The objective of obedience training is essentially teaching a dog to react to certain commands in order to have a rapport between the owner and the dog so that it becomes socialised and can share in its owner’s everyday life whether it be in the home, the car, or a walk in the park.
While it is possible for someone to train their dog at home it is far better to join a club where the dog can be trained in a climate of mutual cooperation.
The Club offers obedience training on Thursday evenings, and can cater for puppies and dogs whose owners may want training from basic commands right up to Crufts-level competitive obedience.
Initially, new members train on a beginners' course (Level 1) that lasts for seven/eight weeks. At the end of this course there is an assessment and members will be moved into the next class best suited to their achievements.
Following Level 1, the Club runs Progress Exercises at the end of the seven/eight weeks or Trainer Assessment over the period to give handlers the opportunity to move into a higher class as their dog improves.
Most of our members are happy working in the domestic classes (for pet dogs) as their aim is to have a well-trained pet that will respond to their commands.
Members, who aspire to compete at obedience shows, having attained a high standard of work, can train in the class that is reserved for those who compete regularly.
All of our trainers are experienced people who have successful trained and competed with dogs over a number of years and are willing to pass this knowledge on to others.
The club has a number of members participating at shows in Competitive Obedience from Introductory to Championship Level.
Competition Group for competing members - If you are interested in competitive obedience having attained a high standard of work, please talk to one of the club trainers or the membership secretary.
We hold our Championship Obedience Show in Rugby at the beginning of May. This enables all members of the club to come along. As a club member you will be expected to help out.
Obedience originated from the Working Trials, which were run by German Shepherd Dog clubs in the 1920s with the first ever Obedience classes being held at the old Crystal Palace in London in January1924.
In October 1928 the Kennel Club drafted rules & regulations for Obedience classes.
The Alsatian League held the first UK Obedience only show in in October 1949 at Finchley, North London.
A dog must be 6 months old before they can be entered for obedience competitions.
There are a number of types of shows where an owner can compete with their dogs. The first is at local Companion Dog Shows; the second is at KC approved shows. These consist of; Limit, Open or Championship Shows which are run under KC Rules.
Beginners often chose to compete in local Companion Dog Shows, which are not dissimilar to KC Introductory to Beginners classes, and then progress to KC approved Shows as they gain experience and confidence.
Under KC Rules there are eight Classes each with a rising degree of difficulty to suit the handler and dogs ability, experience and success, these are:
Whatever competition an owner chooses both they and their dog will be more successful for being trained.
Heelwork is the corner stone of all competitive obedience classes from introductory to championship.
Heelwork principally consists of a handler and dog carrying out a pattern of heelwork manoeuvres under instructions from a steward. This will be to a pre-set pattern designed by the judge, the complexity of which is dependant on the level of the class.
The patterns for Introductory to Beginner classes are generally quite simple and straightforward. When a handler gets to Novice and A the patterns start to differ and from Class B you will find the more advanced movements being introduced such as changes of pace, slow and fast and by the time they get to the very top level Class C, a competitor will be required to perform movements such as circles, weaves and multiple turning manoeuvres.
There are two types of recall - the Novice recall and the 'A' recall
In Pre-Beginners, Beginners and Novice the handler is required to command their dog to wait in either a sit or a down position. The handler then walks away from the dog until told to stop by the steward, the handler then turns to face the dog. The steward will then tell the handler to call their dog. The dog will then return to the handler and sit in front of the handler until commanded by the handler to finish when the dog will return to heel sitting next to the handler's left leg.
The 'A' recall like the Novice recall starts with the dog in a sit or down position however once the handler leaves the dog they continue to walk as directed by the steward. At some point while the handler is walking away from the dog the steward will instruct the handler to call the dog to heel. The dog should smartly come to heel and the dog and handler will continue walking until the steward commands them to halt.
This exercise is found at all levels except Introductory and Pre-Beginner.
The exercise starts with the dog sitting at the handler's left leg, then under instructions from the steward the handler will throw the article a short distance. The dog is then sent to retrieve and bring back the article to the handler without mouthing or playing with it on the way back. Upon the dog’s return it is expected to sit directly in front of the handler facing them in an upright sitting position and not leaning to one side or the other , as close as possible with the item in its mouth, until the steward instructs the handler to take the item and finish the dog to heel.
In the lower classes the article to be retrieved can be whatever their handler and the dog are comfortable with, provided it can be easily picked up by the dog and it cannot harm the dog's mouth. In Novice and Class A the article is a dumbbell and for Classes B and C the article will be provided by the Judge.
This exercise is only found in Classes A, B and C.
The scent discrimination exercise is where a dog is required to find and bring back the correct scented cloth hidden amongst a number of other cloths (between 6 -10) laid out in a pattern determined by the judge.
This exercise is made progressively more difficult in that in Class A the dog only has to find the cloth with their handlers scent on it from 5 other blank (non-scented) ones, while in Class B there are more cloths to choose from (10) and one of those will carry a decoy scent placed on it by a steward.
In Class C the dog’s task is made even harder in that the cloth that the dog will be seeking will be the one with the judge’s scent upon it which will be placed in the pattern along with a decoy cloth containing the steward’s scent.
Courtesy of Mary Ray & Lyric
This exercise is only found in Classes B and C.
The dog is sent to a designated place in the competition ring which is usually set out by markers.
The exercise starts with the dog sitting at the handler's left leg, then under instructions from the steward the handler commands the dog and it must down on command from the handler. The steward commands the handler forward and the dog must wait until called to heel.
The image above shows the dog in a down at the back marker.
This exercise is only found Class C.
Upon the Judges command to leave the dog, the handler will leave their dog usually in a sit position and walk a distance of between 10 - 20 paces and turns to face the dog.
The handler will then by the use of verbal commands get the dog to carry out a combination of 6 positions of sit, stand and down in the order prescribed by the judge.
The positions are; Sit to down; down to stand; stand to sit; sit to stand; stand to down; and down to sit.
The dog is required to stay in the same place while going through the 6 positions. If the dog moves more than its own body length in any direction then it will be penalised.
Courtesy of Mary Ray & Frankie
All classes currently have sit stay and down stay exercises. These consist of a dog being put into the sit or down position and then remaining in that position while its owner moves away and until they return, holding their position until the command, ‘Exercise Over’, is given.