What is an Obedience Trial?
An Obedience Trial is a competition divided into levels. At each level there is a pre-set group of obedience exercises. In CKC and AIOC trials the exercises are always done in the same order, for example Novice always starts with Heel on Leash, followed by a Figure 8, etc. While the exercises are always in the same order, the Judge chooses some things, for example the heeling pattern for each class. It must be the same for each dog in that class, and must include the required elements under the CKC Rules. Rulebooks are available from the CKC.
At an Obedience Trial you will see several different classes. This is how they flow from the beginning level to the highest level:
Pre-Novice > Novice > Novice Intermediate > Open > Utility
Novice > Open > Utility
Pre-Novice > Novice > Open > Utility
Novice > Novice Intermediate > Open > Utility
This color = Optional class. Competitors do not have to start with Pre-Novice, but may instead start with Novice. Competitors also do not have to complete Novice Intermediate to enter Open and may choose not to compete in Novice Intermediate at all. This color = traditional Obedience class.
In order to move from Novice to Open, a dog must pass Novice 3 times under at least 2 different Judges. Once the dog has accomplished this, he earns a Companion Dog Title, or CD, and is eligible to compete in Open. In order to move from Open to Utility, a dog must pass Open 3 times under at least 2 different Judges. Once the dog has accomplished this, she earns a Companion Dog Excellent Title, or CDX, and is eligible to compete in Utility. After passing Utility 3 times under at least 2 different Judges, a dog earns a Utility Dog Title, or UD. Dogs can continue to trial in the Open and Utility levels after earning their Titles, in order to earn more advanced Titles by earning points.
At each level except Utility, there are also A & B Classes, and in Novice also a C class. These are based on the experience of the handler. New handlers enter the A classes. Handlers who have previously earned a Utility Title, or who teach or assist with Obedience Classes enter B classes. The Novice C class is for dogs who have completed their CD but are not yet ready to enter Open.
The exercises included in each of the more common classes are as follows. For specific details, please consult a CKC Rulebook.
Pre-Novice Pass or Fail, no score given
Heel on Leash
Circle Left & Circle Right
Sit for Exam
Sit Stay in Group 30 seconds
Novice - must earn a minimum of 170 points out of 200 and at least 50% in each exercise
Heel on Leash
Stand for Exam
Sit Stay in Group 1 minute
Down Stay in Group 3 minutes
Open - must earn a minimum of 170 points out of 200 and at least 50% in each exercise
Drop on Recall
Retrieve on Flat
Retrieve Over High Jump
Sit Stay in Group Out of Sight 3 minutes
Down Stay in Group Out of Sight 3 minute
Utility - must earn a minimum of 170 points out of 200 and at least 50% in each exercise
Seek Back (glove retrieve)
Scent Discrimination #1
Scent Discrimination #2
An Example of an Open Level Obedience Routine - this was a perfect score earned by Ward Falkner and "Zoom" who competed in our local Obedience trials in Sept 2009
An Example of a Utility Level Obedience Routine - this was another perfect score earned by Ward Falkner and "Zoom" at the same trials.