An obedience training glossary

Some common obedience terms:

A leather, nylon, or cotton strap with a clip at one end for the dog's collar and a loop at the other end for easy holding. Leashes come in several sizes, but the six-foot size is the most common for obedience training and walks.
A leather, chain, nylon, or cotton apparatus that fits around the dog's neck and is used for control. Comes in several types: buckle, slip collar, choker and prong. Buckle collars can be used to train puppies and mild-mannered dogs that do not pull against the leash. Leather or flat nylon slip collars are helpful for dogs that are boisterous and dogs that pull hard against the leash. Chain or round nylon choker collars require skill to use but are the most common in training classes. The Volhard collar is a variation of the choker that is easier to fit and use. Prong collars are made of interlocking metal links with blunt prongs that can be worn next to the dog's neck or facing out from his neck. Prong collars are helpful with large and boisterous dogs and with dogs that are easily distracted from the business at hand. All collars must be fitted properly in order to work effectively.
Head collar or halter:
An apparatus similar to a pony halter, the head collar works by controlling the dog's head, not pulling on his neck. A head collar is helpful for strong dogs, for dogs that are somewhat aggressive to other dogs, and for teaching dogs to focus on the handler.
A set of straps that fits around the dog's body, leaving no control over the head or neck. The harness is fine for small dogs and mild-mannered dogs, but should not be used on boisterous dogs or dogs that pull on the leash.
Puppy kindergarten:
A special class for puppies that emphasizes behavior and socialization and teaches owners how to handle and teach their puppies the basic commands.
Basic obedience:
a course of basic commands that dogs and handlers are expected to master before the end of the class session.
Advanced training:
Classes for dogs that need a bit of polish for the show ring or for continued success at good manners.
Canine Good Citizen test:
A 10-step, pass-fail test to prove a dog's good manners and an owner's sense of responsible dog ownership. Dogs must be licensed and well-groomed, sociable to people and other dogs, and understand basic obedience commands. A dog that fails any part of the test fails the whole test.
Companion Dog, the first level of obedience titles involving mastery of sit, heel, down, stay, and come commands in a variety of exercises. To earn a CD, a dog and handler must achieve a qualifying score of 170 points (out of 200) at three separate shows under three different judges. A CD is earned from the novice class.
Companion Dog Excellent, the second level of obedience titles adding jumping and retrieving to the CD level and requiring that all work be done without a leash. The same three qualifying scores under three different judges are required to earn the title. A CDX is earned from the open class.
Utility dog, the third level of obedience titles adding scent discrimination, directed retrieves, and directed jumps to the skills required. Dogs must also earn three qualifying scores under different judges to earn a UD from the utility class.
Obedience trial championship, earned by continuing to compete at the open and utility levels and winning first or second place enough times to amass 100 points.

More on obedience training

Norma Bennett Woolf

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