Obedience Photo Gallery
Visit the Obedience Photo Gallery to see pictures of Bouviers competing in obedience - Click here
Where did I loose those points? - Click here
OTCH Bouviers - Click here
Versatile Companion Dog 3 Title - Click here
Bouviers and Obedience Brochure - Click here
Bouvier Training Assistance - Click Here
Bouviers and the Sport of Obedience
There is often a misconception that obedience is dull, boring and robs the dog of its natural instincts and personality. This is not so! Obedience only enhances those breed characteristics we love so well; intelligence, well behaved, agile and steady. Obedience is an excellent outlet for a Bouvier's natural instinct to work. Here are just a few of the numerous benefits of training and competing in obedience:
- Development of a strong bond and relationship with your dog. It gives you a good companion. Observing true teamwork between a dog and handler in the ring is a beautiful thing to behold.
- Obedience training is the basis for many performance sports. It is virtually impossible to compete in any dog sport without reliable control of the dog. A good background in obedience can lead to participation in other dog activities such as agility, therapy work, herding, carting, search and rescue, etc.
- One of the great things about this sport is that, theoretically, every exhibitor that competes can win. You need not place in your class or win High In Trial to earn a qualifying score towards a title.
- Obedience is a good opportunity to put our breeds’ working heritage to use. It keeps both young and mature Bouviers physically and mentally active.
- It helps establish you as pack leader. Bouviers are large powerful dogs. Someone has to be in charge or Bouviers tend to make up their own rules. Being the pack leader helps keep order and harmony in the home.
- It can reduce legal liability. Society is very litigious. It is an asset to have a well-trained dog and a credit to the breed. The exercises taught are useful in everyday life. A reliable stay or recall can prevent a disaster.
- As far as equipment is concerned, obedience is a relatively inexpensive sport in which to participate. The basic training equipment for all three levels of training can be bought or made for less than $100.
- Earn companion dog titles. The joy of earning that first qualifying leg, the first title or special wins lasts a lifetime.
As paraphrased from the AKC Obedience Regulations booklet “Obedience demonstrates the usefulness of a dog as a companion to man and not merely the dog's ability to follow specific routines in the obedience ring. The basic objective of obedience trials is to produce trained dogs that behave in different places and under variety of conditions.”
There are three basic levels of obedience competition. The first level, Novice, leads to a CD (Companion Dog) title. The dog demonstrates basic on and off leash heeling, a recall and stability during group sits and downs. The second level of competition, Open, results in a CDX (Companion Dog Excellent) title. This level involves, retrieving, dropping during a recall and clearing jumps. The final and most difficult level is Utility. At this level, a UD (Utility Dog) title can be earned. The dog demonstrates its proficiency in directed jumping, retrieving and scent discrimination.
The AKC has recently added more optional levels of competition. Optional titles offered are Beginner Novice, Graduate Novice, Graduate Open and Versatility. These titles consist of exercises that include variations of the exercises in the regular title classes. As you advance through these titles, the increased difficulty of the exercises also tests the versatility of your dog.
The AKC also offers the titles of UDX (Utility Dog Excellent) and OTCH (Obedience Trial Champion). To earn a UDX you must qualifying in both Open and Utility B Classes on the same day on 10 separate occasions. An OTCH is earned when an exhibitor earns a total of 100 points from wins in the Open and Utility classes. Other upper level titles offered by AKC are the OM, Obedience Master and OGM, Obedience Grand Master. These titles allow dogs that compete at the Open and Utility levels an opportunity to earn more titles as they continue to show.
Rally is also another fun sport that you can introduce your Bouvier to. In Rally, dogs heel and jump along a course filled with fun exercises that are variations of basic Obedience commands, such as heeling through cones, heeling backwards and circular turns. Rally also differs from Obedience in that you may use multiple verbal commands and hand gestures throughout the course. There are 3 levels of difficulty to this sport and participants can earn Rally Novice (RN), Rally Advanced (RA), Rally Excellent (RE) and Rally Advanced Excellent (RAE) titles. Exhibitors may continue to compete at the advanced and excellent levels of Rally and earn multiple RAE titles. Rally can be used as a transitions sport to standard Obedience.
How far you go depends on you and your dog. It depends on the amount of time and effort you want to put into training. Some people want to simply qualify and title dogs, while others strive for the highest levels of competition. With the Bouvier, all of these things are possible. Bouviers can be who they are and still win obedience accolades. Honest, stable working dogs, such as the Bouvier, can and do win at the upper levels of competition.
Training a Bouvier
Always keep in mind that Bouviers are working dogs bred to think independently. They are large and powerful with lots of confidence and self-assertiveness. Their independent mindset can make some obedience performances quite interesting, humorous and humbling. However, if you are persistent and make your training fun and varied, you can attain any level of obedience titling you wish.
A confident owner is essential for a successful obedience team. Be the pack leader. If you have this level of respect established between you and your dog, you have won a major portion of your training battle. Thoroughly evaluate your teammate so you can realistically set your goals. Like any breed, some Bouviers are more receptive to training than others. Dogs differ in aptitude and capabilities. Analyze your dogs’ mental and physical capabilities. Make sure that your dog is sound physically and in temperament.
Remember Bouviers are bright and learn quickly. As little as, 15 minutes a day of effective training will get you well on your way to your first novice title. However, you must vary your training routine. Be patience, persistence, yet spontaneous. Some trainers teach portions of all three levels of obedience to keep the interest of the dog. Boredom can lead many dogs into reinventing a particular exercise to make it more interesting. The higher levels of obedience offer more variety in the exercises and increase the mental challenges and fun for your dog. These levels of obedience require more practice time, but this is where the Bouvier can excel, if properly trained.
The Bouviers’ history in AKC obedience began with Astra-Yerta in 1954. This was the first of our breed to earn an AKC obedience title. Later in 1967 Deewal Merveille, UD, Can. OT earned the first CDX and UD titles.
Since 1954, many Bouviers have done well in obedience, earning titles at all three levels of obedience. Three of the most accomplished in the sport are Ch OTCH Susant's Emperor Maximillian UDX, TDX, HT, TT,CGC, SchH AD, Sch H BH (Max), earning the first Bouvier OTCH in 1994, and Max's daughter, Ch OTCH Emperor's Mistic Bronte, UDX, TDX (Bronte), earning her OTCH in 2001. In August of 2006, Redwind’s Yonnie O’Mine, UDX etched her place in breed history by becoming the 3rd Bouvier to earn the coveted AKC OTCH title. Yonnie is the also the 2nd Bouvier bitch to earn this title.
All three of these dogs had amazing obedience careers which included multiple specialty and all-breed High In Trial, High Combined honors and invitations to the prestigious AKC National Obedience Invitational. All three of these dogs show what Bouviers are truly capable of in the obedience ring.
With the working background and intelligence of our breed, why not take up the challenge of obedience? Experience the ultimate in companionship and teamwork. You and your Bouvier will love it!