Obedience: Playful training with your dog

Obedience with your dog

This dog sport is all about having fun.

This sport not only offers your four-legged friend a great activity, but also strengthens the relationship between you and your pet: you teach your four-legged friend essential commands and you train together using small and large exercises. With patience, perseverance and lots of fun, you will quickly become a well-coordinated team. And another plus point: obedience is suitable for every dog breed!

What is Obedience?

The basics of this dog sport include obedience, submission and communication between you and your dog. That's why obedience is ideal for dogs as young as puppies. If your four-legged friend masters important commands such as "sit", "heel" and "down", he will soon be ready for the obedience tests: In a course, a steward gives you exercises that you have to perform as a team with your dog. In the course

  • Precision,
  • Concentration,
  • Confidence und
  • Motivation

play a particularly important role – these are often also judging criteria at professional tournaments where dogs compete against each other.

Obedience exercises: With these 5 exercises the training works

In addition to the usual commands such as "come" and "stop", distance control is also a challenge for dog owner and four-legged friend. One of the important prerequisites for this sport is that your dog can execute commands at a distance with the help of visual signals and maintain visual contact. If you would like to train obedience with your furry friend in a playful way, we have 5 different obedience exercises for beginners to try out:

  1. Heel walk: In this exercise your dog walks beside you with his shoulder blade at knee height. It is important that he looks up at you attentively. Your dog should be able to do this command on both sides, right and left.
  2. Send ahead into a box: The aim of this exercise is for your dog to recognise a marked square and run to it on command. With an audible signal such as "Stop", your dog should stop in the middle of the square. Ideally, your dog will lie down when you, the handler, give the command "Down".
  3. Retrieving with or without a hurdle: When retrieving, your dog should be able to retrieve different objects made of wood, plastic or metal. You can use the command "Apport" as an audible signal. It is best to start with a food dummy from which the reward comes after a successful exercise. Later on you can switch to other objects.
  4. Change of position at a distance: Whether "sit", "down" or "stay" - controlled behaviour at a distance of a few metres is one of the popular exercises in obedience training. The handler stays in the dog's view and shows the dog which tasks are to be performed by means of auditory and visual signals.
  5. Smell identification: In this exercise the dog is to identify an object of its owner.

Tip: When your furry friend masters an obstacle or a slalom through pylons, retrieves or obeys commands, he should do so joyfully and motivated. Fun, joy and harmonious cooperation between dog owner and dog are just as important as completing the task - therefore unnecessary strictness, punishment or even aggression are out of place. Instead, work with positive reinforcement such as praise and rewards as well as loving attention. You can ignore unwanted behaviour. Dog schools can also help you with the basic commands.

Obedience as a competition

As long as you and your dog have VDH membership, participation in an obedience competition is basically possible for any breed, because the dogs are classified into groups and classes (Beginner, Class 1 and Class 2) according to size, handicap or age. However, there are two basic requirements: dogs must be at least 15 months old and demonstrate good social compatibility. Aggressive dogs will not be tolerated and will be disqualified.

During a test, your dog must complete several exercises. For this purpose, there is a running scheme for the free-following, which is done via a steward. The steward only gives the handler precise instructions on the day of the test as to which exercise in the course is due and in what order. According to the VDH (Verband des Deutschen Hundewesens - German Kennel Club) test regulations, it is important that the dogs perform the exercises faultlessly and that there is harmonious cooperation between man and dog. For each exercise, your dog can achieve a predefined number of points. Points are deducted, for example, if a dog chews on a retrieve or does not listen to its handler. The time tolerance limit for the test depends on the class to which your dog has been assigned.

Very trendy: Rally Obedience

Also discover the dog sport Rally Obedience, a mix of Obedience and Agility. In contrast to Obedience, Rally Obedience focuses on a course with several stations. You can think of it as a kind of scavenger hunt for dogs that can be played together with the dog owner. At each station you will find symbols and signs explaining what to do and which direction to take next. So there is no need for a steward to indicate the free-flow order here. The beauty of this sport is that communication, such as positive reinforcement and cheering, with your pet is allowed at all times.


Obedience is a valuable activity for you and your dog, because the training sessions and successes not only strengthen your bond, but also keep you fit. In addition, with a successfully passed test you can prove that your pet has basic obedience and can perceive environmental stimuli neutrally. Curious? Try it out together! Many dog schools and clubs in your area offer a combination of courses and exercises to make you and your furry friend a top team.

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