Introduction

We strongly recommend basic obedience training from a reputable club or school. Their cost per class is minimal, they are friendly and helpful to the novice, and the trainers all have experience in handling dogs in the obedience ring. Any dog can participate in and benefit from obedience training.

Keep your dog leashed and always under control in public. The breed looks vicious to the uninitiated and some people mistake Bulldogs for an aggressive breed. With the hysteria sometimes seen today, it's better to be careful. Don't give any a chance to think your dog is vicious or poorly controlled. He can wind up confiscated or dead.
Obedience training in classes can start after six months old. Before then, you should train your dog in basic responsibility. Keep the training sessions short - the younger the dog the shorter his attention span. When its no longer fun, for you or for him, it's time to stop for the day. By the time he starts formal classes, your dog should at least have learned to come when called and walk calmly on a leash.

He should also have good manners in the house - obeying the limits you set. He should stand on command and permit someone to handle him. Not only is this good for the ring, your Vet will love it. We also usually teach the dog to sit. At ten weeks, he walks fairly well on a leash, comes happily when you call him and stands reasonably well. To make coming fun, get down to his level and call him in a happy excited voice. Praise him like crazy when he arrives. Although he should be working for your praise, an occasional treat (a cookie or liver flavored treat) will help the process of getting him to focus.

If you are interested in showing your dog in obedience, you will find it a worthwhile experience. Not many Bulldogs are shown in obedience, so they always attract attention. People always ask questions when we take our dogs out and are surprised to see they are so well mannered. It even helps in the conformation ring, where one of our Champions sat on his lounge outside the ring without moving while the other dogs are being shown. He made a great hit with those passing by.

Obedience Competition

For your dog to compete in obedience, a dog must be registered with the AKC. Your dog will be rated on each exercise against a total of 200 possible points for a perfect exercise. Points may also be lost for errors made by the handler (like repeating commands). In addition to technical perfection, his attitude performing the exercises counts in the score. In each of three shows, under three different judges, he must score 70 percent overall and pass each exercise to achieve the Companion Dog (C.D.) title.

Unlike conformation where there is only the title of Champion to be earned, in Obedience you dog can obtain several titles based on the degree of difficulty of activities undertaken. When a judge gives a dog a qualifying score he or she is certifying to The American Kennel Club that the dog on this particular occasion has performed all of the required exercises at least in accordance with the minimum standards and that its performance that day justifies the awarding of the obedience title associated with the particular class. A Qualifying score must never be awarded to a dog whose performance has not met the minimum requirements, nor to a dog that shows fear or resentment, or that relieves itself at any time while in the ring for judging, nor to a dog whose handler disciplines it or abuses it in the ring, or carries or offers food in the ring.

The Judge must mentally picture the theoretically perfect performance in each exercise and score each dog and handler against that standard. The standard shall combine the utmost in willingness, enjoyment and precision on the part of the dog, and naturalness, gentleness, and smoothness in handling. Speed is not to be considered as the equivalent to willingness and enjoyment. Lack of willingness or enjoyment on the part of the dog must be penalized, as must lack of precision in the dog's performance, roughness in handling, military precision or peremptory commands by the handler.

Novice Obedience - Companion Dog

To obtain the first level (Novice) obedience title, your dog will have to learn some simple commands. All exercises except the last two are conducted individually; the last two are group exercises. Whenever you are required to give a command or signal in Obedience, a single command or signal only may be given by the handler, and any extra commands or signals must be penalized; except that whenever the AKC Regulations specify “command and/or signal” the handler may give either one or the other or both command and signal simultaneously. If a handler gives an additional command or signal which is not permitted, either when no command or signal is permitted, or simultaneously with or following a permitted command or signal, or if a dog's name is used with a permitted signal but without a permitted command, the dog shall be scored as though it had failed completely to perform that particular part of the exercise.

Heal on lead. The dog will start at a seated position at your left side. He will move with you on command with his shoulder even with your left leg as you move. The lead is held loosely, not pulling or restraining the dog. The pattern consists of straight movement, left and right turns, an about turn, and two changes of pace from normal speed.
The Heel position as used in Obedience, whether the dog is sitting, standing, lying down, or moving at heel, means that the dog shall be straight in line with the direction in which the handler is facing, at the handler's left side, and as close as practicable to the handler's left leg without crowding, permitting the handler freedom of motion at all times. The area from the dog's head to shoulder shall be in line with the handler's left hip.

Walk a figure eight on lead.  On command, the dog will walk in heal position as you move in a figure eight around a defined course. Change of pace and stops are included in the exercise.

Stand for examination. The dog will stand off lead on command without moving his feet as the judge walks around him, placing his hand on the dog.

Recall. The dog will sit off lead at the opposite side of the ring and at your command come directly to you and sit in front of you. On command, the dog will return to the heal position at your left side.

In exercises in which the dog is required to Come to or return to the handler and Sit in Front, the handler's arms and hands shall hang naturally at his sides while the dog is coming in and until the dog has sat in front. A substantial deduction shall be made if a handler's arms and hands are not hanging naturally at his sides while the dog is coming in and until the dog has sat in front.

Heal off lead. The dog will perform the same pattern as in the on lead exercise, except without the lead.
In all exercises in which the dog is required to “heel free” one of the options below shall be followed: (1) the handler's arms and hands shall move naturally at the handler's sides while in motion, and shall hang naturally at the handler's sides while not in motion; or (2) the right hand and arm must move naturally, while the left hand shall be held against, and centered in the front of the body, in the area of the waist. The left forearm shall be carried, as much as possible, against the body.

Sit-stay for one minute. In a group, the dog will sit off lead on command and remain sitting until told it is released. During the one minute exercise, you will walk across the ring from the dog and stand facing him and return to the dog to release him.

Down-stay for three minutes. In a group, the dog will down off lead on command and remain down until released. During the three minute exercise, you will walk across the ring from the dog and stand facing him and return to the dog to release him.

The scoring for the Novice Level (Companion Dog) title is as follows:

Exercise................................................Total Points..........Passing Score
Heal on Leash and Figure Eight........40...........................28
Stand for examination..........................30...........................21
Heal Free................................................40.......................... 28
Recall......................................................30...........................21
Long Sit...................................................30...........................21
Long Down.............................................30...........................21

Companio Dog Excellent

Exercise......................................Total Points..........Passing Score
Heal Free and Figure Eight......40............................28
Drop on Recall............................30............................21
Retrieve on Flat...........................20...........................14
Retrieve over High Jump...........30...........................21
Broad Jump..................................20...........................14
Long sit..........................................30...........................21
Long down....................................30...........................21


Utility Dog

Exercise...........................................Total Points..........Passing Score
Signal Exercise................................40...........................28
Scent Discrimination Article 1.......30............................21
Scent Discrimination Article 2.......30............................21
Directed Retrieve.............................30...........................21
Moving stand and Examination....30............................21
Directed Jumping............................40............................28

Obedience Trial Champion

At the final level of competition, all dogs with U.D.s can compete and earn points towards a Utility Dog Excellent (U.D.X.) title and an Obedience Champion (OTCh.) title. Championship points are earned by dogs which have earned a First or Second place ribbon competing in the Open B or Utility B Class The requirements for the Obedience Trial Champion are:

Shall have won 100 points; and
Shall have won a First place in Utility (or Utility B, if divided) provided there are at least three dogs in competition; and
Shall have won a First place in Open B provided there are at least six dogs in competition; and
Shall have won a third First place under the conditions of 2 or 3 above; and
Shall have won these three First places under three different Judges.

AKC Obedience Regulations can be downloaded from the AKC in PDF format.