Foundations for Competition Obedience

Taught by Maggie

Tuesday evenings at 7:00 – 7:45 pm starting January 16

Duration = six weeks


In this course we will be introducing many of the skills necessary to perform the exercises required to qualify in competition obedience under the Canadian Kennel Club Rules and Regulations. Many of these skills transition well into other sports including Rally Obedience, Rally FrEe etc. This course will be taught a CKC Licensed Judge and handler who has completed several CKC Obedience Trail Champions as well as many other Rally, Rally Free, Agility and Nosework titles on her Shelties and Papillons over thirty years of active training and trialling. Much of the material we will draw from is consistent with the methods used by some of the top trainers in the Obedience ring today.

During the 6-week class you will be shown how to apply consistent terminology and engaging activities to encourage focused connection and willingness to perform. Foundation elements include learning to lure, to shape, to leave a reward to earn a reward and to use various props such as platforms. Once these foundations are established we can move on to more specific exercise components including heeling skills, stationary skills, recall skills. Your dog will learn to understand when he has responded correctly as
well as when he is incorrect, using fair and measured consequences that are appropriate for your dog. Ultimately, we aim to make this fun for everyone!

Equipment Needed

Plain flat or martingale collar and leash

  • 6 ft for those working towards Pre-Novice title
  • 4 or 6 ft for those working towards Novice or higher titles


Rectangle – Should measure just wide enough for dog to sit and long enough to stand and lay down on. Generally, 2-4” thick, depending on size of dog. May be made of wood, rubber matting, 3⁄4-1”PVC pipe or other durable but light materials. Non skid is important.
Round – Raised platform roughly 6”- 8” in diameter and between 1-3”tall, depending on size of your dog.

Target plates: white yogurt etc lids 3-4.

Toys: What is your dog’s most favorite toy? Bring it! If a ball, please put inside a tied sock to keep it from rolling. No squeakies please.

Treats: You will want to bring your dog’s favorite treats. Roast beef, cheese, beef jerky are all on the table. Light coloured treats are often best for use on our dark floor. Let us know if your dog has food allergies.


Basic pet manners: Please understand that we are unable to run the class if a dog is uncontrollably barking or acting out. This class is intended for competition, not for addressing basic pet manners. Make sure you are able to keep your dog focused on you and quiet while we are working. Remember that barking is often a sign of boredom or stress. While we hope to keep the class exciting and fun for everyone, there will be times when I need to talk to you, and I am unable to compete with barking dogs. Consider ways to tire out your dog before coming to class.
Successful competition obedience requires a solid relationship between the dog and handler. You will need to practice with your dog several times per week to see results. Plan to start in a very quiet location with few, if any, distractions. Later, to build focus and cope with distractions, you will want to look for more interesting yet safe places to practice.