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Canine Activities: Obedience Trials

Cindy Tittle Moore, Copyright 1995.

Please note first that this FAQ is heavily biased toward obedience competition in North America. If you want to send me a summary like the one for Swedish competition for other countries, I'll be more than happy to add it in!
This FAQ was prepared with the extensive help of the folks on the original OBED-L mailing list. Particular thanks go to Judy Byron, Terri Hardwick, David Hendrickson, Lars Kaskija, Janet Lewis, Nancy Gagliardi Little, Ed Morrow, Dianne Schoenberg, Denise Mclean, and Kathleen Weaver.
There are several mailing lists of interest to the obedience enthusiast, all of which are detailed in the Email List FAQ also posted monthly to
Please note that I welcome any and all comments, corrections, additions and suggestions! Note also that this isn't the only source of online information about obedience.
In the United States, AKC obedience started in the late 1930s. It was promoted by several people and groups around the country. Blanche Saunders toured the country in a travel trailer with her black standard poodles giving obedience exhibitions and introducing obedience to the American public and the nascent conformation community. Her books on Novice, Open, and Utility are still in print. The person who was instrumental in bringing obedience to the USA, however, was Mrs. Whitehouse Walker.
Following World War II obedience only clubs were organized and become member or sanctioned clubs of the AKC. Up to the middle to late 70s all obedience training tended to be of the punishment avoidance type (generally called "jerk and pull") which discouraged some people and did not work well with some breeds. The introduction of independent obedience tournaments such as Gaines in 1980 has done more to revolutionize AKC obedience than anything. Once these tournaments started the level of performance competition increased dramatically. The standards were raised causing people to search for training techniques which would produce an exacting 'happy' performance. Positive motivation techniques began to appear. Around that same time private obedience schools became more numerous and obedience seminars become more popular. Today it seems as if most competitive obedience people train at private schools where before most of the training was done by kennel or obedience clubs.
In 1993 there were 10,973 obedience titles awarded by the AKC. In 1992 11,397 were awarded. 84 Obedience Trial Championships were awarded in '93 and 92. In Europe, one of the most enduring names in obedience, Arthur Newman, got his start in 1941 and learned to handle Border Collies with sheep (but failed his first competitive trial in 1943). Later he began competition with Shepherds and Rottweilers in the British working trials, which are more like the Schutzhund sport without the need to do the protection phase in each class. The British trials are much more demanding in regard to control, food refusal, speak on command and recall from a running decoy. Absolute control is the vital element.
While serving in the British Airborne for 25 years, Mr. Newman was able to travel to the Far East, Africa, and Europe where he always searched out the local obedience clubs and learned from them. Upon emigrating to Canada in 1970, he was shocked and surprised to see the standard, simple tests and proliferation of titles; but he went on to put 15 dogs through CD six to CDX and two to OTCH as well as working some Schutzund and tracking.
He introduced Agility to Canada in the late 1970's and founded the now Agility Association of Canada with 40 clubs across the country. All of his working Shepherds and Rottweilers have been shown in conformation to prove that a 'pretty' dog can also have brains.
Organizations that Offer Obedience Trials
While most people think of the AKC obedience ring when they think of obedience, the AKC is not the only game in town. There are alternative sources for obedience titles, including for mixed-breed dogs. These are listed below in alphabetic order.
If you plan on competing with any of the organizations below, write or call them for their rules and regulations on competing in their organizations. This is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED. There are often restrictions on how the handler must behave in the ring (as well as what the dog should be doing), what actions cost you points, and other general rules that you are obliged to familiarize yourself with. This FAQ does NOT cover all such regulations for ANY organization!
American Kennel Club
The AKC is probably the most widely used organization for obedience trialling in the US. Most titles and classes are compared to the AKC's.
American Kennel Club
5580 Centerview Drive
Raleigh, NC 27606
main switchboard (212)696-8200 NYC
51 Madison Ave.
NY, NY 10010 USA
American Mixed Breed Obedience Registry
AMBOR was formed about fifteen years ago to promote the participation of mixed breeds in obedience trials. They offer trials of their own, and will accept scores from designated other organization's matches and fun matches toward AMBOR titles. Titles offered include AMBOR-CD, AMBOR-CDX, and AMBOR-UD, based primarily on AKC-style rules.
AMBOR accepts only neutered/spayed dogs that cannot be registered with any other organization (so for example if your dog can be ILP'd with the AKC, they ask you to try that first).
In a welcome development in February of 1994, the UKC accepted AMBOR as the "parent club" for mixed breeds in the UKC. Therefore AMBOR registered dogs are *also* eligible for UKC performance titles.
American Mixed Breed Obedience Registration (AMBOR)
Mail to: [email protected].
Or: 10236 Topanga Blvd. Suite 205, Chatsworth, CA 91311.
Mixed Breed Dog Club of America
Offers both obedience and agility trials for their members.
Mixed Breed Dog Club of America
c/o Chris Dane
100 Acacia Ave
San Bruno, Calif. 94066
Australian Shepherd Club of America
ASCA, despite its name, allows all breeds and mixed-breeds into their non-conformation activities.
Australian Shepherd Club of America
6091 Hwy 21
Bryan, TX 77803-9652
(409) 778-1082
Email: [email protected]
Canadian Kennel Club
For those of you living near Canada or willing to travel, it's easy to register your AKC-registered dog with the Canadian Kennel Club and participate in all CKC events. CKC is, of course, the most widely used organization in Canada (are there alternatives in Canada?).
Canadian Kennel Club
100 - 89 Skyway Avenue
Etobicoke, Ontario M9W 6R4
1-416-675-5511 (tel)
1-416-675-6506 (fax)
New England Obedience News
New England Obedience News (NEON) titles mixed breed dogs, and is in care of Lana Pettey-Bernardi 15 Long Pond Rd Danville NH 03819.
States Kennel Club
The SKC seems to be most active in the southern part of the US. It is a multiple breed registry, overlapping somewhat with the AKC, but including other breeds the AKC does not.
States Kennel Club
Post Office Box 389
Hattiesburg, MS 39403-0389
United Kennel Club
The UKC is an alternative to AKC, with a greater emphasis on performance events than on conformation. It's easy to register your AKC-registered dog (or LP an unpapered dog OR a mixed breed) and compete in their obedience trials. The exercises are slightly different for the Novice and Open classes and substantially different in the Utility class. As yet, there is no obedience championship title, although one is in the works.
United Kennel Club
100 East Kilgore Road
Kalamazoo, MI, 49001
(616) 343-9020.
Overview of the AKC Obedience Exercises
The Obedience Regulations may be obtained for $1 by writing to the AKC. Sometimes they are handed out at shows. Details on deductions, rules, and so on are given in this book. The regulations were last updated January 1994. This is a bright red booklet, given to bleeding pink if wet, so keeping it in a plastic baggie is advised.
Note: jump heights and lengths vary according to the entered dog's breed and height. Dogs may be measured at the ring.
Novice (A/B)
Heel on Leash and Figure 8 - 40 pts
Stand for Examination - 30
Heel Free - 40
Recall - 30
Long Sit - 30 (across ring, one minute)
Long Down - 30 (across ring, three minutes)
Maximum Total Score 200 pts

Open (A/B)
Heel Free and Figure 8 - 40 pts
Drop on Recall - 30
Retrieve on Flat - 20
Retrieve over High Jump - 30
Broad Jump - 20
Long Sit - 30 (out of sight, three minutes)
Long Down - 30 (out of sight, five minutes)
Maximum Total Score 200 pts

Utility (A/B)
Signal Exercise - 40 pts
Scent Discrimination #1 - 30 (leather articles)
Scent Discrimination #2 - 30 (metal articles)
Directed Retrieve - 30
Moving Stand and Examination - 30
Directed Jumping - 40
Maximum Total Score 200

Requirements for titles
Companion Dog (CD)
• Dog has no previous obedience title
• Dog earns three "legs" in the Novice Ring
• Each leg is a qualifying score (170 or more points, at least half the points earned in each exercise)
Companion Dog Excellent (CDX)
• Dog has CD
• Dog earns three "legs" in the Open Ring
• Each leg is a qualifying score (170 or more points, at least half the points earned in each exercise)
Utility Dog (UD)
• Dog has CDX
• Dog earns three "legs" in the Utility Ring
• Each leg is a qualifying score (170 or more points, at least half the points earned in each exercise)
Utility Dog Excellent (UDX)
• Dog has UD
• The UDX has 10 "legs"
• Each "leg" is earned by qualifying in both Open B and Utility B at the same show
• A qualifying score is 170 or more points and at least half the points earned on each exercise
Obedience Trial Championship (OTCH)
• Dog has UD
• Dog has 100 pts from Open/Utility (according to published point schedules, earnable only with first or second place scores)
• Dog must place first in Utility in an all breed obedience trial (no specialties) with at least 3 dogs in the competition.
• Dog must place first in Open in an all breed obedience trial (no specialties) with at least 6 dogs in the competition.
• Dog has an additional first place (total three) under the conditions of the above two bullets.
• Dog won the three first places under three different judges
Tracking is Obedience?
Historically, the original AKC Utility ring included a tracking exercise that was later removed from the set of required Utility exercises and formed the basis for today's TD test. Because of this prior association, Tracking is considered a test of obedience, and the TD and TDX titles are considered to be obedience titles. This is also the reason that dogs with both UD/X and TD/X are able to combine them into special dual titles, including UDT, etc.
Agility is Not Obedience?
No. In the AKC, Agility is considered to be a performance event, and as such shares company with other performance trials such as Field Trials, Herding Trials, etc. This may or may not be true in other kennel clubs.
Additionally, some other events commonly associated with obedience, such as Freestyle, are not obedience though they are obviously derivative. Freestyle is frequently demonstrated at the Gaines Classics, UKC's Top Gun, and other similar competitions. For more information about Freestyle, you can contact Heinz Pup-Peroni Canine Freestyle at [email protected] for more information.
Upcoming new things in AKC Obedience
From "Nola Ventura"
Subject Multiple Surface Tracking
I got this flyer from the WSOTC in Washington. The name has been changed again - originally it was like Variable ST but AKC changed it and who knows may still. This was sent to me earlier in the month. So they still had the idea of calling it VST.
"The AKC Obedience Department is working to develop a new tracking event: 'Variable Surface Tracking'. The event can take place in a city, or parking lots, and in light industrial grounds. The track will be on grass areas about 50% of the time and on non-vegetated areas 50% of the time. Non-vegetated areas can include cement, asphalt and gravel surfaces such as driveways and parking lots. The track will be 600-800 yards, be 1-3 hours old, have 3-4 turns and 4 articles. The track will not have intentional cross-tracks, but natural cross traffic will be considered a part of the normal track.
Workshops are being held around the country to introduce this new event to the fancy and develop the rules do that it will become a practical and popular event once it is approved by the AKC Board of Directors. Attendance at one of these workshops is one requirement for grandfathering TDX judges to judge this event.
John Barnard, the head of AKC tracking, is a nationally recognized expert on tracking and scent work. He spent three decades with the Baltimore Police Department K-9 unit. During that time, he trained other law enforcement and national security officials in the intricacies of canine scent work and assisted several scientific studies concerning the use of dogs' olfactory senses."
Overview of the CKC Obedience Exercises
Description of Exercises in each ring
Heel on Leash 35pts
(Figure 8 is included)
Stand for Examination 30
(done on 6 ft leash-
leash is not to touch ground)
Heel Free 45
Recall 30
Long Sit (1 min) 30
Long Down (3 min) 30
200 max. pts.

Heel Free (Figure 8 included) 40pts
Drop on Recall 30
Retrieve on Flat 25
Retrieve over High Jump 35
Broad Jump 20
Long Sit (3 min. out of sight) 25
Long Down (5 min. out of sight) 25

Seek back (heel free w/ glove
drop that dog has to seek
and retrieve on command) 30 pts
Scent discrimination #1 20
Scent discrimination #2 20
Scent discrimination #3 20
(articles are wood, leather, metal)
Signal Exercise 35
Directed Jumping 40
Group Examination 35
(min. 3 minutes)
Bar and high jump: as nearly as possible the height of the dog at withers. Max 36 inches Broad jump: distance equal to twice the height of the high jump.
Requirements for titles
Overview of the SKC Obedience Exercises
A dog may be entered in both the 'A' and 'B' sections of a class if eligible. However, only the higher qualifying score will be counted towards a title if the same judge officiates in both sections.
Description of Exercises in each ring
Novice A/B
Heel on Leash and Figure 8 - 40 pts
Stand for Exam - 30 pts
Heel Free - 40
Recall - 30
Long Sit (1 min) - 30
Long Down (3 min) - 30
(Total 200 pts)

Open A/B
Heel Free and figure 8 - 40pts
Drop on Recall - 30
Retrieve on Flat - 20
Retrieve on High Jump - 30
Broad Jump - 20
Long Sit (3 min out of sight) - 30
Long Down(5 min out of sight) - 30
High Jump height - equal to height of dog at withers, as determined by judge, min. 8 inches - max. 36 inches. Broad Jump - distance to cover twice the height of the high jump. 4 hurdles for 48 to 72 inches, 3 for 28 to 44 inches, and 2 for 16 to 24 inches.
Utility A/B
Signal exercises - 40 pts
Scent discrimination article1 - 30
Scent discrimination article2 - 30
(leather and metal like AKC)
Directed Retreive - 30
Directed Jumping - 40
Group Exam - 30
(stand for exam as group -min 3 minutes for
handler away from dog).

Requirements for Titles
Overview of the UKC Obedience Exercises
Description of Exercises in each ring
Novice U-CD
Honor (Long Down in opposite ring
corner while other dog doing
Heel on Leash) 35 pts
Heel on Leash and Figure 8 35
Stand for Exam 30
Heel off Leash 35
Recall over Jump 35
Long Sit (1 min) 30

Open U-CDX
Honoring (out of sight) 30 pts
Heel Off Leash and Figure 8 40
Drop on Recall 30
Retrieve on Flat 20
Retrieve over High Jump 30
Broad Jump 20
Long Sit (3 min out of sight) 30
On the Heel Off Leash the steward walks the same pattern
as the handler/dog team. Also after the dog drops on the
Drop on Recall the steward walks from the handler's side
past the dog to the other side of the ring.

Utility U-UD
Signaling and Heeling 30
Honoring 10
Scent Discrimination (metal) 30
Directed 'Marked' Retrieve
(from handlers side) 20
Directed 'Signal' Retrieve
(sent from handler, then
directed) 30
Consecutive Recalls
(one with and one without
Down) 40
Directed Jumping 40
Jump heights: min 8 inches - max 24 inches. The height is set at even 2 inch increments. A dog 17 1/2 inches jumps 16 inch high. A dog must jump twice its shoulder height for the Broad Jump in one inch increments.
Requirements for titles
Opportunities for Mixed Breed Dogs
Most of the major kennel clubs (AKC, CKC, etc) do not allow mixed breed dogs to compete in any of their shows. While this is unfortunate, it is certainly their perogative (perhaps the rules will be relaxed someday, as any dog can do well in obedience trialling).
The happy exception to this is the United Kennel Club. In an agreement reached with AMBOR on February 3, 1994, the UKC began issuing LP's to mixed breeds (who must be neutered, as all UKC LP dogs have been required to be) and AMBOR became the national parent club for the UKC mixed breed dogs. Effective May 1, 1994, all mixed breed dogs registered with the UKC participate in all UKC licensed Obedience Trials and Hunting Retreiver events and earn UKC titles and degrees. As additional programs are developed by the UKC, these dogs may also be allowed to participate. These could include Tracking, Agility, and Terrier (go to ground) Trials.
There are a number of additional resources for the owner of a mixed breed dog who is interested in obedience trials. Contact any of the following:
American Mixed Breed Obedience Registration (AMBOR)
205 1st Street, S.W.
New Prague, MN 56071
offers titles to dogs in rings with the UKC plus it's own set of titles
Mixed Breed Dog Clubs of America
c/o Phyllis Massa
1937 Seven Pines
Creve Coeur, MO 63146
offers obedience titles of their own (registered dogs must be neutered).
Also see ASCA above.
PupPeroni Classic Tournaments (previously known as Cycle, Gaines)
Three regional tournaments (western, central, and eastern regions) and a final tournament each year. These tournaments are held in various cities throughout the continental United States and are organized by volunteers and non-profit organizations. The PupPeroni Dog Obedience Tournaments are a showcase of the best Obedience teams throughout the U.S and Canada and can be described as the "Westminster of Obedience".
The Tournaments were originally sponsored by Gaines, then Cycle and now PupPeroni.
For additional information write:
Quaker Professional Services
Pet Food Division
P.O. Box 049001, Suite 23-1
Chicago, IL 60604-9001
Eastern, Western, and Central regional tournaments
Each Regional is a two-day event comprised of three shows. Each exhibitor must compete in all three shows in the division in which he is entered. The three designated Divisions of competition are: Novice, Open, and Super Dog (combined).
Placings in the Divisions are determined on the basis of total points lost, qualifying or non-qualifying with prizes to the first ten placements in all Divisions.
Titles and scores are accepted from the American Kennel Club, the United Kennel Club, the Australian Shepherd Club of America (Australian Shepherds only), the Canadian Kennel Club, and the American Mixed Breed Obedience Registry. All three scores must be from the same registry. Dual titled dogs must compete in the division of the highest title.
Entrance Requirements
Division I - Super Dog
An AKC Obedience Trial Champion is automatically eligible. Other dogs that may enter must meet the following requirements:
1. Earned a confirmed Utility title in one of the above mentioned registries, prior to the closing date of the Regional.
2. Must have earned three scores in Open B averaging 193 or better, and three scores in Utility A or B averaging 193 or better in competition at approved trials prior to the closing date of the Regional.
The Super Dog section is limited to 60 entires in each Regional. The ten dogs losing the fewest number of combined points in all Open and Utility classes at a Regional will receive a cash prize and other prizes, and automatically become eligible to compete in the U.S. PupPeroni Dog Obedience Classic for that year.
Division II - Novice Dog
1. Earned a confirmed Companion Dog title in one of the above mentioned registries, prior to the closing date of the Regional. The dog must not have earned a third leg towards a CDX prior to the date of the Regional in which they are competing.
2. Must have earned three scores averaging 193 or better in Novice A or B competition at approved trials prior to the related Regional closing date.
The Novice Dog section is limited to 70 entries in each Regional. The ten dogs losing the fewest number of points in Novice competition at a Regional will receive a cash prize and other prizes, and automatically become eligible to compete in the U.S. PupPeroni Dog Obedience Classic for that year.
Division III - Open Dog
1. Earned a confirmed Companion Dog Excellent title in one of the above mentioned registries, prior to the closing date of the Regional. The dog must not have earned a third leg towards a UD prior to the date of the Regional in which they are competing.
2. Must have earned three scores averaging 193 or better in Open A or B competition at approved trials prior to the related Regional closing date.
The Open Dog section is limited to 60 entries in each Regional. The ten dogs losing the fewest number of points in Open competition at a Regional will receive a cash prize and other prizes, and automatically become eligible to compete in the U.S. PupPeroni Dog Obedience Classic for that year.
Swedish Obedience Trials
Contributed by Lars Kaskija
The Swedish Kennel Club has sponsored competitive obedience since the late 60s (imported from England?). Obedience was not particularly popular to start with, but it has become more and more popular, particularly during the last 10 years. Today there are approx. 24,000 obedience trials carried out each year, which is quite a lot considering the small size of the country. Agility was introduced around 1986, and is now extremely popular, especially among young people. Most recent is Flyball, introduced 2-3 years ago.
The Swedish Working Dog Association (SBK, Svenska Brukshunds-Klubben) also organizes competitive obedience - which it has done for a very long time. This form of obedience is only slightly different from that organized by the [Swedish] Kennel Club. Any competition, whether in trecking, or schutz-training etc., also includes obedience. Obedience is thus compulsory, no matter what special branch you are competing in.
Levels of Obedience
There are four different levels of Kennel Club obedience: Level I, Level II, Level III and Elite Level.
In levels I and II a dog has to earn 160-200 points for 1st place, 140-159,5 for 2nd place, and 100-139,5 for 3rd place.
In levels III and Elite a dog has to earn 255-300 points for 1st place, 224-254,5 for 2nd place, and 192-223,5 for 3rd place.
A dog that has achived a 1st place in level I can move up and compete in level II, or, continue to compete in level I until it has three 1st places, in which case it will receive an "obedience diplom" (Lp-1). After three 1st places in level II the dog receives an "Lp-2", and in level III an "Lp-3". To become an obedience champion a dog must win three 1st places at elite-level, and on top of that the dog must have the figure 2 from a conformation class (i.e. it must conform to the standard of its breed). Border Collies can only become obedience champions if they have passed a general test for herding dogs, i.e. they must be approved herding dogs.
To participate the dog has to be at least 10 months old (for the elite class, 15 months old). Any dog old enough may participate, even non-registered dogs, mixed breed dogs, and male dogs with only one testicle. However, to become an obedience champion or to receive a CACIOB (the best 1st-place winner in an international competition) the dog has to be registered and non-cryptorchid.
A dog that has received an obedience championship is called Svensk Lydnads Champion (SLCH). A dog that has become champion in any of the working dog branches, such as tracking, is called Svensk Bruks Champion (SBCH). To be a Swedish Champion because of exterior merits, i.e. from participation in conformation classes, is called Svensk Utstallnings Champion (SUCH). Especially talented and beautiful dogs can thus become Trippel-Champions, and this is really something.
General obedience (Swedish Kennel Club style)
Level I.
Long Down (2 min) - 30 pts (dogs 5m apart, handlers 20m away)
Teeth Examination - 10
Heel On Leash - 20
Heel Off Leash - 40
Down During Heel Off Leash - 20 (handler walks 10m away then returns)
Recall - 20 (from 15m)
Stand During Heel Off Leash - 30
High Jump With Heel O.L. - 20
General Impression - 10
Maximum Total Score 200 pts

Level II.
Long Down (3 minutes) - 40 pts (handlers out of sight)
Heel Off Leash - 30
Down During Heel Off Leash - 10
Stand On Recall - 30
Retrieve - 20 (dumbbell?)
Signal Exercise - 20 (sit/down on signals, handler at 5m)
High Jump - 20 (jumps, sits on other side and recall)
General Impression - 10
Maximum Total Score 180 pts

Level III.
Long Down (6 minutes) 40 pts (handlers out of sight)
Heel Off Leash - 30 (includes two steps backwards)
Down During Heel Off Leash - 20 (handler is running when command given)
Stand and Drop On Recall - 40
Sending with Down and Recall - 40
Retrieve Over High Jump - 30
Retrieve (metal object) - 20
Scent Discrimination - 40 (five identical objects, one scented)
Signal Exercise - 50 (sit/down/stand, handler at 15m)
General Impression - 10
Maximum Total Score 320 pts

Elite Level
Long Sit (2 min) - 30 pts (3m/dogs; handler out of sight)
Long Down with Disturbance - 30 (4 min, steward weaves between dogs)
Heel Off Leash - 30
Stand/Sit/Down During HOL - 30
Stand and Drop on Recall - 50
Go-Out, Down, Recall - 40
Retrieve over High Jump - 30 (heavy metal object)
Scent Discrimination - 30
Signal Exercise - 40 (down/sit/stand)
General Impression - 10
Maximum Total Score 320 pts

Bahamas Obedience Trials
From: [email protected]
As one who LIKES stewarding, here's my thoughts on the matter:
1. Expect to have the opportunity to learn A LOT.
2. Possibly expect to get chastised if you aren't paying attention, especially if it becomes a habit. Most judges I've stewarded for are pretty forgiving, especially if you're usually there for them.
3. The job isn't terribly difficult, but you have to pay attention. Remember that you can contribute to the ring running smoothly or you can hold it up, depending on how seriously you take the job.
4. Hopefully, you've had some sort of training as to what to do.
5. BE AT THE RING EARLY. I like to be there at LEAST 1/2 hour before judging is to start.
6. Ask the judge for special instructions. Usually, they will tell you things like:
o where each team should be positioned when they enter the ring.
o where to place the gloves on the DR.
o where to stand for the figure 8.
o where to stand during group exercises.
o when and where they want things like dumbbells and articles.
o Lots of other things are likely to come up. Every judge does something a little different than everyone else.
7. Expect to make mistakes at first, but remember that after the first couple of teams in each class things will smooth out. Every judge I've worked with has been more than forgiving of these initial mistakes.
8. Try to think ahead. What will the judge want me to do next?
9. Smile a lot.
10. Expect some nasty exhibitors, but most are nice. Treat the nasty ones politely anyway. You might turn 'em around.
11. Think from the perspective of the exhibitors. What would you like to have from the stewards? There isn't a whole lot you can do here, but I always make a few passes over the ring during the day to look for things that could distract the dogs (food, leaves, hairballs, candy wrappers, etc.) and remove them.
12. Bite your tongue. Don't make comments that could make someone feel bad.
I'm sure there's more, but this is it offhand. Remember, HAVE FUN! It's a good feeling at the end of the day to know you've contributed to a successful show.
Common Handler Errors
More can be found in Barbara Handler's book! Fraser & Ammen's book lists a number of them too. These suggestions are primarily for AKC's obedience exercises, although they are widely applicable. Exercises that are specifically different in other organizations are not covered.
(Suggestions from a number of people, especially Nancy Gagliardi Little; collected by Ruth Ginzberg)
Common handler errors:
1. Bowing when giving command
2. Improper hand position
3. Body english for the finish (dipping shoulder, moving feet, etc)
4. Head movement
5. Moving fingers on the finish
6. Moving arm position after voice command to finish is given
7. Overly loud command
8. Double commanding (signal and voice) for finish
9. Giving the "Stay" command out of heel position (as or after handler steps out)
Helpful hints:
1. Don't leave your dog on the crack of the mat or a high or low spot if showing outdoors.
2. After leaving the dog and going to the other side, don't look up at the judge until you have positioned yourself and are ready for the command.
3. Ensure that there is enough room behind you for the finish.
4. Position yourself across the ring so that the dog will not have to sit on the crack of the mat.
5. Use the same tone of voice that is normally given for the recall command (many handlers will change the tone of their voice when they are nervous and the dog doesn't understand)
6. Leave your dog by stepping out on your right foot (or which ever foot you normally leave on).
7. Make sure you have your dogs full attention before leaving him so he doesn't get up as you leave.
8. Make sure your command is loud enough, if there is lots of noise (i.e. PA system on and off, etc)
Long sit/down
Common handler errors:
1. Not knowing that if dog breaks the owner SHOULD NOT return to the line with other competitors
2. Late leaving dog
3. Not returning to heel position
4. Positioning the dog or touching the collar (you can't touch them)
5. Handler zeros in previous exercises and doesn't return for Sits and Downs (you must return or ask the judge to be excused).
6. Extra signals from across the ring.
Helpful hints:
1. Don't position your dog on the crack of the mat or (if outdoors) a high or low spot.
2. Look around before getting started and pick up any debris near your dog to avoid sniffing.
3. Clip your armband to your leash - and lay down so it won't get knocked or blown away.
4. Make sure that your dog will lay down straight (especially if you are showing a large dog) to avoid having to reposition your dog.
5. When the judge asks if everyone is ready before the exercise starts SPEAK UP, if you aren't ready - don't rush yourself and chance a zero.
6. Cross your arms to make the exercise look different than the recall.
7. If your dog doesn't go down on the first command, give another - the exercise doesn't start until the handlers leave (except for rough handling,etc).
8. Make sure you have your dogs full attention before leaving him so he doesn't get up as you leave.
Heel on lead
Common handler errors:
1. Tight lead (loose pts for lagging AND tight lead) This could also cause a zero for the exercise, if the judge feels that s/he was not given an opportunity to see the dog work on leash
2. Adapting speed to dog (Especially not walking briskly.)
3. Not changing speed
4. Lead corrections
5. Not heeling so DOG IS ON MAT
6. Stepping into dog on sit
7. Too many steps on the halt.
8. Anticipating judges commands (going back to normal after the fast before the judges command, turning early, etc)
9. Pausing or stopping on about turn (heels should never come together - the turn should be made in motion)
10. Rounding corners on the left turn to avoid crowding by the dog.
11. Checking each sit after the halts
12. Extra body movement on the "Heel Command"
13. Moving the leash position after starting to heel.
Helpful hints:
1. Don't stop too quickly on the halts - many handlers panic when the judge commands and they stop on a dime.
2. When the judge asks if you are ready, LOOK at your dog first before you reply.
3. If the dog lags (i.e. on the figure 8) don't let out the lead, let it tighten up - the judge will take a lag only (the dog caused the tight leash)
4. Don't look back at the dog - it will only cause the dog to lag more.
5. Many handlers forget to give the "Heel" command after each command to "Forward" by the judge.
6. If you have questions, before the exercise starts (about anything - since this is the first exercise) ask the judge.
7. Crossing the mat on the fast time. Crossing the mat is a problem that occurs when the handler doesn't walk or run in a straight line. Either the handler moves across the mat to the left (into the dog) which seems to be more common, or moves across the mat to the right (away from the dog).
Figure eight
Common handler errors:
1. See Heel on Leash
2. Slowing down when the dog is on the outside
Helpful hints:
1. Make sure to give the dog enough room when executing the inside post. Many handlers cut too close and the dog is forced to drop back into a lag.
2. Give yourself enough room at the start of the exercise (especially for those with large dogs) so you can take at least two steps before going into the turn.
3. Unless you have a forging dog, always start the exercise by going to the left. If you go immediately to the right (dog is expected to get up from a sit and go into a fast), it start the dog off into a lag.
Heel free
Common handler errors:
1. See Above.
2. Hand position - a) Both hands down and "swinging" or b) Right hand down and "swinging" and the left hand held up at your waist. The hand position can change for the fast, but must immediately return to the previous position on the normal.
3. Changing hand position after starting.
Helpful hints
1. Forgetting that it's permissible to issue a second command (point loss but no zero/NQ)
2. Ensure that you give the "Heel" command first before stepping out to avoid leaving the dog sitting behind.
Common handler errors:
1. Touching while giving "stay" command
2. Backing away
3. Going too far (must be about 6 feet away)
4. Not returning to heel position.
5. Giving the "Stay" command out of heel position
6. Returning directly into heel position (not going behind the dog first)
7. Rough handling of the dog to position him
8. Extra commands to stay - "Stay/Stay" or "Wait...Stay"
9. Waiting for the judge to tell the handler to leave
Helpful hints:
1. Pace out the 6 foot distance ahead of time (or go about to where the judge is - that's usually 6 feet)
2. After standing the dog, move to heel position and take one last look at the dog before giving the command to stay.
3. If the dog doesn't stand up on the first command, physically stand the dog (don't use your feet)
4. Make sure you leave your dog on the foot that your normally leave him on (usually the right)
5. If the dog sits or moves from position after the judge has examined him and before you return, the dog has still qualified (lost major points, though)
Generally Common Handler Errors
1. Positioning the dog (knee, foot, hands) before exercises - you can't touch them at all to position them - even if the exercise is over.
2. Collar too loose or too tight (or illegal)
3. Handler not familiar with the rules ( when handler fills out an entry form and signs it, s/he is stating that s/he has read the rules and is familiar with them.
4. Enter and Exit the ring on a loose leash (yes, you must clip the leash on your dog before exiting)
5. Telling the judge that they are ready for an exercise when the dog is not in position. Always check your dog before replying that you are ready.
6. Neither judges or stewards may reveal any part of your score until after the class is over. The judge must, however, tell you whether you have qualified after your sits and downs.
Generally Common Helpful Hints
1. Make sure you praise your dog between exercises so they don't get stressed This way you can also keep the dog's attention on you.
2. If you need to, you can gently guide your dog by the collar
3. Teach the dog pivots, so that you can position the dog without repeatingly turning around and around (and around,and around....)
4. Make sure your dog is clean (judges HATE to touch dirty dogs)
5. Tie your hair back (if it is long)
6. Make sure your clothes don't interfere with the dog's movement.
7. Have a pleasant expression on your face, otherwise the dog will react to the difference in your personality (who is this strange person I'm with?)
8. Give all command in the same tone of voice as when you train.
9. Think about your handling - try to forget about the dog. You should have confidence in him by now. If you worry about something (or dwell on something) it will probably come true. Try to keep a positive attitude.
10. Always check to see if there are missing dogs (or dogs with conflicts) ahead of you). Never go to the steward's table with your dog.
11. Keep your dog away from you until just before you show. Do a brief warmup, but not too much.
12. Make sure that your dog has been exercised and will not foul the ring.
13. Arrive AT LEAST one hour before you show. Walk the dog through the whole show area, then put him away.
14. After the last sit and down group is complete, (if you have qualified), get your dog and warm them up for a run-off - no matter how you feel about your performance.
15. Watch at least 2 or 3 dogs performance before you show (unless you are the first or second dog) and plan where you will position yourself. Watch carefully, where each exercise is done and what the judges commands are.
16. Don't take gum into the ring (some judges consider it food). Empty your pockets of extra change or keys.
17. Don't bring your dog up to the ring entrance until the judge is ready for you - especially don't bring him up while the other dog is exiting.
18. If you place, show good sportsmanship by congratulating the other placers.
19. After the class is over, approach the judge and ask her/him if s/he would be willing to go over your score. Most judges are more than willing to do this after all the paperwork is complete - but they are not required.
20. You might want to get a photograph done if you get a placement or a C.D. that day.
21. Always verify your score at the superintendent's table after the judge has turned in the book. Sometimes there are errors. If you placed, make sure that your number is in the correct place.
22. If you place first, you will need to wait around until another class finishes with a first place that is higher than your score (for the High in Trial award)
23. Check (in the catalog) to see if you are eligible for any special prizes. (i.e. High Scoring Hound, High Scoring Senior Citizen, etc). Check before the trial, as sometimes you need to sign up for a possible prize. Always check afterwards as well.
24. Always verify that your dog's name (and your address) is listed correctly in the catalog (or on the entries that you receive in the mail)
Hints on the Dog's Attire
1. Metal or nylon choke chains are OK. These should fit properly and not hang half way down the chest.
2. Leather buckle (flat or rolled) are OK.
3. Nylon or fabric buckle collars are OK. Some dissent on colors: solid and subdued colors are your best bet.
4. Quick snap, martingale, prong collars are not allowed. Bright colors dismissed by some judges. Prints, studded collars, decorated collars, not allowed.
5. No tags on collars.
6. A four to six foot fabric or leather leash is best. Again, avoid loud, decorated, or studded leashes.
Tips for dealing with Stress at the show
Margie English (1-9) & Anne Cotton (10)
1. Keep the dog crated in the quietest spot you can find. Park your crate in a corner or against a wall, and cover it so your pup feels safe enough to sleep.
2. Don't keep your dog on the show site any longer than necessary. If you're finished at noon, go back to the motel and watch the Young and the Restless together.
3. Don't share a motel room with someone else who has dogs. Your pup has enough to do over the weekend without figuring out a new pack order.
4. Spend the first evening in the motel watching TV with your pup. Don't just park him there and go out partying. You can party later after he settles in. Actually, dogs like it best if you snuggle up and watch TV with them every night, but, HEY, they're dogs and we're people. The first-night rule is especially important if lots of other exhibitors are staying at your motel. This means lots of coming and going and (sorry to say) lots of barking. You're pup will feel a lot better about the whole thing if you're there to tell him to shut up and watch TV with him.
5. Never invite people to your motel room to party. Your dog needs the peace and quiet. Encourage other people to play host, and take them a box of wine to reinforce their hospitality.
6. If your pup is prone to any kind of digestive upset, bring water from home, or put him on bottled spring water before you leave so you can buy more while traveling. Bring Immodium just in case.
7. Bring some familiar toys from home for the motel room. It makes your pup feel at home and keeps him from shredding your luggage.
8. Unless you have a seasoned campaigner, don't try to do much training over the weekend. Showing is about as much as your pup can take, so get him trained before you go and let him rest between his appearances.
9. If your pup sleeps in a crate at home, bring the crate for him to sleep in at the show and in your motel room. If he usually sleeps on your bed at home, get a room with a big enough bed for the two of you and don't introduce any distractions.
10. Give your pup plenty of time to sleep. IMO, the way dog shows take most of the stuffing out of dogs is by keeping the poor buggers awake all day. On top of that, the different evironment and disruption of your pup's regular routine will make him want to sleep even more than he does at home. So let him sleep as much as he wants to. And get enough sleep yourself!
11. If you have a sleep-on-the-bed dog, BEFORE you leave home, put a sheet on top of the covers and let the dog sleep on top of it for a night or two. Then take THAT sheet, unlaundered, with you; put it on top of the motel bed. First, the dog will have its familiar smell to lie on; and second, the motel people will adore you for not getting hair all over everything including the bedspread.
(And, as I can hear Cindy reminding, take plenty of baggies for pickups!)
Making Treats
Note: 4, 5 and 7 are essentially variations on the same recipe.
1. Beef liver, parbroiled and then baked to dry out.
2. Hot dogs:
o turkey or chicken hot dogs dry out better than beef ones do
o cut lengthwise in fours and slice for very small pieces to spit at dog
o slice a hot dog very thinly (20-30 "coins"), lay on paper towels, sprinkle with garlic powder (NOT garlic salt), then put them in the microwave on high for 6-9 minutes, depending on the desired crunchiness
3. Assorted:
o Kielbasa
o string cheese
o plain Cheerios
o popcorn (unsalted, unbuttered)
o Liv-A-Snaps (they are a bit crunchy, but they break into tiny pieces)
o Freeze-dried liver (commercially available: expensive but long-lasting; easy to break up into tiny chunks)
4. biscuits:
1 pound raw liver
1 cup corn meal
1 cup whole wheat flour
tons of powdered garlic
Puree the liver in the blender and mix the rest together into sticky gooey mess. Spread onto well greased baking pan and bake at 300 degrees until it is fairly dried out, but not browned. If you want, you can poke the bubbles that form on the top to keep them from separating from the rest, but it works fine if you don't.
Allow to cool and cut into 1/2 inch squares. I store most of mine in the freezer though a small bag, if used frequently can be kept in the fridge. Caution: it goes bad really fast , i.e. starts growing cultures of it's own, so only keep small amounts unfrozen.
5. liver cubes Liquify (ugh) 1 lb. liver, for this I use chicken livers in a tub, and use all the liquid that comes with it. If you use vacuum packed frozed beef liver, add a tad of water. Add 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup corn meal, 1 tsp. onion powder, 1 tsp. minced garlic, 1 tsp. garlic salt, and 1 T. oregano. Spread on cookie sheet greased with oil (consistancy when spreading on sheet should be that of peanut butter. Cook at 350 degrees for 12-15 min. I like to make them 1/2 to 3/4 in thick. Cut up and freeze away. They do not take well to standing a room temp. for long periods of time!! So, defrost only what you will use in about 2 days.
6. Liver Buy the beef liver, place on a real plate (not plastic) in the micro- wave, while still frozen, and cook till brown. This makes very rubbery liver which is good in the breed ring, and good if you want the dog to knibble on the liver while teaching for example, stand from a sit. If you use this method, you can put it in your pocket and it is no longer moist. Oh yes, don't forget to sprinkle garlic on it before "nuking" it.
7. This was published in Front & Finish. Haven't met a dog that doesn't like them.
1 lb liver (beef or pork)
1 C Corn meal
2 eggs
1/2 C flour
2-3 tea garlic powder
2 Tbl oil
Blend in food processor until smooth. Bake in greased 9 x 13 pan 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Cut into squares. Keep in frig. or can be frozen.
Be forewarned....the house will smell when baking.
8. Liver pieces
Take a pound of beef liver. Put it in water on the stove, add 1/4 tsp of garlic powder. Boil for 1/2 hour. Then remove , put on a cookie sheet or something similar and bake at low heat for another hour or so. (200 F) After that, cut up into small pieces. Smells like h*** when you make it but keeps wonderfully in the freezer, and the doggies love it. The broth from the boiling can also be used on dry food as an extra treat.
Acronym List
1. All titles are suffixes to dog's registered name if not otherwise noted.
2. Acronyms listed alphabetically.
Obedience titles - AKC & CKC
Companion Dog
Companion Dog Excellent
Obedience Trial Champion (prefix)
Tracking Dog
Tracking Dog Excellent
Utility Dog
Utility Dog title with a Tracking Dog title
Utility Dog title with a Tracking Dog Excellent title
Utility Dog Excellent
NOTE 1: The AKC OTCh is much different and more difficult to achieve than the Canadian (CKC) OTCh. The CKC OTCh is equivalent to getting a Canadian UD. In other words the CKC UD = CKC OTCh.
NOTE 2: UDX is a new AKC title for dogs that qualify at both Open and Utility on the same day at ten different shows. Must already have UD. Combined titles (UDX + TD/TDX) not yet announced.
NOTE 3: AKC is coming out with the VTD (variable tracking dog) title, where the track goes across concrete or asphalt as well as grass and dirt. Not yet verified/announced.
Obedience titles - UKC (all prefixes)
Companion Dog
Companion Dog Excellence
Utility Dog
NOTE: The UKC does not recognize any title from any other organization. You could have an AKC OTCH on your dog, but he would still have to start in Novice in UKC. The one thing they do a little differently is that if the dog has earned a corresponding title from another organization, he would have to show in the B class in UKC.
Conversational acronyms
Broad Jump or Bar Jump (context)
By The Way
Directed Jumping
Drop on Recall
Figure Eight
Frequently Asked Questions
In My Honest Opinion
On The Other Hand
Retrieve on the Flat
Rolling on the Floor (amusement)
Retrieve over the High Jump
Pattern training
Break the exercise up into small steps and start with the last one first until the dog has it down well. Then back up to the previous step, teach the dog that. At this point, when you have him do the new step, you can add the last step that he knows well and in this fashion work your way backwards through the whole exercise. It works nicely because the dog already knows how to do the next step, so it keeps his confidence and the positive tone up. This is most frequently used as a way to polish (and proof) an exercise the dog already knows, as opposed to teaching the exercise from scratch.
Operant conditioning
Motivational training
Behavior shaping
Touchsticks and clickers
Favorite suppliers
ACME Machine Co.
2901 Freemont Ave. South
Minneapolis, MN 55408
tel: 1-800-332-2472, 612-827-3571
fax: 612-827-8905
obedience supplies, including a dumbbell with a nylabone dowel
Capital Leashes
Jerusha Gurvin
6001 Johnson Ave.
Bethesda, MD
301 530 2164
custom made leather leashes and collars
For The Right Scent
Joe Feist
2581 Crafton N.W.
North Canton, Ohio 44720
(216) 494-2301
custom made dumbbells and scent articles
Max 200
Dog Obedience Equipment Co.
114 Beach Street Building 5
Rockaway, NJ 07866
tel: 1-800-HI-MAX-200, 1-800-446-2920, 1-201-983-0450
fax: 201-983-1368
email: [email protected]
leashes, collars, dumbells, jumps, specialized training equipment
The Patch Place
2010 E. Wren St.
Peoria Heights, IL 61614
for patches with titles
Paul's Obedience Shop
P.O. Box 767
Hanover, PA. 17331
24 hr. fax 717-630-8072
high quality obedience supplies
The Pet Supply House
593 Main St. E.
Milton, Ont. L9T 3J2
1-800-268-3716 (canadian only?)
Ray Allen Manufacturing Co. Inc.
P.O. Box 9281
Colorado Springs, CO 80932-0281
tel: 1-800-444-0404 orders only
1-719-633-0404 cust. service
working dog supplies (schutzhund, obed. ring, etc.)
Sylvia's Tack Box
4333 11th St A
Moline IL 61265
tel: 309-797-9060
Obedience items for small dogs: utility gloves XX Small, Micro Prong collar (for all sizes), etc.
Sunshine Books
Clickers in 5-paks, Karen Pryor's books, Pryor/Willkins training videos
Direct Book Service
Dog books of ALL kinds (best selection) plus clickers
Soft Sided Crates
Lightweight crates for well behaved dogs.
Cabana Crates
Lightweight crates for well behaved dogs.
EEZI Crate
Lightweight crates for well behaved dogs.
Portable Pet Enclosure
Lightweight crates for well behaved dogs.
Agility Dog Assoc. of Canada (ADAC)
c/o Merri Lynn Gordon
R.R. #1,
Midland, Ont. L4R 4K3 American Dog Owners Association
1654 Columbia Turnpike
Castleton, New York 12033
bimonthly newsletter; works to promote responsible dog-ownership and fights anti-dog legislation
100 E.Kilgore Road
Kalamazoo, MI 49001
6 issues per year - UKC magazine, Jan. issue contains Rules for year.
Front and Finish
P.O. Box 333
Galesburg, IL 61402-0333
General obedience related information, newspaper format.
National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors (NADOI, Inc.)
Peggy Prudden, sec'y
P.O. Box 432
Landing, NJ 07850
Off Lead
204 Lewis Street
Canastota, NY 13032
315 697 2749
104501,[email protected]
$23.00 (US) per year 12 issues
AKC Gazette
5580 Centerview Dr., Suite 200
Raleigh, NC 27606-0643
tel: 1-919-233-9780
Offical AKC publication, lists all AKC-approved shows & contains variety of articles
Comments from Terri Clingerman, Ruth Ginzberg, Nancy Little, Denise Mclean, Bobbi Newman, Kathleen Weaver.
AKC Videos
• 200?
• A Day with An Obedience Judge
These videos are out of date and rather expensive. (rg)
• Dogs in Canada
Order from
43 Railside Rd.,
Don Mills, Ont. M3A 3L9
Arnold, Terri
• Attention and Handling - The Birth of Teamwork
Addresses attention. This video tape includes an audio cassette along with the video.
This tape can be ordered through J&J and other catalogues.
DeMello, Janice *The Around the Clock Method of Scent Discrimination *Massage Ear-Pinch Method of Force Retrieve *Go Outs - The Concept of Straight *The Eight Week course on Attention Each tape order includes a handout or booklet that summarizes the method. Each tape is very throrough in its description of the progression and addresses many of the common problems associated with teaching the exercise. I highly recommend all of these tapes. (ngl)
(About Around the Clock Scent Discrimination) Really good and very useful. But she does go into excruciating detail and I found I fast forwarded through the middle section. I can still remember her saying over and over "Reheat rescent recheese!" But it worked very well for my dog and I recommend it. It's a nice alternative to the traditional tie down method. (tc)
(About 8 Week Attention Course) Really good. I used her method and it worked well for my dog. The only thing I didn't like was I wished she used untrained dogs so she could show a correction. She would say "if Stride looked away I would do XXX." Well, Stride was great and never did look away! (tc)
• The Eight Week course on Attention (includes the booklet) ($60)
• The Around the Clock Method of Scent Discrimination ($54)
(Reviewed by Heather Nadelman in October '94 F&F)
• Massage Ear-Pinch Method of Force Retrieve ($54)
• Go Outs - The Concept of Straight ($54)
• Are You Really Ready ($50)
(Reviewed by Nancy Gagliardi Little in October '94 of F&F)
For the fastest delivery, send a money order to (the address was checked and confirmed in June of 1995):
Janice DeMello
Hob Nob Productions
PO Box 458
Alexandria, IN 46001
Elliot, Rachel Page
• DogSteps
A fabulous video that visually shows correct and incorrect structure in various breeds. (ngl)
Handler, Barbara
• Successful Obedience Handling: The NEW Best Foot Forward
This video tape is a video version of the book. The tape shows matches, do's and don'ts, talks about entering your dog, what to expect, etc. (bn)
Pryor, Karen
• Click!
• Shaping
With Gary Wilkes. "Click!" explores the use of the clicker as a secondary reinforcer and how operant conditioning can be applied to dog training. This was filmed at actual seminars. (kw)
"Shaping" goes in depth on how to use shaping and secondary reinforcers in dog training. You should view this one first, in my opinion, even though it is second in the series. (kw)
Available from Publishers's Book Distributors at 800-47-CLICK.
Silverton, Annemarie
• Puppy Training
• Novice
• Open
• Utility
• Problem Solving in Open
• Problem Solving in Utility
• Problem Solving in Heeling - Focused Attention
These tapes are well made with an abundance of information. It would be handy if there were a handout with the summary, since the amount of information is almost overwhelming. One other drawback with this series is that as the tapes progress, they make many references to previous tapes. So if a person wanted to buy only the Focused Attention tape, there is alot of reference to the Novice and Puppy tapes. (ngl) They're full of good information, but you have to watch them very carefully. Sometimes she will show a dog doing an exercise or learning something but necessarily explain everything. The Puppy and Novice tapes go over all the foundation work. You really need to watch those before the Open and Utilty. Also, the Open and Utility tapes are shorter than Puppy and Novice and you might feel like you didn't get your money's work. I really liked the Focused Attention one since lack of attention causes problems in everything! (tc)
These tapes can be ordered through J&J and quite possibly other places like R.C. Steele and other book/video catalogs.
Volhard & Fisher
• The Volhard & Fisher Training Video Tapes
These tapes use HIGHLY trained dogs to demonstrate the exercises, which isn't necessarily any more useful than reading a description of them in a book. (rg)
Wilkes, Gary
• Touch!
This goes with the two Pryor tapes. This he produced on his own. It explores how to use the Touch Stick in dog training, and is applied to exercises in Obedience and Agility on the tape. For example, he shows how to use the touch stick to teach the go-out. (kw)
Available from Publishers's Book Distributors at 800-47-CLICK.
Arnold, Terri, with Ann Paul. Theory, Footwork, Handling and Attention; Novice; Open and Utility. Order from Steppin' Up, 186 Country Road, Freetown, MA 02717, 508-763-4843 ($79.95 for three volume set or $29.95 per book plus $6 S&H per order, MA residents add 5% sales tax; non-US orders must be in US funds, and $12 S&H).
Terri Arnold has written a series of three books (with help from Ann Paul) that are: "A positive and precise approach for the competitive trainer of the 90's. Clear, concise, and easy to understand. Complete step-by-step detail of each obedience exercise with beautiful photographs to enhance your learning."
Baer, Ted. Communicating with Your Dog. Barron's, New York. 1989. ISBN 0-8120-4203-4 (oversized paperback).
Heavily illustrated with color photos. A sensible approach to laying a good foundation for extensive obedience training (even if you don't take the dog any further than what's outlined in here). Simple instructions for teaching a 20-word language, with emphasis on understanding and building on previous work.
Barwig, Susan, and Stewart Hilliard. Schutzhund: Theory and Training Methods. Howell Books, 1991. ISBN 0-87605-731-8.
Bauman, Diane L. Beyond Basic Dog Training. New, updated edition. Howell Book House (Maxwell Maxmillan International), New York. 1991. ISBN: 0-87605-410-6.
Emphasis is on training a "thinking" dog rather than a pattern-trained dog. Extensive manual on obedience training. Communication and understanding are discussed. A well known and often recommended book
. Bauman, Diane L. Beyond Basic Training - The Workbook. Alpine Publications, 1994. ISBN 0-931866-74-X
Includes puzzles, questions and answers, games, exercises to deal with nervousness in the ring, charts and tables to track your dog's progress, record training progress and problems. Its intended use is one copy for each dog you train.
Benjamin, Carol Lea. Mother Knows Best: The Natural Way To Train Your Dog. Howell Book House, New York. 1985. ISBN 0-87605-666-4. $15.95 hardcover.
Most training methods rely on the foundational relationship between an owner and his dog, and this book profides some ideas on establishing that relationship while the puppy is still young. This book is probably the most widely recommended for puppy owners.
Benjamin, Carol and Capt. Haggerty. Dog Tricks.
This book has more tricks in it than you will even dream of teaching your dog, complete with descriptions of how to teach each trick. In the back they have a listing by breed of tricks that are especially suitable or unsuitable for that breed.
Brahms, Ann and Paul. Puppy Ed.. Ballantine Books. 1981. ISBN:0-345-33512-0 (paperback).
Describes how to start teaching your puppy commands. This is a thoughtful book that discusses in practical detail what you can and cannot expect to do with your puppy in training it. They stress that by expecting and improving good behavior from the start, later, more formal training goes much easier.
Burnham, Patricia Gail. Playtraining Your Dog. St. Martin's Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010. c1980. ISBN 0-312-61691-0 (trade paperback).
An excellent book that describes how to use play to motivate your dog through obedience training. She focuses on how to teach each exercise in the AKC Novice, Open, and Utility classes. Her philosophy, though, lends itself to any type of training. Well written and informative. For you greyhound lovers, all her dogs and inside photos are of greyhounds.
Button, Lue. Practical Scent Dog Training. Alpine Publications, Inc. 214 19th St. SE, Loveland, CO 80537. 1990. ISBN: 0-931866-47-2.
A step-by-step practical training guide for air scent, evidence search, disaster search and the AKC tracking test. Starts with young puppies. Well illustrated and methods extensively tested at Los Alamos' Mountain Canine Corps.
Cecil, Barbara and Gerianne Darnell. Competitive Obedience Training for the Small Dog. T9E Publishing, R.R.#1, Box 176, 10092 240th Street, Council Bluffs, IA 51503 ($20/book, includes postage, IA residents add 5% sales tax)
From the flyer: "COMPETITIVE OBEDIENCE TRAINING FOR THE SMALL DOG guides you, in over 200 pages, from puppy socialization through Utility in an easy-to-follow progression of inducive training. This new book - the only one of its kind - is a self-help manual and competitive edge for every small-dog owner unwilling to use traditional big-dog training techniques. This book is for every small-dog owner training in obedience; for the trainer working with a *soft* dog of any size; and for every trainer eager to utilize the *why* and *how* of inducive training."
Colflesh, Linda. Making Friends: Training your Dog Positively, Illustrated by Deb Mickey ISBN 0-87605-687-7 Howell Book House, copyright 1990.
A readable book that applies to all aspects of everyday training and building a good relationship with your dog. Her method maximizes using your dog's intelligence and your good relationship with your pet and minimizes the use of force. It takes things all the way from housebreaking the new dog through the basic obedience exercises and includes chapters on aggression and moving on to off-leash work with your dog.
Dunbar, Ian, DVM. How to Teach a New Dog Old Tricks (Manual for the Sirius PUppy Training Program). James and Kenneth Pubs., Oakland. 1991.
Fisher, John. Dogwise.
The author is a well known UK behaviourist and ex-service dog trainer. Dogwise follows the selection of a eight month rescue GSD and his Police Dog handler through a 12 week course using only positive reinforcement and the final exaimination qualifying the dog to work with the London Met to the HMSO. The focus is on the training methods more than on police work.
Fogle, Bruce. The Dog's Mind.
This appears to be the best, most comprehensive book summarizing current research on canine psychology and behavior. You won't find much in the way of how-to instructions, but you will find alot of hard facts on every aspect of the canine mind and personality. This book is well-written and very readable even by the layperson.
Fraser, J. & A. Ammen, Dual Ring Dog (Howell).
Tips for dogs shown both in conformation and in obedience. Some good hints, particularly from Ammen.
Handler, Barbara. Successful Obedience Handling: The NEW Best Foot Forward. Alpine publications.
A guide to showing and handling in the obedience rings. It covers how to enter shows, what to do on the day, and how to avoid handling errors. Updated and revised from _Best Foot Forward_. A must for anyone participating in AKC obedience trials.
Knott, T. & D.O. Cooper, The Complete Book of Dog Training. (Howell).
Covers training from puppy kindergarten through utility. Good hints and illustrations.
Koehler, William. The Koehler Method of Dog Training. Howell Books.
Koehler's methods are considered unusually harsh and counterproductive by some modern trainers. On the other hand, his methods do have a history of success with dogs that have "hard" temperaments. Modern-day competitive obedience dogs are not trained with his methods anymore.
Monks of New Skete, The. The Art of Raising a Puppy. Little, Brown and Company (1991). ISBN: 0-316-57839-8 (hardback).
The monks of New Skete have put together an excellent book that discusses puppy development and the things that should be done at the appropriate stages and why. First they follow a newborn litter through its various stages of development and at each stage they discuss what is happening. They discuss testing puppies' temperaments and what you want to look for, under which circumstances. They discuss briefly dog breeds, and how to find reputable breeders. They then launch into a series of useful chapters: housebreaking, preliminary obedience, laying the foundations of training, understanding (reading) your dog, how to become the pack leader, basic training, discipline, and general care. A good bibliography is provided at the back.
Morsell, Curt. Training Your Dog to Win Obedience Titles (Howell).
More inspirational than instructional.
Olson, Bjorn. Training Your Dog Step by Step.
Pryor, Karen. Don't Shoot the Dog: The New Art of Teaching and Training by Karen Pryor. Bantam, New York. 1985. c1984.
She presents different behavioralistic techniques for dealing with several example situations (i.e. "Dog barks all night", "Roommate leaves dirty laundry all over apartment," "Bus driver is rude," etc.) This would NOT be a good book for someone who wanted to teach their dog to sit and come, but it discusses how the trainer's actions "shape" the trainee's responses. Definitely a must-read for people who are interested in "inducive" training, and should be thought-provoking for any trainer who is thinking about training on a higher level than "When the dog does this, give him a good collar correction"--but experienced dog trainers will find a lot to quibble about in what she says.
Pryor, Karen. Lads Before the Wind, Diary of a Dolphin Trainer.
This is the story of how Karen Pryor got into operant conditioning. It tells the story of how she trained animals, not just dolphins, using the principals explored in _Don't Shoot the Dog_. $12.95
Rogerson, John. Your Dog, its Development, Behaviour and Training. Also, Training Your Dog.
Rose, Tom and Gary Patterson. Training the Competitive Working Dog. 1985 Giblaut Publishing Company 3333 S. Bannock, Suite 950, Englewood,CO 80110.
The Rose book is getting obsolete, particularly the obedience section (Tom now uses much more motivational techniques) but here is still alot of good theory and practical exercises.
Strickland, Winifred G. Expert Obedience Training for Dogs. Third revised edition. Howell Book House (Macmillan Publishing Company), New York. 1987. ISBN: 0-02-615000-X (hardback).
Strickland is a well known dog trainer. Covers all aspects of training and competition including the formal training for AKC obedience trials (novice, open, utility, tracking). Includes some general care (health and feeding) tips. Author has also written
Obedience Class Instruction for Dogs
Tucker, Michael. Dog Training Step by Step.
Tucker is an ex GDB instructor and his books are easy to read and follow. His others are Dog Training Made Easy, Solving Your Dog Problems.
Volhard. Training Your Dog Step by Step.
Weston, David. Dog Training: The Gentle Method.
Zink, M. Christine, DVM, PHD. Peak Performance: Coaching the Canine Athlete. Howell Book House, 1992. ISBN: 0-87605-757-1. Book available from the author at 1907 Eastridge Rd., Timonium, MD 21093.
If you are doing serious obedience competition with your dog, you need to understand how to keep him in good shape for the work. This eminently readable book goes over canine physiology, both internal and structural. She covers how to keep your dog in general good shape, discusses some conditioning strategies, and finally details a number of possible impediments to conditioning your dog, including: genetic and traumatic joint problems and lameness, the effects of medication on your dog, and moreover lists all the things you need to consider when trying to keep your dog fit and healthy.

Should you have a concern regarding the health of your Beagle(s), you should contact your veterinarian. All information on this site is presented solely for educational and informational purposes and should not, at any time, be considered a substitute for seeking or receiving veterinary care for your Beagle(s).