Our Classes

Basic Obedience skills are something every dog should have. Not only does it make your life easier but it helps your dog to understand what you want from him or her, reducing stress for both of you. Obedience is about learning to communicate with your dog to help prevent undesirable behaviours from forming.

the facts

Our classes run for 7 or 8 classes per term, for four terms per year.

Each term costs $60 (plus your yearly membership fee of $40).

Which Class Should I take?

To help you decide which class is right for you and your dog have a look at our Quick Reference Guide or scroll down for Class Descriptions.

Quick Reference Guide

Please note: You can switch training streams at any time once the appropriate (pre-requisites) have been met.

*You must have approval to enrol in Intro to Comp Obedience from Puppy or Dom 1 - email [email protected] to speak with an instructor. 

Class descriptions

Click to expand each section


Puppy Class

A gentle introduction to the world of dogs and dog training. Give your pup the best start in life with some basic obedience, acclimatization, socialization and fun!

There is a huge amount to learn about puppies during our 8-week course. Most puppies will form a basis for all future behaviour by the time they are about 16-20 weeks old. Amongst other things, this course will cover sitting, toilet training, walking & recall, socialising, bonding and having fun, preventing separation anxiety, jumping and bite inhibition.

Entry pre-requisite:  if your dog is ​aged 12 weeks - 6 months, and had their 2nd vaccination more than 2 weeks ago, then this is the class for you.

If your pup is around the 6 month mark and you're unsure whether to do Puppy or Domestic 1, come to one of our information nights to have a chat, or send us an email: [email protected].  

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Domestic Obedience

Domestic Obedience is a wonderful way to teach your household pet some basic obedience commands while strengthening your bond with your dog. It is a less formal, less precise form of Competition Obedience. Domestic Obedience classes get progressively more difficult as you work your way through the three grades. And they're fun for both you and your dog!

Some of the things you will learn are:

Sit, down, stand
Good temperament
Comfortable Grooming
Accepting a friendly stranger
Food manners
Loose-lead walking
Controlled play
Supervised separation
Stays and waits
...and much, much more.

Domestic 1 (entry pre-requisite: dog must be 6 months or older)
A dog that is great to be around, and have around you – polite, attentive and obeying basic commands – we aim to give you the skills and knowledge to help you achieve this. Course includes sits, downs, stays, loose-lead walking and food manners. All training is done on lead.

Domestic 2 (entry pre-requisite: Domestic 1)
Now it’s time to work on improving response time to commands, control when walking and longer stay times, along with coping with distractions. Including meeting others, recalls, controlled play. All training is still on lead. With a pass in Dom 2 you can do a CG Basics Assessment, allowing you early entry into CGC Foundation.

​Domestic 3 (entry pre-requisite: Domestic 2)
In Dom 3 we work on smart responses to commands, including good loose lead walking and heel work, longer stays, recalls off leash, stand-stays, all while coping with distractions. With a pass in Dom 3 you can enter CGC Foundation or Intro to Rally-O.

Domestic 4 (entry pre-requisite: Domestic 3 or equivalent)
Takes your obedience skills to the next level, with advanced heel work, working at a distance, retrieves and tricks.

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Canine Good Citizen

Titahi Bay Dog Obedience Club is a recognized training provider for the nationwide Purina Pro Plan Canine Good Citizen™ programme which tests dogs in simulated everyday situations.  It identifies and rewards dogs that have the training and demeanour to be reliable family members and good-standing community members.

Canine Good Citizen™ (CGC) training is fun and useful. Through it, you and your dog will establish a closer bond and your dog will have the added benefit of knowing how to please you. The test of your dog's manners and training is not a competition and does not require that you and your dog perform with precision.

To sit a CGC test dogs have to have been taught by a CGC registered club. Below is an example of what you and your dog need to train towards to be able to pass a CGC test:

Appearance and Grooming
Food manners
Accepting Friendly Strangers
Walking in a controlled manner with distractions and through people
Stay tied up with owner both insight and out of sight
Control around other dogs
As well as written questions about owning a dog and responsibilities

Entry pre-requisite: CGC is open to all dogs over 12 months of age and all breeds:

CGB - Canine Good Basics is a free assessment we offer to handlers who have passed Dom 2 and are keen to work towards Canine Good Citizen qualifications. The course materials required to study can be downloaded on Dogs NZ web site: Canine Good Basics.

​CGC - Foundation + Bronze, Silver + Gold classes cover theoretical and practical aspects of dog ownership, looking at appearance and grooming, food manners, meeting friendly strangers, controlled walking with distractions and crowds, tie-ups with owner in-sight and out-of-sight, control around other dogs, off-leash recall, send-to mats and working at a distance.

For further information on CGC, please visit the Dogs NZ Purina Pro Plan CGC website.

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You and your dog are a team. They are part of your family. You do so much together – go for walks, play, veg out, go on holiday.  So think of the fun you’d have showing off what a great team you are at a Rally-O event!

Rally Obedience (also known as Rally or Rally-O) is best described as a combination of obedience and agility and is suitable for all ages of dogs and people. It is ideal for young and old dogs, as young dogs can learn more in a relaxed environment, and old dogs can keep active whilst not overdoing it.

Rally-O is a dog sport based on Competition Obedience. It was originally devised by Charles L. "Bud" Kramer from the USA, in 2000, from the Obedience practice of "doodling" — doing a variety of interesting warm-up and freestyle exercises. Because of its versatility it soon spread into Europe with Switzerland adopting it in 2002. In New Zealand there are two providers of Rally-O, offering slightly different classes - New Zealand Association of Rally Obedience (NZARO) and Dogs New Zealand (DNZ).

DNZ offers standard Rally-O where the dog and handler team navigate a course of 10 or more stations. Each station has a numbered sign which directs the team to perform an exercise, such as sit then walk around dog, figure 8, send over jump, send around pole, serpentines, spirals, changes of pace, etc. The number and difficulty of the exercises depends on the level being worked at.

NZARO offers Standard Rally, Zoom and Handy Dog options. In Zoom there are no stationary signs so the course is non-stop activity. In Handy Dog more agility-type signs and obstacles are introduced. These include the labyrinth, ladder, weave, tunnel and raised pivot just to name a few.

Rally-O promotes fun and enjoyment in the training of dogs for handlers of all levels of experience. It provides interest and the opportunity to acquire a variety of skills, and also provides something for the older dog that may no longer be able to pursue more active sports such as agility. It can improve your understanding and relationship with your beloved dog!

In our classes we try to combine the element of fun with the serious element of skill acquisition. We break the Rally-O signs down into their component parts and teach the skills needed to master each sign. We teach the dogs to be confident to approach new learning and everything is done through positive reinforcement.

Entry pre-requisite: Our Domestic 4 class introduces some Rally signs to whet your appetite, so when you have completed Dom 4, come and give our Introduction to Rally-O a go!  You can also enter if you have good heel-work skills from another sport or other competition training (email us to arrange special approval).

​For further information, please visit the Dogs NZ Rally-O website.

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Competition Obedience

Competition Obedience is a great foundation for all dog sports. It is like brain-gym for dogs (and handlers!). It is especially good for high drive dogs, but ALL breeds of dogs can succeed in obedience.

We start training the foundations very early on, as puppies. It does take a commitment to regular training and becoming a ‘thinking trainer’, to keep up with your ‘thinking dog’. It’s all about increasing and perfecting skills, while making it fun for you and your dog. We use rewards-based training, and it can have great benefits in increasing your dog’s bond with you and learning to work as a team.

As well as valuable underlying skills like focus, engagement, and the ability to work around other dogs, there are specific exercises that we train for. Perfect close-heeling on and off lead, recalls, stays, retrieves, and at higher levels (though we start with the foundations of these behaviours early on) scent discrimination, send-aways, and more challenging heelwork skills.

Competition heeling is a completely different skill to loose-lead walking.

Entry pre-requisite:

You can join Introduction to Competition Obedience classes from puppy age or older. If you are joining from our Puppy or Dom 1 class, or from outside the club you must have approval first - email us at [email protected].  Coming from all our other classes, you can enter directly by enrolling online.

You can join an Intermediate Competition class if you have already completed an Introductory class (or have good skills with close heel-work from another sport or competition training) AND are competing at Elementary level . If in doubt, check in with your Introduction to Competition instructor, there may need to be an assessment before you start class.

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Competition events are split into seven classes from Elementary to Test C. Dog Obedience shows are held at dog clubs across New Zealand throughout the year and are a great chance to socialise with other people keen to get the best out of their dogs.  Competing is voluntary, but great fun, so we encourage you to have a go!

Obedience Competitions are events that are open to all breeds and crossbreeds with the goal being an Obedience Champion, and ultimately to win an Obedience Grand Champion title.

When you first start competing there are tests especially for new competitors: Elementary 1 and 2. They are all on lead, so even less confident dogs and handlers can give it a go, and maybe go home with a ribbon.  Everyone will be at about the same level as you and your class instructor can help you every step of the way, from how to enter, to collecting and helping you understand your points at the end of the show. The level you will start with is Ribbon Trials and the class you will first be entering is Elementary.

Here are the levels through which you progress, along with the entry criteria for that level and the exercises that you must complete to pass (points are deducted from the maximum points for each error made):

Eligibility: ​ Handlers and dogs that have not won two qualifying first prizes in Beginners with any dog.
Maximum Points: 75
Test Exercises:
  • Heelwork on and off the lead with right, left and about turns.
  • Recall from a sit or down position to the handler, dog sitting in front then go to heel (off the lead).
  • Stays off lead - sit (1 minute) and down (2 minutes) with the handler facing the dog.
  • Handler may talk to and encourage the dog except in stays.
Eligibility:  Dogs that have not won two qualifying prizes at Novice level or above.
Maximum Points: 100
Test Exercises:
  • Heelwork on and off the lead with right, left and about turns.
  • Recall from a sit or down position to the handler, dog sitting in front then go to heel (off the lead).
  • Retrieve (dumbbell).
  • Stays off lead - sit (1 minute) and down (2 minutes) with the handler facing away from the dog.
  • Handler may talk to the dog except in stays.
Test A
Eligibility: ​ ​Dogs that have not won four qualifying first prizes in Test A level or above.
Maximum Points: 145
Test Exercises:
  • Heelwork on and off the lead with combination turns (about turn right turn), right-hand or left-hand circle.
  • Handler cannot talk to the dog in the heelwork except to give the command to Heel when moving off and Sit when halting.
  • Recall from a sit or down position and handler to recall dog to heel and continue with dog until ordered to halt (specific variations in the recall are permissible).
  • Retrieve (dumbbell).
  • Stays off lead - sit (1 minute) with the handler facing away from dog and down (5 minutes) with handler out of sight.
  • Scent exercise where the dog detects the handler's cloth from up to 12 cloths and presents it to the handler.
Test B
Eligibility: Dogs that have not won a total of four qualifying first prizes in Test B or Test C.
Maximum Points: 225
Test Exercises:
  • Heel Free at fast, slow and normal pace off the lead with only the command to heel when moving off allowed, more complex turns and circles are included.
  • Send-away exercise is added where the handler sends the dog to a marked area and commands them to go down, approaches the dog, about turns and then calls the dog to heel.
  • Retrieve (dumbbell).
  • Stays - stand (one minute) with handler in sight and facing away, sit (2 minutes) and down (5 minutes) handler out of sight.
  • Scent exercise where the dog detects the handler's cloth from up to 12 cloths (including two decoy cloths) and presents it to the handler.
Test C
Eligibility: ​ Open
Maximum Points: ​300
Test Exercises:
  • Heel Free work at fast, slow and normal pace off the lead with only the command to heel when moving off allowed, more additional complex turns and circles are included.
  • In addition the dog must achieve three positions (sit, down and stand) on command in the heelwork.
  • Send away, drop and recall where the handler sends the dog where directed by the judge, drops the dog and then recalls dog to heel.
  • Retrieve of article provided by the judge.
  • Distant control exercise is added where, from approximately 10 paces away, the dog is commanded to attain six positions.
  • Stays - sit (2 minutes) and down (5 minutes) handler out of sight.
  • Scent exercise where the dog detects the judge’s scent on a cloth from up to 12 cloths (including two decoy cloths) and presents it to the handler.

For further information please refer to the Dogs NZ Obedience website.


Scentwork is a fun search and scenting activity suitable for virtually all dogs and people. No specialist skills are required; just a keen interest in learning with and from your dog.

Scentwork harnesses the dog’s keen sense of smell; a dog’s sense of smell is more than 10,000 times more powerful than our own. Scentwork or nose work games offer your dog a fun way to use their natural talents and it’s an easy way to keep them entertained.

The benefits of teaching your dog nose work include: 

  • Fun way to give your dog more mental stimulation
  • Gives your dog extra physical stimulation
  • Builds your dog’s confidence
  • Gives your dog a job to do
  • Easy way to bond with your dog
  •  Fun & rewarding for dogs

Scentwork starts by teaching the dog scent imprinting; we want the dog to recognise the scent and show a change in behaviour. This will shape into an alert - a clear indication that the dog has located the source of the scent.

Entry pre-requisite: Dogs must be imprinted first.

When: Our scentwork classes are currently NOT RUNNING. We may run some imprinting sessions in the future - watch our website and Facebook page for details. 

Find out more about scentwork classes on the Dogs NZ website.

Your data will only used for the purposes of membership and enrolment at Titahi Bay Canine Obedience Club.