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Obedience training for the dog

In obedience, too, this “obedience” is built up exclusively through motivation for food or prey or with the clicker. Empathy, patience and good “knowledge of the dog” are required. Obedience has been officially offered as an FCI dog sport in Germany since January 1st, 2001.

Obedience training: what is important?

In obedience training it is important that the dog performs all exercises with pleasure, but also quickly and correctly. The special thing about obedience: You can feel the dog through the close cooperation. The motivation gives the dog the “want” to work for you. It is important that the exercises deepen the human-dog relationship, the dog has a “smile” around its face. Drill is out of place – instead, precision is required! And that is the challenge for both dog and owner. Imagination is required in the training, the right motivation of the dog, all of his attention so that he can carry out the instructions immediately from a distance. He should practically always be connected to the dog handler by an invisible leash.

For which dogs is obedience suitable?

Obedience is suitable for every dog. The height of the hurdle to be overcome is adjusted to the shoulder height of the respective dog. The dumbbells are also adapted to the size of the dog. Each dog should also show the basic speed of its breed during the exercises. So it’s not about outstanding speed. Therefore, obedience is also suitable for dogs that are not quite as fit. All exercises can be set up in a playful way. So you can train obedience at home (in front of the mirror). It is always pure teamwork, where even very small and older dogs have a chance.

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Nose work in obedience

The only nose work in obedience is the so-called self-identification: the dog selects the wood that the handler had in his hand from among the pieces of wood lying on the ground. Depending on the class, up to a maximum of six pieces of wood lie in a circle or on a line, five neutral pieces and that with the smell of the dog handler. The dog has to retrieve the found wood quickly and cleanly.

What requirements does the dog handler have to meet for obedience?

If you want to do obedience training with your dog, you have to be in good shape yourself: What is required are good physical condition, good balance and a good body image. The dog handler should be able to “read” his dog, he should be emotionally, mentally and physically fit, because everything starts in the head of the dog handler, not with the dog. If everything is right, the dog will want to work for us.

Obedience training: tips for a successful start

You can start obedience training when you are a puppy if you have no expectations of the puppy. Otherwise, the puppy will lose the joy of exercising with you. You can convey everything to him in a playful way. Since the dog handler is usually not of enough interest to the dog, you need an aid, a piece of meat or a ball, for example. Just something that the dog really wants.

In parallel with the aids, the handler must learn to play with the dog, with or without an object. The aim is that the dog handler is the dog’s greatest motivation. If you teach the dog to “sit on foot” correctly from the start, it will never assume a sloping basic position. He will only know perfection, so you never have to correct him. Exercise for only 5–10 minutes each day. Because a dog with the highest levels of tension and concentration can only record properly for a maximum of 10 minutes.

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Finally, step by step, you lead the dog to the perfect exercise. You must first disassemble the respective exercises and then start with the first step. If you skip individual steps, the whole exercise will fall apart sooner or later. Do not go one step further until you are sure that the dog has understood everything. In the end, she put all these small steps together like a “puzzle”. Work loosely and consistently.

Obedience commands

Obedience actually consists of familiar commands:

There are also some exercises that have to be demonstrated at a distance.

Obedience exercises for beginners to advanced

Obedience is divided into four to seven classes, depending on the country. In Germany there are four of them:

  • Beginners
  • Obedience I
  • Obedience II
  • Obedience III

Ten exercises must be shown in each class.

Beginner class

The beginner class is the entry-level class. The following exercises are assessed in the beginner class according to the examination regulations of the VDH (Association for German Dogs and Dogs):

  • Behavior towards other dogs
  • Standing and touching
  • Lying for 2 minutes with visual contact
  • Free heeling
  • Sit or down while moving
  • Send ahead in a square
  • Recall
  • Retrieval on level ground
  • Control at a distance
  • Send around a pylon 10 m away
  • Overall impression

The team is also assessed, i.e. the trusting and cooperative interaction between humans and dogs.

International class (Obedience III)

The international class (Obedience III) is the premier class. The following exercises are required according to the VDH examination regulations:

  • 2 minutes of sitting in a group (dog handler goes out of sight)
  • 4 minutes lying in the group (dog handler goes out of sight)
  • Free following with different step changes
  • “Stand”, “Sit”, “Down” while moving
  • Calling with “stand up and sit down”
  • Forwarding with directions, filing and retrieving
  • Retrieving (wooden repeat) with directions (right or left)
  • To send a pylon, stand / sit or sit down and wood report with instructions about a jump
  • Self-identification from 6 objects (wood)
  • Control (“sit”, “sit down”, “stand”) at a distance (15 m)
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The judge evaluates the exercises. In addition, there is the ring steward who gives the dog handler all the instructions for the exercises. He accompanies the teams through the competition.

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