Obedience Trial Training Information
Obedience ranges from the Beginner Novice level, requiring only the skills taught in a basic beginner obedience training class, all the way through Utility, which requires the handler and dog to complete thousands of hours of training and learn advanced skills such as scent discrimination, response to commands at a distance, and jumping higher than the dog's shoulder level.
The Right Dog for the Job
Almost any consistently trained dog can compete in lower level obedience up to the Novice level, but the highest level dog/owner teams require a certain patience as well as mental and physical stamina and a lot of working drive. The ideal dog is high energy, focused, and very motivated to please the handler without needing a lot of verbal or physical reassurance.
How to Get Started
The AKC's site, www.akc.org, is the go-to place for finding training clubs; show schedules can be found under the "events" tab. Good show schedules can also be found at www.infodog.com under show information. You can search events by state at this site. All dogs must be registered with the AKC to compete; mixed breed and non-pedigreed dogs can be registered in the Canine Partners program. The best place to start for guidance on training is a local All Breed club (the all breed clubs in my area are Cleveland All Breed Training Club and Akron All Breed Training Club, for example). These clubs have knowledge about AKC events and can teach the prospective owner and their dog how to train for AKC Rally Obedience. Otherwise, ask prospective training clubs whether or not they have helped train competing AKC Obedience dogs.