The Novice Class Whats Expected from You and Buddy

The Novice class consists of six exercises, each with a specific point value (see Table 13-3). For a qualifying score, you and Buddy have to earn more than 50 percent of the available points for each exercise and a final score of more than 170 out of a possible 200.

A qualifying score at an obedience trial is called a leg. Your dog needs three legs under three different judges to earn the AKC title, Companion Dog.

Table 13-3

The Novice Class

Required Exercises

Available Points

Exercise 1: Heel On Leash and Figure 8 40

Exercise 2: Stand for Examination


Exercise 3: Heel Free


Exercise 4: Recall


Exercise 5: Long Sit


Exercise 6: Long Down

Maximum Total Score

The six exercises are always done in the order listed in Table 13-3, and they're all pack behavior exercises.

"So where do I get those Obedience Regulations thingies?"

You can get your own copy of the Obedience Regulations by contacting the American Kennel Club at 5580 Centerview Drive, Suite 200, Raleigh, NC 27606-3390 (919-233-9767 or

Getting your own copy of the regulations is a piece o' cake, so go ahead and get them. Knowing the rules is a good idea so you know what's expected from you and your dog.

Like the Pre-Novice class, the Novice class exercises are an extension of those required for the Canine Good Citizen test (see Chapter 12). The Stand for Examination exercise, for example, is a form of temperament test similar to Accepting a Friendly Stranger and Sitting Politely for Petting in the Canine Good Citizen test.

There are, however, some important differences and additions in the Novice class exercises:

^ Buddy has to respond to the first command.

^ Walking on a loose leash (see Chapter 12) is now called Heeling and consists of both heeling on leash and off leash and includes a Figure 8 on leash (see "Exercise 1's Figure 8: 'Buddy, Do the Twist,'" later in the chapter). It's also more exacting.

^ The temperament test requires the dog to stand and is done off leash with you standing six feet in front of your dog. When you're in position, the judge will approach your dog from in front and touch Buddy's head, body, and hindquarters with the fingers and palm of one hand.

^ In addition to the Heel On Leash, there's Heeling Off Leash (see Chapter 14).

^ The Come When Called (see Chapter 8) is now called the Recall (see Chapter 14). It's done off leash and requires Buddy to come on command, sit in front of you, and then go to Heel position on command.

^ The Sit and Down-Stay (see Chapter 14) are done off leash for one and three minutes, respectively.

The Novice class is tailor-made for the dog that's highest in pack drive behaviors. For the dog that's highest in prey drive behaviors, this class is a little more difficult because of his distractibility around sights, sounds, and smells. (See Chapter 5 to see what the different behaviors mean.)

When you look at the Novice class exercises, you see that 120 points depend on your dog being able to stay — for the Stand for Examination (see Chapter 14), the Recall (see Chapter 14), the one-minute Sit, and the three-minute Down-Stay (see Chapter 14). So you can see how important the "Stay" exercise is.

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