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May points can be lost if you do not carry your hands/arms in the required position for the exercises in the show ring. Certain hand positions are required as stated in the rules and regulations for obedience showing; any deviation is grounds for lost points (3 or more deducted for wrong hand position per each occurrence!).

Proper footwork in obedience helps your dog know what you are going to do while heeling. If you present consistent foot cues to the dog he then begins to rely on those cues for direction and heeling becomes much smoother.

It takes a bit of practice on your part to get in the habit of using the foot cues while working your dog. These cues soon become automatic so you won’t be thinking so hard on which foot goes where!

   There are a couple of methods to teach your dog to sit; Manual manipulation, Lured or Offered. We will look at the Manual manipulation method as I am not a big fan of food or clicker training (see “My Training Methods).

If your dog knows how to “heel” taking him for a walk is a pleasure. There is nothing more frustrating or tiring than walking a dog that pulls you all over town!
Heel position is the dog’s head or shoulder in line with your left leg. If the dog’s feet are out in front of your left leg he is taking you for a walk! The dog will be taught to match your pace whether you are walking normal, fast or slow and will also learn to sit squarely at your side every time you stop moving.

   You have been heeling on the short lead for a few days allowing the dog to self discover the position beside you that is most comfortable for him to be in. This position brings looseness of the collar and verbal praise from you. Now you will allow the dog to show you what he has learned by loosening the lead and giving him more freedom.

  There are many ways to teach the down command to your dog; Manual manipulation, Lured or Offered. We will work with manual manipulation and lured. I am not a fan of food or clicker training but I use the lured method for pups or a dog that does not want to be touched or a dog that is much bigger than the handler or for the folding down used in competition obedience.


The stand is very easy to show the dog but sometimes hard for the dog to grasp. They just don’t seem to understand why, when they get on their feet, they can’t move about. The “stand” is not only a required exercise in competition obedience it has uses at home as well. It is helpful if the dog will stand still while wiping muddy paws, getting groomed, putting the leash on, during vet exams etc. The dog that knows the “stand stay” cooperates fully with these things rather than wiggling or jumping around making everyone’s life much sweeter.


Start this exercise with the dog sitting on your left side facing the same direction as you. Take the leash in your left hand holding it fairly short. Lightly restrain the dog by holding the leash back and slightly up (towards the dogs’ rear). This should be mild pressure, if you have too much pressure the dog will move backwards or jump up to relieve the pressure. Next swing your right hand across your body palm facing the dog and firmly command “STAY”. Do not get your hand to close to the dogs face and if you are working a small dog DO NOT bend down to the dog. You want the dog to watch you.


The “wait” command is used when you want to do more with the dog once you have left him, unlike the stay where you return to the dog’s side to break off the exercise. The “wait” can be used when going through doorways, gates, getting in and out of the car, or when you are working on the recall command or utility exercises. It is preferable that the dog know the “stay” command before teaching the “wait”.


Do you wish you could take your dog off lead when at the beach, in the mountains or at the park or maybe just in your unfenced yard but are reluctant because your dog won’t come back to you? Your dog needs training in the Recall command! Dogs do not recall reliably on their own, you have to teach them what is expected when you give them the recall word and show them through practice that nothing is more important than coming to you when called. Getting a reliable recall amid heavy distractions can take a couple of months or a few months depending on your training ability and your dogs desire to please you but all the work that you put into this command is well worth the results it brings!

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