An obedience trial is an event at which dogs and handlers perform exercises as set forth in the American Kennel Club's Obedience Regulations, and are judged on the performance by A.K.C. approved judges.
As stated in the Obedience Regulations, "The purpose of Obedience Trials is to demonstrate the usefulness of the pure-bred dog as a companion of man, not merely the dog's ability to follow specified routines in the obedience ring...the basic objective of obedience trials is to produce dogs that have been trained and conditioned always to behave in the home, in public places and in the presence of other dogs, in a manner that will reflect credit on the sport of obedience..."
Obedience trials, being governed by the A.K.C., are limited to pure-bred dogs at least six months of age qualified by training to participate. It would be rare to take a dog from backyard training and exhibit successfully in obedience competition. Most exhibitors are products of one of the many obedience training classes held throughout the country. They started training to gain control over their pets, which, after all, is the primary purpose of obedience training. Some find a rewarding hobby in working with their dogs, and the competition that can follow.
There are three levels of training. Through the Novice Class, dogs earn the Companion Dog (C.D.) title, through the Open Class, the Companion Dog Excellent (C.D.X.) title; and through the Utility Class, the Utility Dog (U.D.) title. The team (handler and dog) compete against a top score of 200 to win A.K.C. Obedience titles. To earn a title, a team must qualify in three trials under three different judges by receiving at least 170 points out of a possible 200, and, in each exercise must receive more than half of the available points allotted. In order to qualify, a dog must, on one command or signal, perform the principal feature of each exercise in an acceptable manner. A table, available on the website linked below, includes the order of exercises in each class, and the principal feature of that exercise. Also, the available points for each exercise are given.
Obedience is a fun way to meet other students training their dogs and learn to be a team with your dog. Lhasa’s learn very quickly and if you keep it fun and positive they love their training sessions always choose a Certified Pet Dog Trainer (CPDT) Trainer to help you learn the rules and train your dog.
The rules can be found at http://www.akc.org/pdfs/rulebooks/RO2999.pdf
* Photo: 14 year old Pepper, owned by Becky Hughes, clearing a jump. Pepper, AM/Can CH. OB-One's Ky-Ann Pepper, is not only a conformation Champion in two countries, but also has her UD, (the highest title in obedience), and is also a Register of Merit Dam (mother of 3 or more AKC Champions). In the Jan O8' Front and finish, she was listed as #1 Lhasa in Utility and #10 in Non Sporting. She is a true credit to her breed and breeder.