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Information on the types of Obedience Shows & Classes

Obedience competitions examine how well you and your dog work together as a team, by putting you through various set exercises. A judge will deduct points each time you make a mistake. In all tests, the dog should work in a happy and natural manner and the lowest classes are usually relaxed and informal events. The Kennel Club has set rules about how each exercise within each class should be conducted, so although the exercises may look straightforward at first glance, you and your dog are actually expected to work to a high standard. However, a few minutes training your dog every day, with plenty of praise and encouragement, will see your dog develop into a real professional!

Above all, Obedience Tests are considered to be ‘fun competitions’, designed to be enjoyed by dog and owner. Informality is encouraged, however nothing may be included in an Obedience Test which could endanger the safety of the dogs competing, the handlers, or the spectators.

Types of Show
There are three different types of obedience tests where the competition becomes successively more difficult. There will be all sorts of classes at these tests, from the most junior Pre-Beginners class, to the most senior Class C.

Limited Obedience Show
Limited shows can restrict entry in a number of ways. They may be limited to only the members of the organising society; they may be limited to residents within a specific area; they may be limited by the number of entrants; or they may be limited to specific breeds of dog. No dogs which have won an Obedience Certificate may take part, so less experienced dogs and owners have more of a chance of going home with award cards and rosettes.

Open Obedience Show
As the name suggests these competitions are open to anyone who wishes to enter them. As there are no restrictions these shows attract many competitors of every level and experience.

Championship Obedience Show
These shows are also open to anyone to enter but will also have on offer, the Kennel Club‘s top Obedience award - Obedience Certificates (also known as tickets). These awards can only be won by dogs winning the highest class, Championship Class C.

Before you think about entering an obedience competition you must know what will be asked of you and your dog, and have trained and be ready to meet the challenge the exercises will set you.

Unlike other forms of canine competition, in Obedience you must enter the lowest one of six classes your dog is eligible for, and by a series of first prizes qualify to higher classes. Having entered the lowest class you can also enter the next highest class if you wish to (except for Championship Class C which you must qualify into). Many competitors do this to give their dogs as much experience as possible and because they enjoy the thrill of competition.

Pre-Beginners Class
As a newcomer to Obedience you will start off in Pre-Beginners class. To take part the owner, handler and dog, must not have won a First Prize in Pre-Beginners before, nor gained a third place, or above, in any other Obedience class. Sometimes it is queried whether a dog which has not won a first prize before can be handled by a more experienced handler, with wins under their belt. This is not the case and this class is only for the least experienced in the Obedience world. There are 5 exercises in this class with a total of 75 points available.

Beginners Class
Once you have succeeded in the Pre-Beginners class you will progress to the Beginners Class. To enter this class, handler and dog must not have won a total of two, or more, First Prizes in Beginners, or, one First Prize in any other Obedience class (Pre-Beginners excepted). The Beginners class combines all the exercises used in the Pre-Beginners class but has an additional element, worth an extra 25 points, of retrieving an article.

Other classes
As you become more experienced you will be able to progress from the Beginners classes to Novice, Class A, Class B and Open and Championship Class C. These classes get progressively more difficult, introducing more complicated and exacting exercises and expecting an exemplary level of performance.

Some of the exercises that are introduced as you progress through the classes are: scent discrimination, where your dog is expected to retrieve a particular article from a selection laid out in the ring; distance control, when your dog must obey commands to sit, stand, or down, given while you are standing some distance away from him; heel work at different speeds and with many different manoeuvres.

This article has been reproduced courtesy of Dogs (Correct at time of publication)

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