Field Spaniels are true sporting companions and are happy to join you in whatever activities you enjoy. Field Spaniels can easily be trained to pass the AKC’s Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test, which is a non-competition event to show “good dog manners.” Many Field Spaniel owners go on to enjoy training and competing with their dogs in AKC events. Field Spaniels have successfully competed in obedience and Rally Obedience at the highest levels.
An obedience trial is an event at which dogs and handlers perform exercises as set forth in the American Kennel Club's Obedience Regulations, and are judged on the performance by A.K.C. approved judges.
As stated in the Obedience Regulations, "The purpose of Obedience Trials is to demonstrate the usefulness of the pure-bred dog as a companion of man, not merely the dog's ability to follow specified routines in the obedience ring...the basic objective of obedience trials is to produce dogs that have been trained and conditioned always to behave in the home, in public places and in the presence of other dogs, in a manner that will reflect credit on the sport of obedience..."
There are three levels of training. The average dog in the Novice classes has had at least a year of work, and is following practical commands used in every day living...only he is following them according to A.K.C. regulations and has been conditioned to work with his handler in difficult situations. The second level is Open work which is more stringent, and the highest level, the Utility class, is one which only a small percentage of dogs started in training ever reach. The Open and Utility classes are primarily for those seeking greater perfection in performance or for competition purposes. The team (handler and dog) compete against a top score of 200 to win A.K.C. Obedience titles. To earn a title, a team must qualify in three trials under three different judges by receiving at least 170 points out of a possible 200, and, in each exercise must receive more than half of the available points allotted.
Why Train Your Dog?
Dogs, by nature, are pack animals with a well-defined social order. As you and your family become your dog's pack, your new dog will look to you – the leader of the pack – for guidance. Leadership can be established in a firm but friendly manner. Keep in mind that it is unrealistic to expect the dog to abide by the rules of the household without the leader teaching appropriate behavior!
Much like people, every dog is different. Some are hyperactive. Some are laid-back. Some are serious. Others are silly. Some are shy, and yet others have too much confidence. Regardless of these differences, training is necessary for all dogs and beneficial to your entire family.
- Help correct nuisance behaviors such as jumping on people, digging, barking, and chewing, while providing mental and physical activities for your dog.
- Deepen the bond between you and your dog, and to increase the enjoyment, companionship and satisfaction of your relationship with your dog.
- Ensure your dog's safety and happiness.
- Nurture good canine companionship for the benefit of your family, neighborhood and community.
- Allow you to enjoy the fun and excitement of competing in AKC events. You and your dog can earn certificates and titles while you continue to strengthen your communication and teamwork.
Types of Training Classes
- Puppy Class – A developmental training course for the 3-to-5-month-old puppy. A puppy class emphasizes socialization with people and other puppies. Instructors usually offer information on growth, nutrition, grooming, housebreaking and problem-solving and teach basic household commands.
- Basic Class – A basic training course for dogs 5-to-6 months and older, aimed at training you to train your dog. The basic class emphasizes the essential training commands needed to make a dog a good companion: heel on a loose leash, sit, stand, down, stay in position, and come when called. Instructors also usually provide information on nutrition, grooming and problem-solving. This basic training is important in keeping your dog safe.
- Canine Good Citizen® (CGC) Class – May be a separate class or a part of a beginner class at AKC clubs and other organizations. CGC is a certification program that is designed to reward dogs that have good manners at home and in the community. Your dog will need to know the commands and exercises taught in a basic training class to qualify for a passing score on the CGC test. Dogs that pass the CGC test receive a certificate from the AKC and are recorded in the AKC's Canine Good Citizen Archive.
- Training Classes for Companion Events – A variety of classes that prepare students and their dogs for competition in obedience, agility, tracking and other AKC events. You will be instructed in the levels of competition and titles available, how to teach your dog the required exercises, and the regulations that apply when you are competing.
AKC titles can only be earned at an AKC-licensed or member club trial. The Novice (CD) title must be completed before an exhibitor can enter the Open class. The Open title (CDX) must be earned before an exhibitor can enter the Utility class.
- Companion Dog (CD) – The letters CD may be added after a dog's registered name when it has been certified by 2 different judges as receiving qualifying scores in Novice classes at three licensed or member obedience trials.
- Companion Dog Excellent (CDX) – The letters CDX may be added after a dog's registered name after it has been certified by 2 different judges as receiving qualifying scores in Open classes at three licensed or member obedience trials.
- Utility Dog (UD) – The letters UD may be added after a dog's registered name after it has been certified by 2 different judges as receiving qualifying scores in Utility classes at three licensed or member obedience trials.
- Utility Dog Excellent (UDX) – Dogs with UD titles must earn qualifying scores in both Open B and Utility B at 10 trials in order to add the UDX title after their registered names.
- Obedience Master (OM) – The letters OM may be added after a dog's name when it has earned a total of 200 OM points awarded to dogs earning a 190 or better from the Open B and Utility B classes based on the schedule of points established by the AKC Board of Directors. The OM will be followed by a numeric designation indicating the number of times a dog has met the requirements of the OM title up to 10.
- Grand Master (OGM) – The letters OGM may be added after a dog's name when it has earned the 10th level of the Obedience Master title. Only one OGM title will be awarded.
- Obedience Trial Champion (OTCH) – Dogs with UD titles must win 100 points and a first-place in Utility B and Open B, plus a third first-place win in either class, under three different judges.
- National Obedience Champion (NOC) – The AKC awards this prestigious title annually to the dog that wins the AKC National Obedience Invitational. The letters NOC are placed before the dog's AKC-registered name and become part of the dog's permanent title.
- Beginner Novice (BN) – The letters BN may be added after a dog's name when it has been certified by 2 different judges to have received qualifying scores in Beginner Novice classes at 3 licensed or member obedience trials.
- Graduate Novice (GN) – The letters GN may be added after a dog's name when it has been certified by 2 different judges to have received qualifying scores in Graduate Novice classes at 3 licensed or member obedience trials.
- Graduate Open (GO) – The letters GO may be added after a dog's name when it has been certified by 2 different judges to have received qualifying scores in Graduate Open classes at 3 licensed or member obedience trials.
- Versatility (VER) – The letters VER may be added after a dog's name when it has been certified by 2 different judges to have received qualifying scores in Versatility classes at 3 licensed or member obedience trials
- Pre–Novice (PCD) – The letters PCD may be added after a dog's name when it has been certified by 2 different judges to have received qualifying scores in Pre-Novice at 3 licensed or member obedience trials.
- Pre–Open (PCDX) – The letters PCDX may be added after a dog's name when it has been certified by 2 different judges to have received qualifying scores in Pre-Open at 3 licensed or member obedience trials.
- Pre–Utility (PUTD) – The letters PCD may be added after a dog's name when it has been certified by 2 different judges to have received qualifying scores in Pre-Utility at 3 licensed or member obedience trials.
Information about Obedience Trials
The AKC offers a wide variety of resources to assist anyone interested in obedience, whether you are new to the sport or want to know how to hold an obedience trial. Contact AKC Customer Service at 919-233-9767 or Orderdesk@akc.org to inquire about the following resources:
- "Getting Started in Companion Events" – Informative brochure which outlines the basics of getting started in AKC Companion Events.
- AKC Show Trial Manual – Manual designed to assist clubs in understanding the requirements, the paperwork, the personnel, and the many details that must be handled correctly to hold a successful obedience trial.