Obedience training may just be the best gift you can give yourself, your family, and your dog. It teaches your dog appropriate social behavior with both people and animals; helps correct annoying behaviors like jumping, digging, barking, and chewing; and keeps your dog entertained, safe, and happy.

Basic Obedience training is a stepping stone to many AKC titles: Canine Good Citizen, Obedience, Rally, Trick Dog, and other competitions that require your dog to understand to your commands.

Taking a class at your local training center is the best way to train your dog in obedience but you can’t rely on classes alone: you have to practice, and while it’s important to practice regularly and frequently, sessions should be short and interspersed with playtime and rewards.

An obedience trial is an event at which dogs and handlers perform exercises as outlined in the American Kennel Club’s Obedience Regulations. Dogs are scored on their performance by AKC-approved judges.

There are three levels of training. Through the Novice Class, dogs earn the Companion Dog (CD) title, through the Open Class, the Companion Dog Excellent (CDX) title; and through the Utility Class, the Utility Dog (UD) title.

Obedience is a fun way to meet others and learn to be a team with your dog. It is recommended that you choose a Certified Pet Dog Trainer (CPDT)

Get Started in AKC Obedience


Rally is a sport for the novice exhibitor to begin competition with their Havanese. It builds on the dog and handler learning to communicate with each other in a more relaxed way than Obedience.

Rally is a form of dog obedience with a twist—a total focus on fun and excitement for the dog, handler, and spectator—the handler-dog team follows a set course, performing the exercise indicated by 10-20 consecutive signs.

Each of these signs provides instructions regarding the next skill that is to be performed. Although each performance is timed, having a good race time is not the goal; it’s all about working as a team while performing the skills, with the dog under control.

There is a lot of variety with each rally course. Ideal for new-to-competition dogs, in a Rally trial handlers may talk to their dogs, praise them, and give them needed verbal commands. This is not only allowed but encouraged – making it a really fun sport!

Get Started in AKC Rally