Most AKC clubs conduct a variety of classes instructed by trainers who have won awards in obedience competition with their own dogs, and they make sure to stay up-to-date on the latest training techniques. They have experience training all breeds of dogs and can help solve behavior problems. Most clubs accept all types of dogs, mixed breeds and purebreds, and prospective students are usually welcome to observe a class before signing up for a training course.

When you attend classes with your dog, instructors will show you how to teach it and will expect you to practice at home. The younger the dog, the shorter the practice sessions should be. For the best results, both you and your dog should enjoy frequent short sessions, combined with some play and rewards.

To find AKC clubs in your area that offer training, please visit: http://www.akc.org/events/training-clubs/

Tips For The First-time Exhibitor
  • Register your dog with the AKC.
  • Be sure your dog is current on all inoculations and health check-ups.
  • Visit the AKC website to find a local obedience club.
  • Attend obedience classes with your dog.
  • Become familiar with the AKC Obedience Regulations.
  • Attend obedience trials, and become familiar with the ring procedures.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions of experienced exhibitors.
Tips For The First-time Spectator
  • However tempting, do not pet a dog without first asking for and receiving permission.
  • Many obedience trials have vendors and an information booth with helpful information for the general public. Browse, gather information and ask questions.
  • Arrive early, and bring a chair! Obedience often starts very early in the morning.
  • If you bring a baby stroller to an obedience trial, be careful not to run over any dog’s tail. Be sure your child respects the dogs and does not grab or poke at them. Due to space requirements some trials do not allow baby strollers.
Purpose Of AKC Obedience Trials
Obedience trials showcase dogs that have been trained and conditioned to behave well at home, in public places, and in the presence of other dogs. AKC Obedience trials allow exhibitors and their dogs to enjoy companionship and competition as they proudly earn AKC titles.

Consider taking obedience training with your dog to a whole new level. Enter the world of AKC obedience and help your dog realize its full potential by competing in obedience trials and earning obedience competition titles. AKC Obedience Trials demonstrate the usefulness of the dog as a companion to man. Many GSP’s and their owners have found fun and satisfaction in the teamwork, training, and the competition in the obedience arena. Many local clubs including some local GSP clubs will host obedience trials. Each year in May the National GSP club also offers all the obedience classes to showcase your GSP!

Obedience is the oldest event and has many levels to challenge the novice and expert alike. Obedience features three major levels of competition that will lead to titles, and several other non-regular classes that are well defined.

The advanced titles are the UDX and OTCH. For the UDX, the team must have the UD title. The team must qualify in both Open B and Utility B on the same day, and do it 10 different times to earn the UDX.

The Obedience Title Champion title is competitive. Competing dogs must have the UD title, and must compete in Open B and Utility B. Dogs earn points by placing in each of these classes and the number of points earned is dependent on the number of dogs entered in the competition. For example, in Open B, if there were 21-25 dogs competing, a first place would be worth 10 OTCH points, a second would be worth only 3 OTCH points, and a third would be worth 1 OTCH point.

Dogs must earn 100 OTCH points, achieve a first place in Utility B, achieve a first place in Open B, and achieve another first place in either of the classes to become an Obedience Title Champion. Note that all three First place finishes must be under different judges, and only one can be earned at a specialty. There are minimum entry requirements also. This requirement is more difficult when you consider that dogs who continue to compete after they have earned their OTCH (for national point placements, or because they are still trying to earn a UDX title) are in the same class as the OTCH hopefuls. Thus, dogs without championships actually have to compete head to head with obedience champions to earn their points and placements.

Obedience demonstrates the ultimate in biddability and trainability in the GSP. It can be loads of fun and you get the opportunity to join an elite circle of GSP owners. The small group of successful competitors in this space often forms long-term friendships across the country. Give it a try! We have several active competitors in the club. You’ll have a blast!

Eleanor Campbell-Swank
260 Mathers Road
Ambler, Pa 19002