Adapted from AKC’s: A Beginner’s Guide to Companion Events
Companion events showcase the dog working with the handler in activities that might be performed in a regular house hold setting. The dogs and handlers train for each event and each level within that event for many months before they enter a test or competition and are evaluated on their mastery of the required skills.
AKC obedience demonstrates the usefulness of the dog as a companion to man. Developed in the 1930’s it is one of the AKC’s oldest events. Obedience trials showcase dogs that have been trained and conditioned to behave well in the home, in public places, and in the presence of other dogs. At the Novice level the dogs must be able to heel on a loose leash and off leash, come when called from a distance and stay in a sit and down with the handler at a distance. At the Open level the sits and down stays are done without the handler present, the dogs must do all heeling off leash and must be able to retrieve a dumbbell on the flat and over a jump. For the recall, the dogs must be able to stop forward motion and down and then come again when called. At the Utility level the dogs must do scent discrimination, run to a stationary spot across the ring and then take two jumps as directed by the handler. They must also be able to heel, sit, down and come with only hand signals.
AKC Rally® is a companion sport to AKC Obedience. BACK Rally requires teamwork between dog and handler along with similar obedience performance skills.
The dog and handler team move at their own pace through a course includes 10 to 20 stations, depending on the level. Scoring is not as rigorous as traditional obedience. Communication from the handler to the dog is encouraged and perfect heel position is not required, but there should be a sense of teamwork and enthusiasm as they go through the course.