What’s In A Title – Obedience

| April 1, 2011 | 0 Comments
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Marilyn Parker And Olivia On Heel

Marilyn Parker And Olivia On Heel In The Obedience Ring

What’s In A Name

Bob, Olivia, and Olivia Newton John!

Bob, Olivia, and Olivia Newton John!

I was looking for a picture of obedience for this article and I ran across the picture of Marilyn Parker and a chocolate Labrador Retriever named Olivia. I remembered something very special about Olivia in the picture. Well, leave it to our good friend, Christine Tye, of Gingerbred Labradors in Sonoma, California to come up with a name that has just a little more “star power” than the rest! Now Christine and her partner, Bob, are always involved in community and charitable events. At one of these events Christine got to chatting it up with Olivia Newton-John! Turns out the Ms. John is a dog lover so Christine invited her over to check out her latest litter of puppies. Ms. John fell in love with the “pick” girl so Christine decided to name her after Olivia Newton-John by calling her Olivia!

Being a retriever lover has us bumping into the most amazing people!

Introduction

This is the first part of a series explaining various types of competition and how to obtain various titles in conformation, hunt, obedience, agility, tracking, etc. This article is an introduction to the types of obedience titles that exist and how to achieve them. And help you understand what those letters mean at the end of a dog’s AKC name. It is by no means comprehensive; just enough to whet your appetite and encourage you to get out with your dog and compete. For obedience rules and regulations and more details, please visit the American Kennel Club site.

Obedience training is the foundation to creating a deep bond between you and your dog and ensure your dog’s safety and happiness through teaching good behavior in public and amongst other dogs. Obedience competition allows you to showcase and get recognition for your training efforts. The American Kennel Club (AKC) awards the following titles; dogs that win these awards are allowed to place the title after their AKC name (e.g., Am Can CH ShaRay Clearly Artesian JH RN CD WC). Don’t worry for now about the unfamiliar terminology (novice, open, utility, etc.), I’ll explain what they mean shortly.

  • Companion Dog (CD) – awarded when a dog has received three qualifying scores under two different judges (effective 1/1/11) in Novice classes at three licensed or member obedience trials.
  • Companion Dog Excellent (CDX) – awarded when a dog has received three qualifying scores under two different judges (effective 1/1/11) in Open classes at three licensed or member obedience trials.
  • Utility Dog (UD) – awarded when a dog has received three qualifying scores under two different judges (effective 1/1/11) in Utility classes at three licensed or member obedience trials.
  • Utility Dog Excellent (UDX) – awarded when a dog receives qualifying scores in both Open B and Utility B at 10 trials.
  • Obedience Trial Champion (OTCH) – awarded to dogs with UD (Utility Dog) titles that win 100 points based on published point schedule and a first-place in Utility B and Open B, plus a third first-place win in either class, under three different judges.
  • Obedience Master/Grand Master (OM# or OGM) – dogs with UD (Utility Dog) titles can earn Obedience Master Points when scoring 190 or better in Open B or Utility B, according to the published point schedule. Once a dog earns a total of 200 points, it is awarded an Obedience Master title. Obedience Master titles will be awarded for nine levels (OM1 – OM9) and upon completion of the 10th level, a dog will be awarded an Obedience Grand Master title.
  • National Obedience Champion (NOC) – awarded annually to the dog that wins the AKC National Obedience Invitational at the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship. This is a very prestigious award and was won by Kathleen Rasinowich-Platt in 2010.

Levels of Competition

As promised, here are the various levels of competition in obedience. A dog receives a qualifying score when it earns more than 50 percent of the points for each exercise, with a total of at least 170 points. A perfect score in any class is 200.

NOVICE – The first level is for those just getting started in obedience. Exercises include:

  • Heel on Leash and Figure Eight (40 points) – ability of the dog to adjust to the handler and work as a team through various activities
  • Heel Free (40 points) – similar to above but done off leash
  • Stand for Examination (30 points) – ability of the dog to stay in standing position and allow the judge to touch his head, body, and hindquarters; this is of great benefit when the dog needs hands-on care by a veterinarian
  • Recall (30 points) – ability of the dog to stay when left then immediately responds when called by the handler.
  • Long Sit (1 minute) (30 points) – ability of the dog to remain sitting in the presence of other dogs while the handler is across the ring; this is of great benefit when visitors come to the home
  • Long Down (3 minutes) (30 points) – similar to above except the dog is in the down position

OPEN – The second level is more challenging as it includes more complicated exercises done off leash, which teach the dog to do a variety of tasks and to follow commands either by voice or signal. Exercises include:

  • Heel Free and Figure Eight (40 points) – Same as Novice, but off leash.
  • Drop on Recall (30 points) – ability of the dog to come to the handler when called from across the ring, drop into a down position on command, then on command continue to the handler; this can be a lifesaving command for a dog, since it gives the handler control in potentially dangerous situations.
  • Retrieve on Flat (20 points) – ability of the dog to retrieve an object on command
  • Retrieve Over High Jump (30 points) – ability of the dog to jump over an obstacle, retrieve an object, and jump the obstacle to return it to the handler
  • Broad Jump (20 points) – ability of the dog to jump a width that is twice as long as the dog is tall
  • Long Sit (3 minutes) (30 points) – similar to the long sit in Novice, but the position must be held for a longer period of time with the handler out of the dog’s sight.
  • Long Down (5 minutes) (30 points) – similar to the long down in Novice, but the position must be held for a longer period of time with the handler out of the dog’s sight.

UTILITY – The third and highest level of obedience competition incorporates exercises which test the dog’s sense of smell. Exercises include:

  • Signal Exercise (40 points) – ability of the dog to correctly respond to the handler’s signal (no voice) to stand, stay, down, sit and come
  • Scent Discrimination – Article #1 & #2 (30 points each) – ability of the dog to find the handler’s scent among a pile of articles
  • Directed Retrieve (30 points) – ability of the dog to follow a directional signal to retrieve a glove and promptly return it to the handler
  • Moving Stand and Examination (30 points) – similar to Novice except the dog enters the stand from heeling
  • Directed Jumping (40 points) – ability of the dog to go away from the handler, turn and sit, then clear whichever jump its handler indicates and promptly return to the handler.

Optional Titling Classes

But wait, there’s more! I should mention that the AKC has introduced some new optional titling and non-regular classes (no titles) to encourage increased participation in obedience. They are slightly different from the regular classes mentioned above but a qualifying score has the same criteria. Not every dog show will hold these competitions so please check the premium list.

Beginner Novice (BN) – awarded when a dog has received three qualifying scores under two different judges in Beginner Novice classes at three licensed or member obedience trials.

  • Heel on Leash (40 points)
  • Figure Eight (40 points)
  • Sit for Exam (40 points)
  • Sit Stay (40 points)
  • Recall (40 points)

Graduate Novice (GN) – awarded when a dog has received three qualifying scores under three different judges in Graduate Novice classes at three licensed or member obedience trials.

  • Heel on Leash and Figure Eight off leash (40 points)
  • Drop on Recall (40 points)
  • Dumbbell Recall (30 points)
  • Recall Over High Jump (30 points)
  • Recall Over Broad Jump (30 points)
  • Long Down (30 points)

Graduate Open (GO) – awarded when a dog has received three qualifying scores under three different judges in Graduate Open classes at three licensed or member obedience trials.

  • Signal Exercise (40 points)
  • Scent Discrimination (30 points)
  • Directed Retrieve (30 points)
  • Moving Stand and Examination (30 points)
  • Go Out (30 points)
  • Directed Jumping (40 points)

Versatility (VER) – awarded when a dog has received three qualifying scores under three different judges in Versatility classes at three licensed or member obedience trials.

Six exercises will be performed: two each from the Novice, Open, and Utility classes. There will be no group exercises. The exercises will be performed and judged as in the regular classes.

  • Novice exercise No. 1 (25 points)
  • Novice exercise No. 2 (25 points)
  • Open exercise No. 1 (35 points)
  • Open exercise No. 2 (35 points)
  • Utility exercise No. 1 (40 points)
  • Utility exercise No. 2 (40 points)

Wild Card classes – New Non-Regular Classes. No titles. The difference from the regular classes is that the handler will identify one of the required exercises in that class as their wild card for which they will receive a perfect score. Also, verbal praise during the exercises is encouraged and not penalized.

  • Wild Card Novice
  • Wild Card Open
  • Wild Card Utility

Get Ready

If you have the opportunity to go to a local dog show to observe obedience competition, you should go. At the dog show you will see dogs entered in A and B classes (e.g., Novice A and Novice B); these designations basically have to do with the handler’s experience. If you want to handle your dog and you have never competed, you should enter the A class.

To prepare for competition, check out local training centers and/or contact your local breed club for assistance (available under our Breed menu). Both typically will not only provide you with training tips, but also with practice courses to run your dog. With so many options for you to compete in obedience, why not give it a try? It’s fun and rewarding.

In an upcoming article, we’ll share with you another fun obedience activity called Rally. Stay tuned.

Category : Obedience, What's In A Title

About the Author ()

I am one of the founders and editor of Retriever Life. My passion is Labradors of all sizes and shapes but I am a big fan of all the retriever breeds.

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