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A Great Next Step After CGC — The AKC Obedience Title of of Beginner Novice/ Companion Dog

If your dog has received the AKC Canine Good Citizen (and perhaps also the AKC CGCA) title, you may have asked “What’s next?”  One answer could be the AKC Beginner Novice obedience title.

The Beginner Novice class is a great “next step” for CGC dogs since it works on advancing the skills your dog has already learned – Walking nicely on a leash, acting mannerly while being petted, performing a stay and coming when called.

And now, ALL dogs, including mixed-breeds, are eligible to compete in AKC Obedience trials through AKC Canine Partners.

Beginner Novice is an optional titling Obedience class. All exercises are conducted with dog on leash with the exception of the recall. The Heel on Leash pattern is established with Rally signs, and handlers are allowed to give one verbal encouragement.

Exercises are:

  1. Heel on Leash 40 points

  2. Figure Eight 40 points

  3. Sit for Exam 40 points

  4. Sit Stay 40 points

  5. Recall 40 points

  • Maximum Total Score: 200 points

  • Dogs must qualify with a score of 170 or better three times to receive the BN title, which goes at the end of the registered name.


“Starting with the BN class should be encouraged for beginner dogs. “

This is for many reasons including:

  • It is only 5 exercises and they are all of equal value.

  • It is on leash. Oh how wonderful and comforting that is as you later find out.

  • You are the only team in the ring the whole time so you only have to think about the two of you.

  • You have a variation of exercises from the short Rally course for the heeling pattern, then onto the other exercises.

NOVICE

. Novice A Class.

The Novice A class shall be for dogs that have not won the CD title. A handler must own the dog entered or be a member of the owner's household or immediate family and may not have previously handled any dog that has earned an AKC Novice, Open, or Utility title. Owners may enter more than one dog in this class. The same person who handles the dog in the first four exercises must handle the dog in the group exercises; however, if a person has handled more than one dog in the first four exercises that will participate in the group exercises, that person must provide a handler for the additional dog in the same group exercises. The additional handler for the group exercises need not be a member of the owner's household or immediate family.

No dog may be entered in both Novice A and Novice B at any one trial.


Novice B Class.

The owner or any other person may handle dogs in this class to earn a CD title. Owners may enter more than one dog in this class. The same person who handles the dog in the first four exercises must handle the dog in the group exercises; however, if a person has handled more than one dog in the first four exercises that will participate in the group exercises, that person must provide a handler for the additional dog in the same group exercises. No dog may be entered in both Novice A and Novice B at any one trial.

Novice Exercises and Scores.

The exercises and maximum scores in the Novice classes:

1. Heel on Leash and Figure Eight 40 points

2. Stand for Examination 30 points

3. Heel Free 40 points

4. Recall 30 points

5. Long Sit 30 points

6. Long Down 30 points

Maximum Total Score

200 points


.Companion Dog Title.

The letters CD may be added after the name of each dog that has been certified by two different judges to have received qualifying scores in Novice classes at three licensed or member obedience trials. That dog will receive a Companion Dog certificate from the AKC.


Heel on Leash and Figure Eight. The principal feature of this exercise is the ability of the dog and handler to work as a team.

Orders for this exercise are "Forward," "Halt," "Right turn," "Left turn," "About turn," "Slow," "Normal" and "Fast." "Fast" means that the handler must run, and the handler and dog must move forward at a noticeably accelerated speed. All about turns will be right about turns.

Orders for halts and turns will be given only when the handler is moving at a normal speed. The other orders may be given in any sequence, and turns and halts may be repeated. However, the judge should standardize the heeling pattern for all dogs in the class.

The leash may be held in either hand or in both hands, but the hands must be held in a natural position. Any tightening or jerking of the leash and use of any extra commands and/or signals will be penalized.

The handler will enter the ring with the dog on a loose leash and stand with the dog sitting in the heel position. The judge will ask if the handler is ready before giving the order "Forward." The handler may give a command or signal to heel and will walk briskly and naturally with the dog on a loose leash. The dog should walk close to the handler's left side without swinging wide, lagging, forging or crowding. The dog must not interfere with the handler's freedom of motion at any time. At each order to halt, the handler will stop. The dog shall sit straight and promptly in the heel position without command or signal and shall not move until the handler again moves forward on the judge's order. After each halt, it is permissible for the handler to give a command or signal to heel before moving forward again. The judge will say "Exercise finished" after this portion of the exercise.


For the Figure Eight, the handler will stand and the dog will sit in heel position facing the judge, midway between the two stewards, who will stand 8 feet apart. The Figure Eight in the Novice classes will be done on leash; the handler may go around either steward first. After the judge asks "Are you ready?" and gives the order "Forward," the handler and dog will walk briskly around and between the two stewards twice. There will be no about turn, fast or slow, but the judge must order at least one halt during this exercise and another halt at the end.

Heel on Leash and Figure Eight,

Scoring. If a handler is constantly controlling the dog by tugging on the leash or is adapting to the dog's pace, that dog must receive a non-qualifying (NQ) score for the exercise.

Minor or substantial deductions, depending on the circumstances, will be made for additional commands or signals to heel or for failure of dog or handler to speed up noticeably for the fast or slow down noticeably for the slow.

Substantial or minor deductions shall be made for lagging, heeling wide, forging, crowding, poor sits, failure to sit at a halt and other heeling imperfections. Deductions should also be made for a handler who guides the dog with the leash or does not walk at a brisk pace.

While scoring this exercise, the judge should be near enough to observe any signals or commands given by the handler to the dog without interfering with either.

Stand for Examination.

The principal feature of this exercise is that the dog stand in position before and during the examination without displaying resentment. Orders are "Stand your dog and leave when you are ready," "Back to your dog," and "Exercise finished." On the judge's order, the handler will remove the leash and give it to a steward, who will place it on the judge's table or other designated place.

The handler will take their dog to the place indicated by the judge and on the judge's order will stand/pose the dog by the method of the handler's choice, taking any reasonable time if they choose to pose the dog as in the show ring. The handler will then stand with the dog in the heel position, give the command and/or signal to stay, walk straight forward about 6 feet, and then turn and face the dog.

The judge will approach the dog from the front. Using the fingers and palm of one hand, the judge will touch the dog's head, body and hindquarters. On the order "Back to your dog," the handler will walk around behind the dog and return to the heel position. The dog must remain standing until the judge has said "Exercise finished."

Stand for Examination,

Scoring. The scoring of this exercise will not start until the handler has given the command and/or signal to stay, except for such things as rough treatment by the handler or active resistance by the dog to its handler's attempts to have it stand. Either of these will be penalized substantially.

A dog must receive a non-qualifying (NQ) score if it sits or lies down, moves away from the place where it was left either before or during the examination, or growls, snaps or displays resentment.

Minor or substantial deductions, even to the point of a non-qualifying (NQ) score, will be made for shyness. Minor or substantial deductions will be made for a dog that moves its feet at any time or sits or moves away after the examination has been completed.

Heel Free,

Performance and Scoring. This exercise will be performed as in the Heel on Leash but without either the leash or the Figure Eight. The scoring and orders will be the same.

Recall. The principal features of this exercise are that the dog stay where left until called by the handler, and that the dog responds promptly to the handler's command or signal to come. Orders are "Leave your dog," "Call your dog," and "Finish."

On order from the judge, the handler may give a command and/or signal to the dog to stay in the sit position. The handler will then walk forward to the other end of the ring, turn to face the dog, and stand with the arms and hands hanging naturally. On the judge's order or signal, the handler will either command or signal the dog to come. The dog must come directly, at a brisk trot or gallop and sit straight, centered in front of the handler. The dog must be close enough to its handler so that the handler could touch its head without excessive bending, stretching or moving either foot. On the judge's order, the handler will give a command or signal to finish. The dog must go smartly to heel position and sit. The manner in which the dog finishes will be optional, provided it is prompt and that the dog sits straight at heel.

Recall,

Scoring. A dog must receive a non-qualifying (NQ) score if it is given an additional command and/or signal to stay, if it fails to come on the first command or signal, if it moves from the place it was left before being called or signaled to come, or if it does not sit close enough to its handler so that the handler could touch its head without excessive bending, stretching or moving either foot.

Substantial deductions will be made for a handler's extra command or signal to sit or finish and for a dog that fails to remain sitting and either stands or lies down, fails to come at a brisk trot or gallop, fails to sit in front, or fails to finish or sit at heel.

Minor or substantial deductions will be made for slow or poor sits, for finishes that are not prompt or smart, for touching the handler on coming in or while finishing, and for sitting between the handler's feet.

Group Exercises.

The principal feature of these exercises is that the dog remain in the sitting or down position, whichever is required by the particular exercise.

Orders are "Sit your dogs" or "Down your dogs," "Leave your dogs," and "Back to your dogs."

If a dog has non-qualified in an individual exercise and, in the opinion of the judge the dog demonstrated uncontrolled behavior, the judge must release the dog from performing the group exercises. Dogs must be spaced with a minimum of four (4) feet between each dog on one side of the ring.

Dogs must be spaced a minimum of four (4) feet from the ring barrier.

If there are more dogs competing than can be handled in one group exercise, the judge will divide the class into approximately equal sections, and the group exercise will be judged after each section.

If the same judge judges both Novice A and Novice B and the combined class would not have to be divided into equal sections, the two classes may be judged in one group.

The dogs that are in the ring will be lined up in catalog order along one of the four sides of the ring. Each handler's armband, weighted as necessary, will be placed behind their dog.

Before starting the Long Sit, the judge will ask if the handlers are ready.

When the judge gives the order, the handlers will command and/or signal their dogs to sit if they are not already sitting. On further order to "Leave your dogs," the handlers will give a command and/or signal to stay and immediately will go to the opposite side of the ring, turn and face their dogs.

In Novice the judge must promptly instruct the handler to remove any dog that interferes with another dog. Any dog that leaves the place where it was left during the first group exercise must be excused from the remaining group exercise.

After one minute from the time the judge has ordered the handlers to leave their dogs, the judge will give the order to return. The handler must go back promptly, walking around and in back of their own dog to the heel position. The dogs must not move from the sitting position until after the judge has said "Exercise finished." This order will not be given until the handlers are back in heel position.

Before starting the Long Down, the judge will ask if the handlers are ready. On the judge's order, the handlers will command and/or signal their dogs to down without touching either the dogs or their collars so that the dogs are facing the opposite side of the ring. The rest of this exercise is done in the same manner as the Long Sit except that the judge will order the handlers to return after three minutes and the dogs must not move from the down position until after the judge has said "Exercise finished. Put your leash on your dog. Maintain control of your dog."

The dogs will not be required to sit at the end of this exercise.

The handlers are required to exit the ring with their dogs under control.

Group Exercises,

Scoring. A non-qualifying score (NQ) is required for the following: The dog moving a substantial distance away from the place where it was left any time during the exercise, going over to any other dog, not remaining in the required position until the handler has returned to heel position, and repeatedly barking or whining.

A substantial deduction will be made for a dog that moves even a short distance from where it was left, that barks or whines only once or twice, or that changes from a sit to a down or from a down to a sit after the handler has returned to the heel position and before the judge has given the order

"Exercise finished."

Depending on the circumstance, a minor or substantial deduction will be made for touching the dog or its collar while getting the dog into the down position.

A dog that is out of position enough to interfere with an adjacent dog must be repositioned by its handler and will be substantially penalized. In extreme cases the dog may be excused. A dog that interferes with another dog on the first group exercise must be excused from participating in the remaining group exercise.

During these exercises the judge will stand so that all the dogs are clearly visible and where the judge can see all the handlers in the ring without having to turn around.

Scoring of the exercises will not start until after the judge has ordered the handlers to leave their dogs except for such things as rough treatment of a dog by its handler or resistance by a dog to its handler's attempts to make it sit or lie down. These will be penalized substantially; in extreme cases the dog may be excused.

The judge will not give the "Exercise finished" order until the handlers have returned to heel position.


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