Obedience Trials test a dog's ability to perform a prescribed set of exercises on which it is scored. In each exercise, you must score more than 50 percent of the possible points (ranging from 20 to 40) and get a total score of at least 170 out of a possible 200. Each time your dog gets that magic 170 qualifying score, he's gotten a "leg" toward his title. Three legs and your dog has become an Obedience-titled dog! There are 3 levels at which your dog can earn a title and each is more difficult than the one before it. You may see levels divided into "A" and "B" at a trial; "A" classes are for beginners whose dogs have never received a title while "B" classes are for more experienced handlers.
Novice: The first level, Novice, results in your dog earning a Companion Dog (CD) title. The title actually describes what is expected of your dog: demonstrating the skills required of a good canine companion. The dog will have to heel both on and off leash at different speeds, come when called, stay (still and quietly!) with a group of other dogs when told, and stand for a simple physical exam.
Open: The second level, Open, results in your dog earning a Companion Dog Excellent (CDX) title. He must do many of the same exercises as in Novice, but off-leash and for longer periods. Additionally, there are jumping and retrieving tasks.
Utility: The final level results in a Utility Dog (UD) title. These are the cream of the crop. In addition to more difficult exercises, the dog also must perform scent discrimination tasks.
OTCH and UDX: The best of the best can go on for more titles. Utility Dogs that place in Open B or Utility B classes earn points toward an Obedience Trial Champion (OTCH) title. Utility Dogs that continue to compete and earn legs in both Open B and Utility B at 10 shows receive the title Utility Dog Excellent (UDX).
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