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Kanawha Obedience Training Club hosting obedience and rally trials this weekend

By Ben Calwell, Metro Reporter
Ruth Rutledge and her dog, Jake, participate in a KOTC obedience and rally trial at the Dunbar Recreation Center. This weekend, April 15-16, the KOTC is hosting its annual obedience and rally trials, which are free to spectators. Photo courtesy KOTC

Well-behaved dogs will be demonstrating their best manners this weekend in Dunbar, as the Kanawha Obedience Training Club hosts its yearly obedience andl rally trials at the Dunbar Recreation Center on Fairlawn Avenue.

The events run from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 15, and Sunday, April 16. The event is free for spectators, who can stop by any time to see dog performances and learn about upcoming dog training classes. Due to space constraints, spectators are asked not to bring their dogs to the event.

Cindy McKee, KOTC’s trial secretary, said there is an obedience trial and rally trial on each day, with the obedience trials starting in the morning, followed by the rally trials in the afternoon.

“Each trial begins with the most complex performance classes and finish with the beginner/novice classes,” McKee said in an email.

There are 44 dogs entered in the obedience trials, with 56 total entries. There are 34 dogs entered in the rally trials, with 44 total entries.

“Some dogs are entered in obedience and in rally, and some dogs are entered in multiple classes in obedience,” McKee said.

The trials are open to all dogs -- purebred and mixed breed. Entered in these trials are a variety of breeds including eight Border Collies, six Golden Retrievers, five Labrador Retrievers and one All-American Dog (mixed breed). Handlers come from West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia and North Carolina.

Spectators will see obedient, well-trained dogs having their abilities tested from the beginner level to the expert level.

“Today’s obedience competitions begin with exercises that attest to the dog’s good manners -- walking on a leash at the owner’s side, standing to be touched by a stranger, sitting and lying down with distractions, and coming when called,” McKee said.

Advanced classes showcase the owner’s ability to train the dog to do a variety of tricks, such as fetching a dumbbell, jumping different obstacles and obeying commands. The commands can be given by voice or by hand.

“The goal is to create a working team, a partnership with both human and canine working in sync,” she said.

Awards are presented to first- through fourth-place finishers in each class.

“The dogs earn ‘legs’ for each qualifying performance, and after earning three legs, they are awarded a title that will follow their official AKC name.”

For example, the title “CD” is awarded for Companion Dog.

“The letters ‘CD’ may be added after a dog’s name when it has been certified by two different judges to have received qualifying scores in novice classes at three licensed or member obedience trials.”

The Kanawha Obedience Training Club is a not-for-profit club founded in 1953 and devoted to providing obedience training to dogs and their handlers and to educating the public concerning dog welfare.

Training has been shown to be the single most important thing that keeps a dog in his or her “forever” home. It is the club’s goal to provide a wide variety of classes so pet owners and competitors can advance as far as they and their dogs wish to go.

KOTC offers two sessions of public training classes each year at the Dunbar Recreation Center. The winter class usually starts the first Sunday after New Year’s Day and the fall classes start the first Sunday after Labor Day.

Learn more about KOTC at or on Facebook.


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