Competition Obedience


Kathy Lang has developed a competition obedience program that has produced many of the top working dogs in the nation, and her specialty is working with non-traditional obedience breeds trained by first-time handlers. Our students have earned titles and high scores and many “firsts” in their respective breeds.

The FDTC philosophy towards competition obedience is based on the belief that any dog and any handler can learn the exercises to earn the CD, CDX and UD titles with nice scores, and those handlers who want to work a little harder can go on to earn High Scores and advanced titles such as the UDX and OTCH. Competition obedience trainers find themselves enjoying a wonderful new hobby as they train their dogs through advanced exercises such as hand signals, jumping, directional retrieving and scent discrimination. Well-mannered dogs with reliable off-leash control are a wonderful benefit from this training program.

The detailed approach to training results in a dog-to-owner relationship and understanding that cannot be described…it can only be experienced. It takes about a year to train a dog through the most advanced exercises, and an additional few months to a year to do the final polishing and preparation to go into the ring. This approach to training may take a little longer in the beginning, but the result is a better trained Novice dog who can go right into Open and Utility, and a well-prepared handler who feels comfortable and confident when they step into the ring. These classes not only teach you and your dog everything you need to know to earn titles, they also help you develop a deeper understanding of dogs and how best to communicate with them.

The classes are sequential, with each building on the previous session’s material. Students coming from other training centers or programs should contact us to arrange a private lesson to evaluate their knowledge and the best fit into our series.

Be sure to read the About Us section of this website for more information on our training philosophy and general information about our various programs.

You can find upcoming competition classes by following this link.

Class Descriptions:

Attention, Foundation and Footwork (OC1):

For dogs with basic control on leash. (Out-of control dogs & those with significant behavior problems should take Beginning Home Obedience before this class.) Class introduces heeling with attention, fronts & finishes, sit, down, stand and come, plus footwork. Bring the dogs on any collar and leash the first week. Bring food treats the dog REALLY likes.

Advanced Attention and Footwork (OC2):

Continuation of previous class with ongoing work to overcome distractions. Class works on the finer points of heeling with attention and footwork. Dogs learn to solve problems and figure out how to succeed as the drop-on-recall and utility hand signals are introduced.


Positive method of teaching any dog to retrieve, whether it is a natural retriever or not! Developed by Kathy Lang, this approach is based on behavior modification. It’s fascinating to watch the dogs learn how to “push the button” and “open the cookie dispenser.”

Beginning Open (OC4):

This class continues working on the retrieve and introduces jumping. High, bar and broad jumps are introduced at low heights. Ongoing work with signals and drop-on-recall.

Continuing Open(OC5):

A continuation of the previous class.

Beginning Utility(OC6):

Directed retrieve, moving stand, scent articles, go-outs, directed jumping and hand signals are all part of the utility curriculum.

Continuing Utility(OC7):

A continuation of the previous class.

Heeling, Fronts and Finishes(OC8):

This is where heeling really comes together. The handlers learn how to reduce the amount of food rewards used and lengthen the dog’s concentration between them. Heeling off leash is introduced. Various techniques for accurate fronts and finishes are reviewed.

Beginner Novice Coursework (BN1):

Beginner Novice is an optional AKC title. This class goes over the different exercises making up this title. Heel on leash to rally signs, figure eight, on leash sit for exam, sit stay- handler walks around dog and the 25 foot recall without dog finishing.

Rally Obedience: (RA1)

Rally is a newer form of obedience being offered. Handlers & dogs perform a pre-set course (maps and signs) of heeling and obedience commands. The novice level is entirely on leash. Advanced and Excellent are off leash and include jumping.

Workshops and Seminars:

Kathy Lang regularly offers workshops and seminars on subjects of interest to competition trainers. Our home page lists upcoming seminars and workshops.

Ten Minute Tickers:

Family Dog “invented” the concept of ten minute tickers, a fun match where every exhibitor gets equal time in the ring. Our home page lists upcoming TMT’s.

Private Lessons:

The Family Dog staff is always available for private lessons to help with specific issues. Follow this link for more information on Private Lessons.

If you’re interested in a Competition Obedience class and we don’t have any available classes on the schedule, please fill out the wait list.

Obedience Equipment:

Dogs at the Gardens Obedience Equipment