The Novice level is divided into two classes – “A and B”. Novice A is for exhibitors who have never put an obedience title on a dog, while Novice B is where exhibitors with prior obedience experience show. Although each class is placed separately, the exercises and requirements are the same. Novice level classes have six exercises worth a combined total of 200 points. A qualifying score is a minimum of 170 points earned, and at least half of the points in each exercise are earned. A brief description of each exercise is below:
Heel on Leash and Figure Eight – 40 points – These two exercises are scored together. Part 1 requires the dog to heel on leash following a pre-set pattern that will be called out by the judge. Patterns vary, but usually simple “T” or “L” shapes will be used. The dog must remain in heel position (heel position is defined from the front of the dog’s shoulder to the tip of their nose at the handlers left leg) when the handler changes pace from normal to slow and fast paces, performing left, right, and about turns, and performing several stops. The dog must sit automatically when the handler stops. The “figure eight” requires the team to circle two people (called “posts”) in a figure eight pattern, including two stops commanded by the judge.
Stand for Examination – 30 points – The handler asks their dog to stand – it can be informal or a full formal conformation stand. The handler may assist their dog in standing and in placing the legs. They then return to heel position and tell the dog to stay and walk out 6’ and turn and face the dog. The judge touches the dog on the top of the head, withers and croup. When finished, he judge steps back and instructs the handler to return to their dog. The dog should not move from the stand stay, point deductions could occur if they would.
Heel Free – 40 points – This exercise is the same as part one of the heel on leash, but the dog is off leash.
Recall – 30 points – When commanded by the judge, the handler leaves the dog, walks across the ring, turns to face the dog. On command calls the dog to front (to sit in front of the handler). The handler then
“finishes” the dog – a finish is where the dog returns to the “left side sit” by either swinging to the left into position, or by going around the handler’s right and sitting on the left.
Long Sit – 30 points – for the Novice sit, the dogs that were exhibited in the class are brought into the ring in a single file line. They are positioned 3 feet apart in anticipation of doing the 1 minute sit. Leashes and armbands are placed behind the dogs. The judge will ask if handlers are ready. Then handlers will be told to sit their dogs. When all are sitting, the handlers will be told to leave their dogs. After commanding their dogs to stay, the handlers then cross the ring, turn and wait for one minute. The judge will then say “back to your dogs” and the handlers must then return to their dogs.
Long Down – 30 points – Similar to the long sit, the long down requires the group of dogs to remain in the down position for 3 minutes.
The Novice title is represented by a suffix “CD” at the end of the dogs name (Companion Dog) representing a dog who has achieved a qualifying score in either Novice A or Novice B three different times. As noted above, a qualifying score is a minimum 170 achieved by earning at least half of the possible points in each exercise.
TIPS FOR THE FIRST-TIME EXHIBITOR