HEELING OFF LEASH (all levels)
The handler walks a predetermined pattern with their dog in a heel position. The pattern will include a left turn, a right turn, an about turn, and two stops. The handler must commit the pattern to memory.
ABSENCE OF HANDLER (all levels)
The handler leaves the dog in a down or a sit (the sit position is optional in the level III routine) and goes out of sight for one minute. While the handler is out of sight, a visual or auditory distraction will be given and the dog must remain indifferent and in the same place and position in which he was left.
SEND AWAY (all levels)
The handler will send the dog away from them and toward a barrier at a distance of 20, 30, or 40 meters (level I, II, or III, respectively). The dog must cross a line before being recalled by their handler.
POSITIONS (all levels)
The handler will leave their dog in an obedience position (sit, down, stand) determined by the judge and stand 5, 10, or 15 meters away from them (level 1, II, or III, respectively) and task them to change positions with a single command per position. The dog is challenged to stay in place and neither move forward nor backward when changing positions.
REFUSAL OF FOOD (all levels)
The handler leaves the dog in a spot indicated by the judge and leaves the dog. A field hand throws food toward or presents food to the dog, and the dog must not eat the food. When the handler returns, they must often walk past the food and are unable to eat it.
RETRIEVE OF A THROWN OBJECT (all levels)
In this exercise, the handler will be given an object that they must throw 5 meters and then send their dog to retrieve the item and return it to them. The dog must pick up the item and return it to their handler within 15 seconds. The item will never be unsafe for a dog to grab or hold, but can be nearly anything provided it is under 1kg and of safe material.
SEARCH FOR AN OBJECT (levels II and III)
Often referred to as the scent discrimination exercise, handlers are given a wooden dowel at the start of the trial that they can scent with their hands. At the start of the exercise, the handler places the dowel in the spot determined by the judge and unscented dowels are placed in the same vicinity. The dog is then tasked with not only finding the exact spot where the handler placed the dowels, but also retrieving the dowel with his owner’s scent. The dog must complete this task within one minute.
PALISADE (optional at levels I and II, mandatory at level III)
The palisade is a wooden wall with a ramp on the back. The wall is adjustable from 1.8m to 2.3m (level I: 1.8m, level II: 1.8-2.1m, level III: 2.2-2.3m) and the dog must be sent one way over the wall.
LONG JUMP (optional at levels I and II, mandatory at level III)
The long jump is a low jump that extends from 3.0-4.0m (level I: 3.0m, level II: 3.0-3.5m, level III: 3.5-4.0m). The dog must be sent one way over the length of the jump.
HURDLE (optional at level I, mandatory at levels II and III)
The hurdle is a jump that ranges from 1.0-1.2m (level I: 1.0m, level II: 1.0-1.1m, level III: 1.1-1.2m). The dog must be sent both ways over the height of the jump.
FACE ATTACK WITH BATON (levels II and III include an obstacle)
In this exercise, the decoy faces the dog and challenges them with the baton as they run toward them down the field. The decoy’s opposition increases with each level. In levels II and III, the dog must jump over an obstacle to reach the decoy and they cannot try to avoid it. The dog must recall off the bite to their handler.
FACE ATTACK WITH ACCESSORIES (levels II and III)
In this exercise, the decoy faces the dog and challenges them with accessories (objects that the decoy handles that are meant to impress upon the dog. They can vary but must be penetrable and non-injurious to the dog). The dog must recall off the bite to their handler.
FLEE ATTACK (all levels)
In this exercise, the decoy runs from the dog and the dog must chase them and bite them from behind. Once the dog is biting, the decoy fires two shots on a blank gun. The dog must recall off the bite to their handler.
STOPPED FLEE ATTACK (level III)
This exercise looks like a flee attack and the handler must not cue the dog that it isn’t. The decoy runs from the dog and the handler must recall the dog prior to their making contact with the decoy. Points are awarded, in part, based on the distance the dog is from the decoy at the time they were recalled.
SEARCH AND ESCORT (levels II and III)
This exercise is two parts and the second relies on the successful completion of the first. In the first part, the dog is escorted off the field while a decoy that they have already bitten hides on the field. The decoy must be accessible to the dog but there are few limitations on where the decoy can hide and the position he can be in within the hide. The dog must search for the decoy within 2-3 minutes (the judge determines the time based on the difficulty of the hide) and bark at the decoy maintaining vigilance until the handler calls the decoy out of the hide. The first exercise includes the search, the dog finding the decoy and “holding” them with vigilance, and the owner calling the decoy out of the hide.
The second part of the exercise includes the decoy moving around the field with the decoy following him vigilantly and the decoy making three attempts to escape from the dog. The decoy’s aim is to gain distance from the dog in his attempts to escape, and in two attempts to escape they may use obstacles on the field to do so. After each attempted escape, the handler must cue the dog to stop biting and the dog must stay vigilant on the decoy.
DEFENSE OF HANDLER (all levels)
This is one of only two exercises that may include the use of multiple decoys (up to three, but often two). In this exercise, the decoys will move the dog and handler through a scenario that is along the theme of the trial. They provide instructions to the handler that the handler must follow without speaking, and will try to taunt the dog or lure the dog away from his handler. The dog must stay with his handler throughout the exercise, and at a particular time in the scenario, one decoy will assault the handler with an audible hit with two hands for two seconds. This is the only time the dog is permitted to bite the decoy and separate from the handler.
After the dog bites, the handler must command the dog to stop biting after the judge instructs them to do so. The dog must remain with the decoy and stay vigilant for 5 seconds before the handler recalls them.
GUARD OF OBJECT (level III)
This is the second exercise that may include multiple decoys. In this exercise, the dog is left on an object while the handler goes out of sight. The dog’s task is to guard the object and bite the decoy when the decoy is within 2m, let go before the decoy retreats, and return to the object. The decoys make three attempts to make the dog fail at its task by: leaving the object early (with the decoy outside of the 5m mark), not biting the decoy when he is within proximity and allowing the decoy to touch the object, allowing the decoy to steal the object and carry it outside of the 5m distance, or enticing the dog to stay biting the decoy while the decoy walks him past the 5m mark.