Competitive obedience is exactly as you would imagine, obedient and well trained dogs having their abilities tested.
Once you have started your training with your dog you may decide to do the Good Citizen Test. You then may also decide to try your hand at Competitive Obedience training and, in due course, test your progress by entering one of the many shows held in Dublin and throughout Ireland.
Dog Clubs are usually very sociable places. You will meet lots of like minded people who meet on a regular basis to train their dogs with the aim of entering competitive obedience shows.
There are six levels in competitive obedience for dogs to progress through. When starting off you will more than likely initially enter a Pre Beginners class. These are held at most shows. There will be a list of shows available to enter throughout the year and your trainer should be able to advise you of the dates of these shows and when you and your dog are ready to enter into the world of competitive shows.
The six levels are as follows:
You will find a current copy of the IKC Regulations for Obedience Tests on the IKC website. A detailed list of the exercises you will be required to complete in each class and the amount of marks applicable to each exercise is outlined in detail in this document.
The marks indicated will be the maximum amount of marks you can lose on any particular exercise e.g. in Pre Beginners – Heel on Lead = 20 points. This means that the most points you can lose on this exercise will be 20. The idea when you are competing is to lose the minimum amount of marks possible i.e. to complete the exercise as close to the ideal as possible thus permitting the judge to deduct the least possible marks for deviations from this ideal. Therefore, overall, the least amount of marks each competitor is on at the end of the exercise the better and the competitor with the very least marks wins. Therefore if there are 100 marks to be lost overall for example in the complete round you are trying to be as close to zero as possible.
When moving up through the classes you can also gain an officially IKC recognized obedience title for your dog. You will be entitled to put this title after your dog’s registered Kennel Club name once it has been confirmed that your application for the title has been approved by the IKC. There are five titles as follows: P-Beg. Ex, Beg. Ex, Nov. Ex, A Ex, B Ex, C Ex
Points towards the qualification ‘Excellent’ in any particular Class will be awarded as a result of gaining places in that class and are on a sliding scale. Each time you gain a higher title it will replace your title from the lower class i.e. you may only have one title at any given time.
A full list of the points required to gain each title is outlined in the IKC Rules and Regulations for Obedience 2014 which is on the IKC website.
Obedience is a fun sport which is open to all handlers and their dogs. If you think it is something which might interest you, you should contact the IKC who will be able to provide you with a list of reputable trainers/clubs in your area who can help you and your best friend start your journey into the fun and delightful world of competitive obedience. Your trainer(s) will guide you through the exercises for each level and will advise you of the rules and training required to help you start off on your journey and advance through the classes.