. In this Level Four class, they are tweaked and practiced as they should be performed in the ring.
Figure 8' Heel pattern. The judge will call "Halt" and your dog should sit when you stop.
Sit for Exam by the judge which is done on leash.
Sit Stay with the leash attached resting next to your dog. You leave your dog in the middle of the ring. Your dog is to stay in the sit while you walk the perimeter of the ring and return to your dog going around to the heel position.
Recall with the dog to sit in front, no finish is required. This is done off leash with you at a distance of 25' away when you call.
Heel on Leash and Figure 8
Heeling is performed with the dog at the handler's left side on a loose lead. Left, right and about turns as well as fast and slow speeds are performed as the judge commands same. When the handler halts the dog is expected to sit swiftly at the handler's side. The Figure 8 heeling pattern is done around two persons standing still eight feet apart. The Heel and Figure 8 at this level are scored together.
Stand for Examination
The dog is left in a stand stay, the handler will leave the dog and go six feet to the front then will face the dog. The judge will then approach the dog, touching it to do a light examination then s/he will move away. The handler will then be instructed to return to the dog's side. The dog is to remain in place without moving during this exercise.
This exercise is the same as Heel on Leash however it is performed off lead and there is no figure 8 pattern. The dog is not to forge, lag, sniff or leave the handler.
The handler will enter the ring and go to a designated spot where the dog is to sit. The judge will instruct the handler to leave the dog and walk to a designated mark, turn and face the dog. The dog is to remain in place until the handler, upon an order from the judge, calls it. The dog is to come to front on the first command, sitting in front of the handler. The judge will then order the handler to have the dog return to the side heel position where the dog is to sit.
Following the above exercises, the teams will enter the ring together and will do:
Sit and Down Group Stay
In addition to the above exercises the dogs will also be required to perform two stay exercises in a lineup with other dogs. The handlers are instructed to leave their dogs and to stand across from them in the ring for a designated time. The judge will then order the handlers to return to the dogs as a group.
The two stay exercises are:
Titling: To complete either a BN or CD title, the handler and dog must qualify under two different judges at three licensed shows. Total exercise scores must be a minimum of 170 out of a possible 200. At least 50% of the points available for each exercise must be attained. Points are deducted for minor and substantial mistakes, and a non-qualifying zero score may be given for exercises not performed at the minimum level required. To learn more about the point deductions and scoring, visit the AKC web site. There is too much content to list here!
The fun isn't over once you and your pet have titled until a Highest Scoring Dog in the Regular Classes is received. There are different routes you may pursue, see the AKC web site for details.
While in this training program, trainers are strongly discouraged from using treats without instructor approval. Occasional food treats may be used with some dogs while training at this level, in most cases they are simply not needed if you have followed instruction. If treats are used improperly you may not only interfere with training, but may even set training back. In the ring - treats are not allowed.
New and experienced trainers are encouraged to participate and/or audit in the Dynamics! Clinics when offered. Do not forget to take notes!
Livingston County is surrounded by many clubs sponsoring trials in obedience. It is a lot of fun to show off the skills you and your dog have learned together!
This class is limited and will register enthusiastic trainers that practice only!
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