If you'd like to pursue some form of dog competition with your collie, obedience competitions are one of the best choices. Collies often excel at obedience trials due to their intelligence and eagerness to please.
If you'd like to put your collie in obedience trials, begin with basic obedience training and socialization first. While collies will usually master the commands quite easily, it is important to remember their natural temperaments and fears before putting them into the ring.
Collies do not like loud noises and can be skittish of strangers. To make your collie a true champion, you'll need to ensure that your dog is appropriately prepared for the show ring. Early socialization with people and with other dogs will help him to be comfortable around the dogs and people he'll encounter in the show ring. It's also wise to spend some time acclimating him to noisy situations. Though dog shows are typically fairly quiet events, you never know when a dog might bark or get a bit out of hand. As an owner, you want to ensure that your dog's behavior will be predictable in unexpected circumstances.
During obedience competitions, your Collie will compete in one of three categories: novice, open or utility. According to the AKC regulations, there will be the following expectations at each level:
* - For the dog just getting started in obedience.
Heel on Leash and Figure Eight - show whether the dog has learned to watch its handler and adjust its pace to stay with the handler.
Heel Free - done off leash.
Stand for Examination - is of great benefit when the dog needs hands-on care by a veterinarian.
Recall - provides the handler with the ability to call the dog and get an immediate response at all times.
Long Sit (1 minute) - allows the handler to have control of the dog when visitors come to the home.
Long Down (3 minutes) - dog must remain in a down position.
- The second level includes more complicated exercises, some of which may be given by hand signals. Exercises include:
Heel Free and Figure Eight - Same as Novice, but off leash.
Drop on Recall - can be a lifesaving command for a dog, since it gives the handler control in potentially dangerous situations.
Retrieve on Flat
Retrieve Over High Jump
Long Sit (3 minutes) - similar to the long sit in Novice, but the position must be held for a longer period of time with the handler out of the dog's sight.
Long Down (5 minutes) - dog must remain in a down position.
- The third and highest level of obedience competition. Exercises include:
Signal Exercise - shows the dog's ability to understand and correctly respond to the handler's signal to stand, stay, down, sit and come. No voice commands are given; only hand signals are allowed.
Scent Discrimination - shows the dog's ability to find the handler's scent among a pile of articles.
Directed Retrieve - proves the dog's ability to follow a directional signal to retrieve a glove and promptly return it to the handler.
Moving Stand and Examination - the dog must heel, stand and stay as the handler moves away. The dog must stay and accept an examination by the judge and return to the handler on command.
Directed Jumping - the dog must go away from the handler, turn and sit. Then, the dog must clear whichever jump its handler indicates and promptly return to the handler.