Creating a Competition Dog

Essential Components:

  • The dog must focus on the handler at all times

  • The dog must be mentally balanced (happy)

  • The dog must be committed to its work (concentration)

  • The dog must be correct in its work (precision)

Overall Objective:

To create a really confident, outgoing and balanced dog ready for competition. 

This doesn't happen by accident.

There are key elements for the creation of a really good competition dog.

Training and Trial Preparation:

  1. Training has to be fun - there's only you and your dog on this journey. If neither of you are having fun, then training is going to become a grinding chore and the outcome is quite predictable. This is serious work but don’t forget the enjoyment

  2. Have a training plan - it takes time, patience and wisdom to achieve success with a dog. When you train, don't get ahead of yourself. Stick to your training plan and remember your dog is not a machine.

  3. Understand and accept your dog's temperament - Know your dog's temperament. It will determine the training system that you will use throughout the various stages of your training. Accept that your dog is not perfect, work with what you've got. 

  4. Always train with someone who’s better than you – it keeps you motivated, educated & humble

  5. Train what you can't do - don’t keep training what you can do! - constant repetition might make you feel good but it will bore the heck out of your dog. Work on your weaknesses

  6. Use a camcorder or mobile phone - record your training sessions. You'll become your best coach and your strongest critic. What you see on the screen is exactly what the Judge will see on Trial day. Learn to love watching yourself on video replay.


The Handler:

  • Must know and understand the rules of the Trial they are entering

  • Must truly understand the temperament of their dog

  • Must use a training system that suits their dog’s temperament

  • Must learn to control their nervous system to help settle their dog when competing in the Trial

  • Must be consistent in the application of their pack/ownership rules

  • Must always apply these pack rules at home and in training


Your Training System:

  • The right training system will build confidence into your dog

  • A confident dog becomes mentally balanced, concentrated and determined

  • Success will always follow


Training Your Dog:

  • Make your training sessions fun

  • Keep your training sessions short and concentrated

  • Keep your training sessions simple

What do I mean by “keeping it simple”?

  • Teach a new exercise in a manner that’s so simple, the dog can’t get it wrong

  • Break the exercise down into its most basic components - teach each one separately then link them together 

  • Remember, if the exercise is too complicated, the dog will get confused and make mistakes


Stationary Positions – Sit/Drop/Stand/Stay/Sit-in-Front/Left & Right-side Finish

            (All stationary positions are taught in this order)

  • Step 1 – the How - teach the dog how to correctly execute the exercise (reward based training)

  • Step 2 – the Where - teach the dog the exact position in relation to your body

  • Step 3 – the Commands - teach the dog the commands (voice, hands, body) once the dog is moving fluidly

  • Step 4 – the Speed - teach the dog the speed you want the exercise executed