The Companion Dog Excellent title is the second or middle level of obedience training, between the “Companion Dog” and “Utility Dog” levels. It is also referred to as “Open” obedience.
A dog earning this title can add the “CDX” suffix to his official AKC name. To earn this title a dog must properly perform five individual exercises, as well as two group stay exercises (done with the handlers out of sight for this level!).
Heel Free –The dog and handler performs an off-leash heeling pattern which includes fast/slow/normal paces, turns and halts (as in the previous level, the dog must sit in the heel position at each halt). The team then completes a Figure 8 around two people as the 2nd part of the exercise.
2. DROP ON RECALL–the dog is left on a sit/stay at one end of the ring, the handler walks to the other side of the ring and on the judge’s command calls or signals the dog to come, then commands or signals the dog to drop (down) partway along the return at the judge’s signal. The dog is then called the rest of the way to the handler.
3. RETRIEVE ON FLAT–the dog waits beside the handler while he/she throws a dumbbell about 20′ away, then is sent to retrieve it. The dog returns to the front of the handler and continues to hold the dumbbell until the handler asks for its release (all at the command of the judge), then goes back into the heel position when commanded/signaled.
4. RETRIEVE OVER HIGH JUMP–basically the same as the former retrieve, except that the dog must go over a jump (most dogs jump their height, but bulldogs being a heavier-bodied breed are allowed to jump 3/4 their height)
5. BROAD JUMP–the handler leaves the dog on a sit/stay, while he/she walks over to the side of the broad jump (which consists of a low, wide jump that spans double the distance of the high jump height), then sends the dog over the jump (no cutting corners, stepping on boards, etc.) where they land, then come back around towards the handler (who has now turned to face their dog)…sorry, no photos of this one!
And, finally, the dogs are brought back into the ring for Group Stays, which include a Three-Minute Sit, followed by a Five-Minute Down, all done with the handlers out of sight. Dogs are set up approximately 3-4′ apart along one side of the ring (this can be up to 12 dogs, depending on the size of the class), handlers place their dogs in the appropriate position at the command of the judge, then leave them on a stay while they file out of the ring to a place that is out of sight of their dogs. The dog is “released” briefly between exercises, only after the handler has returned to heel position and the judge has called “Exercise Finished”.
As in any of the other levels, a dog must pass every exercise earning at least 170 out of the possible 200 points–and perform it all on the first command/signal from their handler. It takes three qualifying scores to earn a title.