Obedience training is important in developing a good relationship with your Portuguese Water Dog and for teaching basic manners, self-control and attention.
Obedience training is the process of teaching a dog a series of commands such as "sit", "stay", "heel" or "fetch". Although basic obedience training is important for all dogs, some dogs and trainers go on to showcase their teamwork at competitive obedience trials. At these trials, dogs are judged by how quickly and accurately they perform specific obedience exercises. Obedience training is also important as a basis for water work, as most of the PWDCA water exercises incorporate obedience skills. There are three levels of competition in AKC obedience, and two different classes: A and B. The A classes are for handlers who have never competed in obedience, while the B classes are for seasoned competitors.
Novice Level (AKC Title: CD)
This level is for the dog just starting in Obedience. Novice includes on-leash heeling and figure 8, stand for exam, recall to handler, off-leash heeling, and sit and down stays with the handler in sight. Dogs earn the Companion Dog (CD) title when certified by three different judges to have received qualifying scores in the Novice classes.
Open Level (AKC Title: CDX)
This level includes off-leash heeling and figure 8, drop on recall, retrieve dumbbell on the flat, retrieve dumbbell over high jump, broad jump, and out of sight long sit and long down stays. Dogs earn the Companion Dog Excellent (CDX) title when certified by three different judges to have received qualifying scores in the Open classes.
Utility Level (AKC Title: UD)
This advanced level includes signal exercises, scent discrimination articles, directed retrieve, moving stand and examination, and directed jumping. Dog earns the Utility Dog (UD) title when certified by three different judges to have received qualifying scores in Utility classes.
Utility Excellent Level (AKC Title: UDX)
A dog earns the Utility Dog Excellent (UDX) title when they have received qualifying scores in both Open B and Utility B on the same day at 10 separate trials.
Obedience Trial Champion Title (OTCH)
Requirements for the Obedience Trial Champion include the dog winning:
A first place in Utility B with at least three dogs in competition
A first place in Open B with at least six dogs in competition
An additional first place under the conditions of 2 or 3 above
All three first places under three different judges
Only one of the required first places may have been won at a specialty show.
*Obedience Trial Championship points are recorded for dogs that have earned a first, second, third or fourth place ribbon competing in the Open B or Utility B class, according to the schedule of points established by the AKC.
How to get Started
When bringing a puppy into your family start with a puppy kindergarten or puppy socialization class at a local training club. This will teach you the skills to train your puppy to develop manners, learn basic obedience skills, and socialize them to other dogs, people and places, and helps you to understand how to effectively communicate with your puppy and develop a working bond. Some training clubs offer the AKC Puppy Star evaluation after completion of puppy class.
The next step is beginning and intermediate level obedience classes to further develop your skills as a handler, and your dog’s basic skills and attention. After completing basic obedience you might want to test you and your dog with the A.K.C. Canine Good Citizen test. Once basic training and certification is complete there are many sports and activities available to you and your dog.