Basic obedience training teaches your dog good manners and acceptable behavior. Obedience training also teaches the dog to look to you, the owner, for guidance. Dogs are pack animals, and you should always be your dog’s leader. Shelties have a high degree of willingness to please their owners and are generally quick to learn.
The Canine Good Citizen (CGC) program is an AKC certification program that rewards dogs familiar with basic obedience training. Dogs that pass the CGC test receive a certificate from the AKC.
Obedience trials offer the challenge of competition for those interested in more intensive training. Dogs are scored on their accuracy in performing various exercises that demonstrate their ability to follow the directions of their handler, from heeling and sitting at the most basic level, to retrieving, scent discrimination, and obeying hand signals at more advanced levels.
Shelties are always among the top performers at obedience trials because of their intelligence, working ability, and willingness to please their owners.
To find an obedience trial in your area, you can contact a local ASSA member club or search the AKC’s events database. Many ASSA member clubs hold specialty obedience trials, and the ASSA National also runs a Sheltie-only trial every year.
The AKC has an excellent guide to getting started in obedience. The obedience pages at the AKC website are a comprehensive source for obedience information. You can also obtain a free copy of the AKC publication, Obedience Regulations, by emailing the AKC.