Irish Setter Club of Ohio



When you get your Irish Setter puppy you’ll of course want to end up with a well-trained dog who listens to your commands. For these reasons many new puppy owners take their new family member to puppy kindergarten class and then onto basic obedience class. If you and your dog enjoy the training and bonding experience you can go onto competitive obedience classes and learn the exercises required for AKC Obedience Trials. Many Irish Setters excel and thrive on the training involved in competitive obedience! Even with their fun loving personalities they still enjoy pleasing their owner and getting the praise (and cookies!) for a job well done. Next time you are at an AKC show make sure to check out the obedience competition- you just might decide it’s something for you and your redhead to try!

Reprinted from the AKC website:


Obedience Trials test a dog’s ability to perform a prescribed set of exercises on which it is scored. In each exercise, you must score more than 50 percent of the possible points and get a total score of at least 170 out of a possible 200. Each time your dog gets at least a 170 qualifying score, he’s earned a “leg” toward his title. Earn three legs and your dog has just earned an obedience title! There are 3 levels at which your dog can earn a title and each is more difficult than the one before it. The classes are divided into “A” and “B” at an obedience trial; “A” classes are for beginners whose dogs have never received a title and “B” classes are for more experienced handlers.

The best part of watching a trial is to see the close bond that has developed between the dog and handler. Their total concentration on the task at hand gives way to the sheer delight of accomplishment that can be seen on the faces of both – and in the wag of a tail.

Experience the ultimate in companionship and teamwork. Taste the thrill of competition. Join a training class and participate in obedience trials. It is lots of fun, and your dog will love you more for it!




Obedience trials are a sport, and all participants should be guided by the principles of good sportsmanship both in and out of the ring. Obedience trials demonstrate the dog’s ability to follow specified routines in the obedience ring and emphasize the usefulness of the purebred dog as a companion to man. All contestants in a class are required to perform the same exercises in substantially the same way so that the relative quality of the various performances may be compared and scored. The basic objective of obedience trials, however, is to recognize dogs that have been trained to behave in the home, in public places and in the presence of other dogs in a manner that will reflect credit on the sport of obedience at all times and under all conditions. The performance of dog and handler in the ring must be accurate and correct according to the Obedience Regulations. It is also essential that the dog demonstrate willingness and enjoyment while it is working and that a smooth and natural handler be given precedence over a handler moving with military precision and using harsh commands.


Rally has become a very popular AKC event in the short time it has been a recognized title-earning event. The more relaxed atmosphere makes it a great venue for our happy-go-lucky Irish Setters and their owners to get a start on the sport of obedience. Since the first level (Rally Novice) is done entirely on leash it is also a great place to get your feet wet and decide if you want to train for the higher levels of obedience with your redhead. Once you earn your Rally Novice title the leash comes off as you work towards the Rally Advanced, Rally Excellent and Rally Advanced Excellent titles.

More info on Rally – Reprinted from the AKC website:


It is a fun event for both dog and handler and you will see many non-traditional obedience breeds competing in the Rally ring. A qualifying score is 70 and the highest score is 100. The runs are timed but time is only used to break a tie. Come out and give it a try with your redhead! There are many clubs offering Rally practice and class now since it is a very popular and growing AKC sport!

Rally is a sport in which the dog and handler complete a course that has been designed by the rally judge. The judge tells the handler to begin, and the dog and handler proceed at their own pace through a course of designated stations (10 – 20, depending on the level). Each of these stations has a sign providing instructions regarding the next skill that is to be performed. Scoring is not as rigorous as traditional obedience.

The team of dog and handler moves continuously at a brisk, but normal, pace with the dog under control at the handler’s left side. There should be a sense of teamwork between the dog and handler both during the numbered exercises and between the exercise signs; however, perfect “heel position” is not required. Any faults in traditional obedience that would be evaluated and scored as a one-point deduction or more should be scored the same in Rally, unless otherwise mentioned in the Rally Regulations. After the judge’s “Forward” order, the team is on its own to complete the entire sequence of numbered signs correctly.

Unlimited communication from the handler to the dog is to be encouraged and not penalized. Unless otherwise specified in these Regulations, handlers are permitted to talk, praise, encourage, clap their hands, pat their legs, or use any verbal means of encouragement. Multiple commands and/or signals using one or both arms and hands are allowed; the handler’s arms need not be maintained in any particular position at any time. The handler may not touch the dog or make physical corrections. At any time during the performance, loud or harsh commands or intimidating signals will be penalized.

Rally provides a link from the Canine Good Citizen® (CGC) program to obedience or agility competition, both for dogs and handlers. In addition, rally promotes fun and enjoyment for dogs at all levels of competition

More info on Rally – Reprinted from the AKC website:

Scroll to Top