Fun activities to enjoy with your dog

AKC Canine Good Citizen® (CGC) Program

Started in 1989, CGC is a certification program that is designed to reward dogs who have good manners at home and in the community. The Canine Good Citizen Program is a two-part program that stresses responsible pet ownership for owners and basic good manners for dogs. All dogs who pass the 10-step CGC test may receive a certificate from the American Kennel Club.

Many dog owners choose Canine Good Citizen training as the first step in training their dogs. The Canine Good Citizen Program lays the foundation for other AKC activities such as obedience, agility, tracking, and performance events. As you work with your dog to teach the CGC skills, you'll discover the many benefits and joys of training your dog. Training will enhance the bond between you and your dog. Dogs who have a solid obedience education are a joy to live with-they respond well to household routines, have good manners in the presence of people and other dogs, and they fully enjoy the company of the owner who took the time to provide training, intellectual stimulation, and a high quality life. We sincerely hope that CGC will be only a beginning for you and your dog and that after passing the CGC test, you'll continue training in obedience, agility, tracking, or performance events.

BOTC offers CGC testing by AKC-approved Evaluators, available upon request.


The basic objective of obedience trials 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. Obedience trials demonstrate the dog's ability to follow specified routines in the obedience ring and emphasize the usefulness of the dog as a companion to man.

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!


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.

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.

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. Unlimited communication from the handler to the dog is to be encouraged and not penalized. Unless otherwise specified in the Regulations, handlers are permitted to talk, praise, encourage, clap their hands, pat their legs, or use any verbal means of encouragement.

While BOTC currently teaches the AKC-style Rally curriculum, mixed breeds are equally welcome in our classes. Mixed breeds are allowed to compete in APDT sponsored competitions.


Agility is a dog sport in which a handler and their dog work as a team through an obstacle course consisting of jumps, tunnels, weave poles and other obstacles in a race for both time and accuracy. Dogs run off-leash with no food or toys as incentives and the handler's controls are limited to voice, movement, and various body signals, requiring exceptional training of the animal and coordination of the handler.

All dogs begin AKC agility competition at the Novice level. Each handler sets their own goals in agility. Some handlers just want to have fun and build a working relationship with their dog while others strive to achieve the ultimate title of Master Agility Champion (MACH). Agility strengthens the bond between dog and handler.

The AKC is now allowing mixed breed dogs to compete in agility trials. The BOTC hosts two AKC agility trials yearly, one in Summer and one in Winter. We do not currently offer agility classes at our facility; however, we will be happy to refer you to an agility instructor in the local Birmingham area.


Dog shows, or "conformation" events, are the signature events of the AKC. They concentrate on the distinctive features of purebred dogs and help to preserve these characteristics by providing a forum at which to evaluate breeding stock.

Exhibits are judged against individual breed standards, which have been established for the AKC-recognized breeds by their parent clubs. These written standards describe the ideal size, color, and temperament of each breed, as well as correct proportion, structure, and movement.


These are just some of the many enjoyable dog sports available.  If you require assistance finding additional resources, please contact us.

© 2010 Birmingham Obedience Training Club
421 Red Lane Road - Birmingham, AL.