Obedience trials


This relatively new discipline is very popular in the Nordic countries. The setup of classes 1 and 2 varies somewhat depending on the country, but the highest class (3) is internationally recognised. Competitions are open to all breeds and crosses are sometimes also accepted. Annual national championships are held, where the best teams qualify for the world championships. Teams are graded pass, good, very good and excellent.

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The classes


Class 1 is open to novices (licensed and certified working dogs), class 2 is open to dogs which have been graded excellent in class 1 competition, while class 3 is open to dogs graded excellent by two different judges in two different class 2 competitions.

The goal in the obedience trial is to complete a series of simple tests of ascending difficulty as the dog gains more experience. Anyone can practise them, because they are a great way to help owners improve communication with their dog. During the tests, the dog should constantly show willingness to work and the ability to follow the handler’s commands to the letter. Handler and dog should form a well-oiled team.

Aggressive and timid dogs are not suited to obedience trials, as the dog must be comfortable about being touched by a stranger. The tests include:

- Heel (with or without lead): the dog has to follow the handler without pulling on the lead, moving away or walking in front of the handler.

- Sit, lie and stand: the dog has to follow the command immediately without the handler having to repeat it.

- Go lie: the dog must walk in a straight line away from the handler and lie down in a square on the handler’s command.

- Retrieve: the dog must retrieve an object after the handler gives the command. Depending on the level, the object may or may not belong to the handler. The dog may also have to retrieve an object touched by the handler and placed among other objects out of its view.

- Stay: the dog must stay where it is without moving or changing position for between one and four minutes depending on the level, while the handler hides from view. This test can be made more difficult by getting several dogs to do it at once, as the dogs will be distracted by each other.

- Come: the dog must go to the handler on command. The difficulty can be increased by asking the dog to stop before it reaches the handler.

- Jump: the dog must clear an obstacle in proportion to its height in one direction and then the other.

This sport is open to all certified working dogs. It is a good way to train a dog while also enjoying the competitive aspect.

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