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All about Obedience

Competitive Obedience demonstrates dogs’ willingness, capabilities and enjoyment of working with and very closely with humans. In CKC obedience trials, the dog and handler complete a series of set exercises and attempt to score 170 or higher out of a possible 200. Your dog needs a CKC registration number to enter trials but can compete if spayed or neutered.


  • Heel on and off-leash
  • Stand for examination by the judge
  • Complete a recall
  • Sit and stay for one minute with the handler at a distance, and
  • Down and stay for three minutes with the handler at a distance

Open (all completed off-leash)

  • Heel
  • Drop on recall
  • Retrieve a dumbbell-on the flat and over a high jump
  • Broad jump
  • Sit and stay for three minutes (with the handler out of sight)
  • Down and stay for five minutes (with the handler out of sight)


  • Seek back (dog finds and returns a glove dropped by the handler during heeling)
  • Scent discrimination (dog finds from among 15 leather, wood and metal articles one touched by the handler
  • Signal exercise (dog must heel, stand, stay, drop-sit and come from 40 feet)
  • Directed jumping (dog must run out from handler approximately 40 feet, stop when told and return to owner by jumping over either a high jump or a bar jump)
  • Long Stand in a group (three minutes minimum while the judge examines all the dogs)

Upon passing novice, open or utility tests three times, the dogs are eligible to have the titles Companion Dog (CD) for Novice, Companion Dog Excellent (CDX) for Open, or Utility Dog (UD) for Utility added to their names. Any dogs that have achieved each of the titles are then eligible to have the title Obedience Trial Champion (OTCH) added before their names.

2002 NEWS: As of January 1st, 2002 there will be two more obedience titles for people and their dogs to work towards. They are the Obedience Trial Champion Excellent and the Master Obedience Trial Champion Excellent.

Obedience Trial Champion Excellent (O.T.Ch.X.)
 – Points for this title may only be accumulated after the completion of an O.T.Ch title. The dog and handler team must qualify in both the Open and Utility Class in the same trial on 5 different occasions after the completion of a Utility Title.

Master Obedience Trial Champion Excellent (M.O.T.Ch.X.)
 – Points for this title may only be accumulated after the completion of a O.T.Ch Excellent Title. A minimum score of 190 in Open or 185 in Utility is needed to obtain points and does not require a minimum number of dogs to be entered in a class. One High In Class placement is required in either Open or Utility Class but no minimum score is required. A total of 40 is required with a minimum of 15 points accumulated in each Open and Utility classes with the remaining 10 points to be obtained from either class.

Point System for the O.T.Ch.X. and the M.O.T.Ch.X. titles

Open Utility
190 to 191.5 – 1 point 185 to 187.5 – 1 point
192 to 193.5 – 2 points 188 to 190.5 – 2 points
194 to 195.5 – 3 points 191 to 193.5 – 3 points
196 to 197.5 – 4 points 194 to 195.5 – 4 points
198 to 199.5 – 5 points 196 to 198.5 – 5 points
200 – 6 points 199 to 200 – 6 points

2003 NEWS:
As of January 1st, 2003 there are 3 new classes and 3 new titles available.

Pre-Novice – is not scored out of 200 but rather the team earns a pass or fail. 3 passes earns the title PCD. The exercises are 1.)heel on leash 2.) circle left and circle right 3.) sit for examination 4.) recall (15 feet) 5.) Group Sit stay (handler 15 feet away for 30 seconds).

Companion Dog Intermediate – scored out of 200. 3 passes earnes the title CDI. The exercises are 1.) heel free and figure 8 2.) Stand for examination (off lead with a complete exam as in utility) 3.) Recall with the dog holding a dumbell 4.) Down from heel followed by a recall 5.) broad jump (handler is 8 feet past the jump rather than beside it as in open) 6.) Honour (down stay while another dog does the heel free and figure 8)

Novice C – same exercises as Novice A & B. Dogs can compete in novice C indefinately but are not eligable for High in Trial.

Grand Master Obedience Trial Champion – A dog must qualify in both open and utility in the same trial 10 times with a score of 195 or higher in both classes under a minimum of 10 different judges.

Obedience classes are the best way to get started in competitive obedience and watching obedience trials helps too. If you’re interested in pursuing this with your golden, get in touch with your local Golden Retriever Club, Kennel Club, or Obedience Club.

Obedience Trials – Includes outline of the various obedience trials, and activities involved in each. Composed by Norma Bennett Woolf.

AKC Obedience – From the American Kennel Club

Obedience Trial FAQ – Frequently Asked Obedience Trial Questions and their Answers – by Cindy Tittle Moore – contains full AKC obedience trial point breakdowns, exercises to be preformed for each obedience level, Obedience Title short forms, and obedience resources.


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