Competitive Obedience is exactly what you would imagine -
obedient and well trained dogs having their abilities tested.
Obedience can be likened to dressage, or maybe gymnastics. The
overall objective is to execute each exercise within a class with
precision and accuracy, dog and handler working as a complete team.
Thus both handlers and dogs can be penalised for errors and
General training classes like the Good Citizen Dog
Scheme will teach you the basics. Alternatively you can find a
club that offers Obedience training via our Find a
Getting started in Obedience
There are six 'classes' - levels of competitive obedience -
available for entry at Obedience shows. New handlers will start in
the basic Pre-Beginners and Beginners Classes; as you become more
experienced you can qualify for the higher classes right up to
Class C, the highest (and most difficult). Each class contains a
set of exercises which the judge will ask you and your dog to
perform. More details about the different classes can be
found on the
Obedience Levels and Classes page.
The exercises range from heelwork (on and off the lead), to a
recall, control exercises such as a one minute sit and a two minute
down stay. As you progress through the classes the exercises
obviously become more difficult. When you reach Class C your dog
will have to perform additional exercises such as a scent
discrimination exercise and also a send away and distant control
Each exercise is given a maximum number of points and judges
will judge each team (handler and Dog) against their personal view
of the perfect execution of the test (within the guidance set
within the regulations). Dogs are expected to work in a happy and
natural manner, with the handler responding smartly and quickly to
the caller steward's commands.
Details of what is required for each exercise can be found on
Obedience Tests and Exercises page.
Competing at an Obedience Show
The formal requirements for competing in a Kennel Club licensed
Obedience show are quite simple:
- Your dog must be registered with the Kennel Club, either on the
Breed Register or on the Activity Register.
- Competitors taking part in any Kennel Club licensed event must
familiarise themselves with the Kennel Club Rules and Regulations
beforehand. The Obedience Regulations can be found in the Obedience Show
- Dogs can only enter Obedience Shows when they are 6 months of
age or over
Once you have fulfilled these requirements and you feel that you
and your dog are ready to compete, you can enter your first
Obedience show. Your first step may be to enter a Companion Dog Show, a
club match or a Limited Obedience show. Alternatively you may
choose to enter a Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme Special
Pre-beginner Obedience Stakes Class, a Pre-beginner or Beginner
Class at a Kennel Club licensed Obedience Show. There are in fact
numerous Obedience shows held annually by Kennel Club registered
clubs. Details of these shows are published in the Kennel Club's
monthly publication the Kennel Club Online Journal or can be found
in the Events Diary.
Guide to Entering your First Obedience Show provides further
information about what to expect and how to prepare for your first