Obedience 101

What is dog obedience?

Obedience describes the act of training your dog to have good manners. Owning a well-trained dog is a joy to live with. Many dog owners also enjoy the sport of Obedience, where dog and handler execute a routine of exercises that mimic the desired behaviors of a dog at home, on the road, or while in the company of other dogs. Obedience trials sanctioned by the American Kennel Club are held by local clubs nationwide so owners and their dogs can enhance their human-canine bond while competing to earn titles of achievement.

What is the Masters Obedience Championship at Westminster? 

The Westminster Kennel Club invites the top 250 dogs based on Obedience Trial Champion (OTCH) points earned at local obedience trials to compete at the Masters Obedience Championship at Westminster. The first 30 dogs, based on first received entries, will be entered in this competition. Each dog will compete in a preliminary round. All dogs will then move on to the final round and compete for the coveted title of Masters Obedience Champion.

What breeds are eligible to compete in Obedience?

All dogs, both purebred and All-American Dogs (mixed-breed), are eligible to compete in Obedience. The most popular breeds currently are Border Collies, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, and German Shepherd Dogs. The sport of dog obedience demonstrates a handler and dog’s ability to work as a team. A judge evaluates the team’s performance as they navigate through a set of exercises.

What can I expect to see at the Masters Obedience Championship?

The Masters Obedience Championship at Westminster is a unique event in the sport of Obedience. You will see routines only found at Westminster, such as dogs performing freestyle in the final round, which may include added elements such as costumes, tricks, and dance moves. Spectators and exhibitors alike enjoy this creative and fun aspect to the sport of dog obedience because it showcases the amazing talent of the teams.

How can obedience benefit the relationship between you and your dog?

  • Obedience can provide a variety of mental and physical activities for you and your dog
  • Proper training can prevent unwanted behaviors such as jumping on people, digging, barking, and chewing
  • It deepens the human-canine bond and enhances communication
  • Ensure your dog's safety and well-being
  • Good canine manners benefit your family, neighborhood, and community