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Purpose of AKC Obedience Trials:

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 purebred dog as a companion to man. Obedience trials showcase dogs that have been trained and conditioned to behave well in the home, in public places, and in the presence of other dogs. AKC trials and tests allow exhibitors and their dogs to enjoy companionship and competition as they proudly earn AKC titles.

Levels of Competition

There are three levels of competition in obedience:

Qualifying Performance

A qualifying score indicates that the dog has performed all the required exercises according to AKC Obedience Regulations and justifies the awarding of the obedience title associated with the particular class.

Qualifying Score

A dog receives a qualifying score when it earns more than 50 percent of the points for each exercise, with a total of at least 170 points. A perfect score in any class is 200.


The following colors must be used for prize ribbons or rosettes in all regular classes, and for the Highest Scoring Dog in the Regular Classes, and for the ribbon or rosette for the dog with the Highest Combined Score in Open B and Utility:

First Prize – Blue
Second Prize – Red
Third Prize – Yellow
Fourth Prize – White

Highest Scoring Dog In the Regular Classes – Blue and Gold
Highest Combined Score In Open B and Utility – Blue and Green

All dogs that have received a qualifying score in their class receive a dark green ribbon to indicate that they have earned a "leg," or qualifying score toward their title.

How Do I Get Started in Obedience?

The best advice is to START TRAINING EARLY! Training a puppy is easier than training an adult dog because a puppy is more open to new ideas and has not yet developed "bad habits."

While it’s best to start young, the old saying "You can’t teach an old dog new tricks" is only partially true. It is never too late to train your dog, although it may take longer to retrain it to eliminate undesirable habits.

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 their Training Resources section.

Exerpted from AKC.org - Obedience

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