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Obedience trials

When I started in dog obedience 20+ years ago I was told of a story how dog obedience trails originals started by some drunk men in a bar arguing who had the smarter more intelligent dog, after they got suitably drunk they decided on a series of "tests" to determine it. And that's how it all began.

I'm not sure if its true and I suspect not, but its a great story nonetheless.

Dog Obedience trials are not only great fun to enter but also to watch, watching different breeds competing against each other is very interesting. Obedience trials tests the dogs intelligence and trainability, at times you can actually see the dogs thinking and problem solving. It really is spectacular.

Years ago I went to a dog show for a look and found it to be one of the most boring thing I could do, watching dogs run around in circles for hours was nothing short of torture, with the dumbest dog on the planet could win the circle race. It would be great to see some of the show dogs compete in Obedience trials to test there brains as well in my opinion. 

Obedience trials are not jut about winning though, it is very nice when you do, its more about the satisfaction you get from getting the best from your dog and more so working a s a team with your dog.

The divisions start very easy and simple to encourage people to begin, then as you achieve and obtain the titles they gradually get harder.

Obedience trials are a sport with an expectation that all participants are guided by good sportsmanship both inside and outside of the ring.

Obedience Trials demonstrate the dog and their handler’s ability to work together with precision and publicly show the training they have done to achieve this.

It is essential that the dog demonstrates willingness and enjoyment when working.

Classes are designed to be progressive, allowing the dog and their handler to grow their skills and experience as titles are earned.

There are five levels of obedience in Australia,

Community Companion Dog (CCD),

Companion Dog (CD),

Companion Dog Excellent (CDX),

Utility Dog (UD),

Utility Dog Excellent (UDX), 


These titles become more challenging as they progress.

 Obedience has been in Australia for over 56 years. Obedience satisfies a dog’s social need to please and work under direction.

Obedience is great for learning new skills, requiring mental and physical stimulation from both dog and handler, creating a special

bond and a socially acceptable dog.

date of trial



needs to say obedience trail

beginner level

"ud" class is the most interesting to watch

start time


There is nothing more satisfying than sharing your life with a well trained canine companion. Reaching that goal is attainable and takes time, commitment and consistency and whether your dog is a puppy or a mature dog training will assist you in sharing a special relationship where your dog is a pleasure to have by your side, whether at home or in a social situation.

The day your puppy or more mature dog comes into your home is the day the dog starts to learn the rules by which you expect him to live. He will need to get out and meet the world with all its noises and movements and this can start at 8-12 weeks attending Puppy Pre School which is usually run by a Vet Clinic. The next step is to register at your local dog training club. Puppies can be registered at training clubs when they have received their final vaccinations usually at approximately 12 – 16 weeks.

Trained club Instructors will teach you to train your dog. This is the beginning of a special partnership you and your dog will share and build upon while learning to work as a team. Your puppy will learn to walk on lead without pulling, to sit, stay, drop and stand using voice and hand signals and the very important command, to come when called. As you and your dog gain confidence and learn new skills you will progress through the classes building on those skills already acquired. Once you and your dog are working well together there are other avenues where you can continue to develop skills and learn more and be introduced to the world of Obedience Trialling and Rally Obedience.

Please be warned that Obedience Trialling and Rally Obedience will open up a new world for you and your dog. Some people newly introduced to the world of obedience find trialling addictive and each weekend people head off with their dogs to compete in Obedience, along the way forming friendships with like minded people. Often people go on to find other avenues in which they can compete with their dog, but no matter what dog sport is chosen, obedience is the key and is the basis of all training to have control over your dog.

There are five levels of Obedience in Australia which also has different levels from Novice through to O CH. 


Obedience Competitions
There are five levels of obedience in Australia, CCD, CD, CDX, UD and UDX which become progressively more challenging. A title is achieved when the dog has three passes at that level. Most levels require a pass of 170 points or more out of 200, and the dog must pass every exercise within the level. The exception is the entry class of Community Companion Dog which requires 85 points out of 100 . All the exercises are based on useful things dogs can do for us and which make for a better companion.


Community Companion Dog – CCD
This is the basic level of competition and is not a compulsory section.

In this class the exercises are:

the dog and handler work together as a team to perform a heel on lead exercise, including sits, stands and downs as the judge calls them.
next is stand for examination where the dog stands steadily on lead whilst the judge approaches and examines the dog’s back and head.
finally the dog is left sitting whilst the handler walks away 12 metres then turns and calls the dog, which should come straight in and sit in front, the handler returns around it and releases, usually with much praise for a job well done.
when all dogs in the class have had their turn, they all come together to do a one minute sit stay and a two minute down stay, all off lead in a row with the handlers standing five metres away.
Three passes of a minimum 85 points out of a possible 100 points under at least two different judges will qualify the dog for the award Community Companion Dog, which follows after the dog's name and is normally abbreviated to C.C.D.


Companion Dog – CD
Obedience trialling at the Novice level consists of the performance of a number of exercises in a formal ring situation. These exercises are:

the heeling exercise is off lead so it requires a lot more input and concentration from the dog to stay with the handler
the stand for examination is also off lead with the handler standing two metres away
the recall is a bit longer at 15 metres and after the dog comes in and sits, it must return to the handler and sit at heel on the left side.
the last exercise has a handler’s choice between retrieving a dumbbell over four metres or the dog doing a change of position where it is left in a stand and, with the handler three metres in front, goes into the down on command and stays there whilst the handler returns around it.
the stay exercises are harder too, the sit for a minute and the down for three minutes and the handlers are all 10 metres away.
Three passes of a minimum of 170 points out of a possible 200 under at least two different judges will qualify the dog for the award Companion Dog, which follows after the dog's name and is normally abbreviated to C.D.


Companion Dog Excellent - CDX
Most dogs enjoy this, it’s fun, but the expected standard of the work is higher and introduces jumping, and stays in which the handler is out of sight. The formal exercises are:

the heeling is off lead and more demanding.
the stand for examination has the handler five metres away and the judge touches all of the dog, except its mouth and tail.
the recall has a drop somewhere in the middle, when the judge says, and the dog must remain in the down position until called in.
the dog retrieves a dumbbell thrown at least six metres, sits in front, lets the handler take it, and returns to the handler’s left side.
the other retrieve is the handler’s choice of retrieve a dumbbell thrown 4 metres over a solid jump or a directed retrieve of a glove at 10 metres distance.
next comes a handler’s choice between jumping over a broad jump and returning to the handler or a change of position where the dog is left in a stand and does a down and sit on the spot then recalls to the handler.
the stays have the handlers all leaving the ring and waiting out of sight nearby whilst the dogs do a three minute sit and a five minute down stay.
Three passes of a minimum of 170 points out of a possible 200 under at least two different judges will qualify the dog for the award Companion Dog Excellent, which follows after the dog's name and is normally abbreviated to C.D.X.


Utility Dog - UD
This gets really hard because the dog has to leave the handler and perform tasks which are more complex, although it looks easy watching a well trained dog going through the exercises. It introduces scent work, and demands a high level of training and understanding between dog and handler. The formal exercises are:

first is the seek back, where the dog and handler heel around the ring to make a track and somewhere along the track an article carrying the handler’s scent is placed, then the dog has to go and find this and bring it back and present it to the handler.
most dogs love directed jumping where they run out 25 metres and sit in a square frame, then return to the handler over a bar jump or a solid jump on either side of the ring, whichever the handler points to.
the dog performs scent discrimination, either on a canvas mat or on the ground, there are 12 articles of metal, wood and leather put out by the judge or steward, and the dog is sent to the articles to retrieve a similar article which the handler has touched, this is done three times, once for each sort of article
the heeling exercise is harder because it is all done by signals only, no voice commands allowed, and at the end the dog is left in the stand, the handler signals it to down, sit, recall and finish.
a choice of three exercises, the dog can speak on command where it barks in two positions, the sit, stand or drop, or it can do food refusal where it refuses offered food in two positions, the sit, stand or drop or it may do directed retrieve where it retrieves the designated glove out of three placed six metres apart.
the stand for examination is done as a group exercise.
the only stay exercise is a five minute down with the handlers out of sight nearby.
Three passes of a minimum of 170 points out of a possible 200 under at least two different judges will qualify the dog for the award Utility Dog, which follows after the dog's name and is normally abbreviated to U.D.


Utility Dog Excellent - UDX
The exercises at this level extend on those in the Utility section but there is no jumping, so it suits our older dogs. The exercises are:

the seek back is as in utility but there is a decoy article scented by someone else which the dog must not retrieve.
a heeling pattern, positions in motion, in which signals or voice may be used, and three times the dog is left in a sit, a stand or a drop whilst the handler walks forward five metres, returns three metres past the dog and returns, collecting the dog on the way.
the scent discrimination is finding a cloth article scented by the judge from amongst unscented ones.
a two part exercise, directed send away and recall in which the dog goes out 25 metres and sits in a square marked by four cones, the handler walks towards the dog and, when instructed, turns and calls the dog to heel, does a right or left turn then a halt, with the dog at heel by this time.
distance control where the dog is left in a stand and changes position six times as the judge instructs, including sits, stands and downs, all on the spot.
the dog retrieves two articles, following the handler’s direction signal.
the last exercise is a group stand for examination with the handlers facing away from the dogs.
Three passes of a minimum of 170 points out of a possible 200 under at least two different judges will qualify the dog for the award Utility Dog Excellent, which follows after the dog's name and is normally abbreviated to U.D.X.


Obedience Champion - O Ch
All Obedience titles are shown after the dog’s name and in fact become part of the registered name of the dog. If the dog achieves the title of – obedience champion - this title is shown before the name as O Ch.

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