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Competition Obedience Training Charlotte

Competition obedience is a rewarding sport requiring the dog and handler team to work together to complete a variety of exercises promptly and precisely. At its finest, a competition obedience run at any level will look like a choreographed dance between dog and handler. Obedience has a reputation as being “rigid,” “challenging,” and “no fun” for the dog. While true that an investment of dedication is a requirement to be successful, particularly at the upper levels of competitive obedience, it’s not a sport devoid of joy and fun. Done right, obedience is a joyous affair for both dog and human.

Many dogs have an instinctual desire to run, jump, retrieve, and use their nose. The premise of any performance sport is to capitalize on these desires and the dog’s natural prey drive to create a rewarding, enjoyable experience for the dog and handler. Competition obedience takes the dog’s same natural instincts of the dog and transforms them into enjoyable, rewarding exercises the dog can come to regard as enjoyable and valuable, similar to other sports like agility, scent work, fast CAT, and dock diving.

There are three main levels, or classes, of competition obedience. These are Novice, Open, and Utility. Dependent on the class, the order of the exercises may change, but the exercises required in each class will always be the same. At all levels, each exercise will begin with the judge asking the handler if they are ready, and when the handler indicates they are, all instructions will be prompted and cued by the judge giving a verbal or signal command to the handlers to proceed to the next part of the exercise. Each exercise will end with the judge announcing “exercise finished.”

obedience training charlotte

Let's get started teaching your dog the skills necessary for the exciting hobby of competition obedience!

Competition Obedience Training Charlotte

Foundation Games class: Open & Utility

During this class, the dogs will the learn the foundation games for success in competition obedience for Open and Utility. The class is a games style class because the more fun we make the sport, the more the dogs learn to love it! Class will include games to fix the holes in your dog’s heeling foundation, teaching fronts and finishes, beginning & polishing the games to teach the Open and Utility exercises.

What type of games will be taught? Games that:

  • Build understanding of the principle part of the exercise
  • Build joy of the exercise
  • Build the formal picture when the dog is ready for it
  • Eliminate wasted practice time on throw away or temporary cues
  • Sequence parts of the exercises together
  • Enhance understanding
  • Build confidence
  • Build persistence
  • Build fun with food and toy rewards off of your body

Foundation Games: Open & Utility

  • Tuesday mornings from 9 to 9:50 am.


Competition Obedience Open-ring Games 

During this class, the dogs will get to practice with you around distractions in a fun and structured way. Teams take turns at the various stations practicing whatever skill they want to practice. The dogs learn to ignore distractions and listen to you around dogs doing training skills. This class is ideal for handlers who need more practice time with their dogs around other dogs.

Competition Obedience Open-ring Games: 

  • Tuesdays from 10 to noon

Contact us to find out when our next opening is in this class!

Register for class using the form below!

$ 0.00
Group Class Cancellation Policy: In order to provide the best scheduling flexibility and one on one time for the clients that enroll in class, we do not offer make up sessions for sessions that are missed. Liability Terms of service: I agree to take full and total responsibility for my dog at all times. I hereby waive and release Mariah Hinds, Mariah Hinds Dog Training, property or business the training is located at, all owners and other animals in attendance, and any of the above mentioned employees, owners, and agents from any and all liability of any nature for injury or damage which I or my dog may suffer, including specifically, but not without limitation, any injury or damage resulting from the action of any dog, and I expressly assume the risk of any such damage or injury while attending the training session or training class, while supervising or interacting with a dog while on the grounds or surrounding area thereto. In consideration of my attendance and participation in training classes, I waive the right from any and all claims or claims by any member of my family or any other person who is present for training lessons. 1. I understand that attendance and participation in any dog training program is not without risk to myself and/ or to guests that are present. I further understand that my personal dog is at risk when any other dog is present and I may bring home an illness due to working around other dogs. 2. Mariah Hinds Dog Training has found that half way through training most owners feel relieved that their dog’s behavior is improving. If training is ended at that time, the dog inevitably backslides into their prior bad habits. Group classes will not be refunded. 3. Some dogs find group classes extremely stressful and need to know lots of skills and behaviors before joining a group class. If a dog is not appropriate for group class, then the dog can be moved to one on one training sessions for an additional fee. 4. It is the client’s responsibility to notify Mariah Hinds Dog Training of any changes regarding the dog’s behavior and other pertinent information. 5. I agree to allow Mariah Hinds Dog Training to discuss history, protocol, family dynamics and any pertinent information with their veterinarian, appropriate animal professionals, family members, etc. as applicable. 6. Mariah Hinds Dog Training reserves the right to terminate this contract at any time, at its sole discretion and refund the monies paid for future services (if applicable) back to the dog’s owner. 7. All of the information I have given about my dog(s) is correct and does not exclude important information such as aggression. 8. These Terms of Service constitute the sole and only agreements concerning the terms of this contract. Any prior agreements, whether oral or in writing, shall be void and of no further affect. This contract may only be modified in writing and signed by all parties to this agreement. 9. I agree to allow pictures taken of my dog or me with my dog during class to be used by Mariah Hinds Dog Training.


How do I schedule a private competition obedience session with you?

For private competition obedience sessions, please complete this form:

$ 0.00

Competition Obedience Novice Training Exercises

Heel On Lead – While leashed, the dog and handler team will follow a short pattern around the ring as called by the judge, including a left, right, and about (180 degree to the right) turn, and a slow and fast pace, as well as a halt where the team stops and the dog sits.

Figure 8 – Leashed, the team will circle two cones twice making a figure 8 pattern. The team will halt and dog will sit twice on the judge’s order. 

Stand For Exam – The handler will remove the dog’s leash and give it to the judge or a steward (ring volunteer). The handler will stand their dog and walk 6’ away, leaving them to stay. The judge will lightly touch the dog on the top of the head, shoulders, and near the base of the tail before asking the handler to return to heel position. 

Heel Free – The team will repeat the exact same heeling pattern from the Heel On Lead exercise, only this time without a leash.

Recall – The handler will leave the dog and walk 20’ away. Upon the handler’s cue, the dog will run to and sit in front of the handler. The handler will cue the dog to return to heel position and sit.

Sit Stay Get Leash – The handler will leave the dog and walk 20’ away to a chair inside the ring gate where their leash will be placed. They will pick up the leash and wait for the judge to tell them to return to their dog. The handler will then walk back to heel position. 

Group Stays – At the Novice level only there is a one minute sit stay, and a one minute down stay, all on a 6’ leash, amongst a group of other qualifying Novice dogs.

Competition Obedience Open Training Exercises

Heel Free – The dog will enter the ring on leash with the handler but immediately the leash will come off and be placed just outside of the ring for the duration of the run. The Open Heel Free will be similar but slightly longer and/or more challenging than the Novice Heel Free. 

Figure 8 – The team will circle two cones twice making a figure 8 pattern. The team will halt and dog will sit twice on the judge’s order. 

Command Discrimination – The judge will state three positions (always Stand-Down-Sit in Open A, or the order for the class dogs are eligible for if they have not received a CDX) and signal the handler to do the first position, then leave their dog to go 15 feet away, the handler will cue the second position, then leave to go to 30 feet, and cue the third position before returning to the dog.

Drop on Recall – The handler leaves the dog in a sit and goes across the ring. The handler will call the dog, then drop the dog into a down with a hand or verbal cue, and then again to call the dog to front. The handler will have the dog finish to return to heel position.

Retrieve on Flat – The handler will start with the dog set up sitting in heel position, throw the dumbbell, and send their dog to retrieve it. The dog will return to sit in front. The handler will take the dumbbell from the dog and finish them back into heel position.

Retrieve Over High Jump – The handler will start with the dog set up in heel position. They will throw the dumbbell over the high jump, then send the dog over the high jump to retrieve it and come back over the jump to sit in front. The handler will take the dumbbell from the dog and finish them back into heel position.

Broad Jump – The handler will set the dog up at least 8 feet back from the broad jump and go to stand across from it. They will cue the dog to jump and the dog will come to sit in front. The handler will finish them back into heel position. 

Stand Stay Get Your Leash – The handler will start with the dog sitting in heel position. They will cue their dog to stand, and leave the dog standing while they exit the ring and pick up their leash. The judge will tell them to come back in and return to their dog.


Competition Obedience Utility Training Exercises

Signals – The signals exercise is a combined heeling pattern and position changes with all cues the handler gives to the dog being body/hand signals only. The handler will signal the dog to heel with them and the judge will tell the handler at the end of the heeling pattern to stand their dog, and then leave the dog standing to cross the ring. The handler will turn to face their dog and give signals first for a sit, then a down, then to have the dog come to sit in front, and then finally to finish back to heel position. 

Scent Discrimination – This is a two part exercise. The handler and dog will watch a steward put out eight articles approximately 20 feet away of two of the following materials (leather, metal, wood) and an additional article of each material will be retained nearby. They will then turn around to face away from the article pile with the dog sitting at heel. The handler will take one of the articles kept aside and scent it with their hands/body. The judge will take the article and place it amongst the others in the pile. The handler will send their dog to find and retrieve the article that smells like them. Once the dog has returned to front with the correct article, the handler will take it and have the dog finish to heel. This will be repeated with the other article material.

Directed Retrieve – The handler and dog will set up in the middle of the ring facing away from where three gloves will be dropped by a steward, one in each corner of the ring behind them and one in the center, all approximately 3’ from the ring gate. The judge will indicate which of the three gloves they want the dog to retrieve and the handler will pivot and send the dog to retrieve the correct glove. Once the dog comes to front with the glove, the handler will take it and finish them to sit at heel.

Moving Stand And Exam – The dog and handler will set up with the dog sitting in heel. The handler and dog will heel toward the judge and the handler will cue the dog with verbal and/or signal to stand and cease forward motion while they walk away about 12 feet. The judge will step in to examine the dog and touch the head, back, and rear. The handler will call the dog directly to sit in heel position. 

Directed Jumping – This is a two part exercise where the handler will send the dog between two jumps (one a bar jump, one a high jump) to the opposite side of the ring and cue the dog to sit, then send them to jump over the jump indicated by the judge and come sit in front. The handler will then finish the dog to sit in heel position. The same will be repeated and the handler will have the dog jump over the opposite jump and come to front and then finish.