Most dog owners strive to have a well-trained dog. Often obedience training starts with early puppy training and basic foundation commands such as SIT, DOWN, STAY, and COME. Competition obedience builds on this basic foundation and strengthens the bond between handlers and dogs and showcases a dog's ability and willingness to work with and bond with their handler. Most dog owners train with a recognized Obedience Trainer to compete competitively. The Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) introduced competitive obedience trials in 1944 as a sport for all dogs - purebred and mixed breeds. Before competing in competition obedience you should order an Obedience Trial & Rally Obedience Trial Rules & Regulations book from the CKC.
Most dog clubs host obedience competitions/trials throughout the year, some are done in conjunction with conformation dog shows and some are held independently. You can search for obedience competitions/trials in your area at the Canuck Dogs website.
In obedience competitions/trials, each dog and handler team is judged on their own performance receiving scores in a set of specific exercises performed in each level of competition. At each level of competition from NOVICE through UTILITY, a dog needs to earn three qualifying scores/legs to receive a CKC Title (e.g., CD, CDX, UD/OTCh). A qualifying score/leg is achieved by receiving 50% of the available points in each exercise and a total score of 170 out of 200 points. Qualifying scores/legs must be earned under at least two different judges.
The highest titles beyond a UD/OTCh, MOTCH and GMOTCH require combinations of qualifying scores at the Open and Utility levels, points earned with qualifying scores, and high in class and trials etc.
THREE LEVELS OF COMPETITION
PRE- NOVICE (PCD): This is an elective class and is not required before entering the NOVICE class. It is scored on a qualify or non-qualify basis. To receive a PCD Title, the dog must earn three qualifying passes/legs under at least two different judges.
It is comprised of five pass or fail exercises:
> Heel on Leash
> Figure 8
> Sit for Examination
> Long Sit
There are two levels, level A and level B. Level A is for handlers that have not trained or exhibited a dog that has earned a CDX title. The exercises and scoring are the same for both levels, A and B. The CD title must be earned before entering the Open level.
It is comprised of six scored exercises:
> Heel on Leash and Figure 8 - 40 points
> Stand for Examination - 30 points
> Heel Free - 40 points
> Recall - 30 points
> Long Sit - 30 points
> Long Down - 30 points
> Maximum Total Score: 200 points
OPEN (CDX): In addition to the Novice CD exercises, retrieving and jumping are added and stays (both sit and down) are done with either the owner out of sight for 3 minutes OR a group in-sight sit stay and change of position series. There are two levels, level A and level B. Level A is for handlers that have not trained or exhibited a dog that has earned a Utility (UD) title. The scoring scheme is the same for both levels, A and B in either Open series.
It is comprised of seven exercises:
> Heel Free and Figure 8 - 40 points
> Drop on Recall - 30 points
> Retrieve on Flat - 25 points
> Retrieve over High Jump - 35 points
> Broad Jump - 20 points
> Long Sit - 25 points OR Group Sit Walk Around - 20 points
> Long Down - 25 points OR Change of Position - 30 points
> Maximum Total Score: 200 points
UTILITY (UD/OTCh): At this level, scent discrimination is added as well as non verbal hand signals, moving away from the handler, and directed jumping. Dogs work more independently at this level and are usually four or more years of age before competing at this level. There are two levels, level A and level B. Level A is for handlers that have not trained or exhibited a dog that has earned a MOTCH title or a dog that has not yet earned a UD title. The scoring scheme is the same for both levels, A and B.
It is comprised of six exercises:
> Seek Back - 30 points
> Scent Discrimination - Article 1 - 30 points
> Scent Discrimination - Article 2 - 30 points
> Signal Exercise - 40 points
> Moving Stand - 30 points
> Directed Jumping - 40 points
> Maximum Total Score - 200 points