CD, CDX, UD, UDX, OTCH ???????????


To a person new to the world of obedience training and competition, these letters must look like alphabet soup.  But they all have a meaning, each one designates that the dog and handler have attained a title.     There are several venues that offer various competitions but for this purpose we will refer only to American Kennel Club (or AKC) requirements and titles. 

Obedience Trials test the dog and handler’s ability to perform a designated set of exercises.  Everyone starts with a score of 200 and works down.  To qualify, each team must score at least 170 points and more than 50 percent of the points for each exercise.  The dog then has a “leg” towards the title.  The dog and handler must qualify at three different shows to win the title.  

There are 3 levels that a dog can earn a title, each being more difficult than the last.  We will begin with the Companion Dog or CD title in the Novice class.  Each class is divided into “A” and “B” classes.  The Novice A class is for handlers who have never put a title on a dog before.  Novice B class is for handlers who have titled dogs previously, even though their present dog is a beginner. 

Both classes have the same exercises:


Heel on leash & Figure 8 30 points
Stand for examination  30 points
Heel Free (off leash)   40 points
Recall 30 points
Long sit (1 minute)  30 points
Long down (3 minutes) 30 points


The Heel on Leash will be performed at the judge’s directions and will consist of “Forward”, “Halt”, “Right turn”, “Left turn”, “About turn”, “Slow”, “Normal”, and “Fast”.   These can be done in any sequence. 

The Figure 8 in Novice is done on leash and consists of dog and handler executing a “figure 8” around two stewards, approximately 8 feet apart.  There is no “fast”, “slow” or “about turn” but the judge will order one halt during the exercise and one at the end. 

The Stand for Exam is done off leash.  The handler commands the dog to “stand” and may gently assist the dog to be balanced.  The handler then returns to heel position and gives the command to “stay” and walks 6 feet and turns to face the dog.  The judge will “examine” the dog from the front, gently touching the dogs head, back and rear.  On order from the judge, the handler returns to heel position.

The off leash or “Heel Free” is done exactly like the on leash heel pattern without a Figure 8.

Recall – On the judges order the handler commands the dog to stay in the sit position and crosses the ring to face the dog.  The judge will order the handler to call the dog.   The dog must come directly to the handler and sit in front.  The judge will then order the handler to “finish” the dog.  The dog must go directly to heel position and sit.  

Group Exercises (Long sit & long down) All dogs in the class must do the group exercises together.  In a very large class the judge can break the dogs into small groups allowing for space.  The dogs will be lined up at one side of the ring with leashes and arm bands behind them.  The handlers will leave the dogs and cross the ring, turning to face the dogs.  The dogs must remain in the sit position for 1 minute.  The handler then returns to the dog, who must hold the position until released.  The same procedure is used for the long down for 3 minutes. 

When the dog and handler qualify at 3 different shows, the dog is awarded the Companion Dog title by the American Kennel Club and may use the designation CD after its registered name. 

Next month we will explain the Open class and what you have to do to achieve the Companion Dog Excellent or CDX. 

If you have any questions about obedience training or showing, send to and we will be happy to answer your questions next month. 

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