Published in the BCSA Borderlines Magazine
The first obedience trial was created in 1933 by Helen Whitehouse Walker of New York. By 1936, the AKC had adopted standards for obedience trials and trials were being held across the United States.
For many years, competition obedience was the only “dog sport” available to people. As a result, it developed a strong following and providing an outlet for dog people to do advanced training, and compete outside the conformation ring. Today, there are many different obedience levels and classes you can enter. Obedience classes range from heeling patterns, recalls, and stays to more advanced classes where dogs, are retrieving, jumping or performing by signal commands only.
Obedience is a test of how well a dog is trained. In order to qualify a dog must accomplish a number of exercises. Competitive obedience is far more difficult than typical household training. When the handler issues any of a number of commands in a competition, the dog must immediately perform the skill without hesitation. Delay or stopping to look at something or someone might result in point deductions. Indeed, Competition Obedience is a fascinating sport. The bond built between the handler and their dog is wonderful to watch. The best thing about obedience is that anyone of any age and with a dog of any breed can train and participate.
Start puppies young. Puppies as young as 6- 8 weeks old are like a sponge and ready to absorb skills and behaviors. Most young puppies also have not formed many if any bad habits. While puppies make great students, a dog of any age may be trained and will enjoy training and learning.
Why Do Obedience?
By nature, dogs are pack animals and will look to you for guidance. Providing your dog with structure and boundaries, will help your dog understand how to abide by the rules in your household and to become a companion you will really enjoy.
Obedience training doesn’t solve all behavior problems, but it is the foundation for solving just about any problem. Training opens up a line of communication between you and your dog. Effective communication is necessary to teach your dog how you want him to behave. You can teach your dog anything from sit, come, and walk on a loose leash to heeling at your side and competing at dog shows.
Aside from allowing your dog to live happily as a companion, training helps bring out the best in your dog. Through training, your dog will become more self-confident and able to cope with the everyday stresses of life. While you work with your dog, you will also build rapport between your dog and you. The increased rapport will help establish a good foundation for training in most competition venues such as agility, obedience, and rally. Training your dog increases the possibility that he will be successful in whatever venue you decide to pursue!
THE BENEFITS OF AN OBEDIENCE TRAINED DOG:
▪ He sits when told to and will not jump on guests.
▪ He stays so he will not bolt out the door when it is opened.
▪ He knows you are in charge and will not try to take over the house.
▪ He comes when called and does not bark incessantly.
▪ He does not pull on the leash and walks with you!
▪ He only chews on items that are his.
▪ He will not chase other dogs, cats, cars or people.
▪ He will be able to successfully participate in competitive events such as obedience, agility, rally, and other activities!
Obedience training is fun and rewarding for you and your dog. It can and will enrich your relationship with your dog and make living together more enjoyable. A well-trained dog is more confident and as a result is a pleasure to be around.