Working Trials

By admin Posted in Advanced, Updated posts /

Working Trials

Originally Working Trials were based on training dogs for police work, but now Working Trials are purely a competitive sport. They develop and test many canine skills – obedience and control, intelligence and independence, searching and tracking, agility and fitness.

In spite of some changes over time, the training remains physically demanding and both dog and owner need to be healthy and fit. Trials always take place in open fields and are run right through the year. The tracking exercises, in particular, are usually spread over a relatively large area of land. Weather conditions, wind and type of terrain play a very important part in success or failure. Preparing a dog to be able to compete successfully requires considerable time and training but can, at the same time, be great fun and extremely rewarding.

Almost any dog of any breed can take part in Working Trials, provided they are fit and healthy. Although some exercises make allowances for the size of the dog competing, smaller dogs are not normally able to cope with the agility exercises due to the height and size of the equipment involved. However, it does not have to be for competition, it can be for development and enjoyment.

Any Kennel Club registered dogs (Pedigree or non-pedigree) can take part, but they must be 18 months old before they can compete in a Working Trial.

Working Trials can be divided into three main sections:


Nosework consists of search and track exercises.

In ‘search’ the dog has to find and retrieve articles containing human scent that is placed in a marked, square area. This must be done in a set time without mouthing the articles.

Tracking’ requires the dog to follow a track laid by a stranger according to a pre-determined pattern designed by a judge on grassland or ploughed fields etc. As the dog follows the track it has to seek out and recover articles placed along the track.


To test a dog’s agility it must clear three obstacles.

The Clear jump height depends on the dog’s height at the withers and can be up to 60 cm/3 ft. in height for large breed dogs. The Long jump similarly can vary up to 1.4 m/ 9 feet in length and the “A” Frame (Sloping Stockade) can reach a height of 1.5 m.

When the dog has completed the clear jump or the long jump it must remain in a nominated, controlled position until the handler joins the dog.

Control consists of the following:

Heelwork The dog must walk closely next to the handler, as if on patrol, past people and around obstacles, at different speeds as directed by the judge. This exercise must be done, both on- and off lead. Extra commands & encouragement will not be penalised,

Send Away involves sending the dog away across a distance of at least 50 m/ yards. The dog must stop on command and follow instruction up to its return to the handler.

Retrieving a dumbbell – The dog must retrieve a dumbbell that has been thrown by the handler.

Down Stay – the dog must stay in the down position while the handler is out of sight for a period of up to 10 min.

Steadiness to Gunshot (Police dog)

Speak (Police dog)


WORKING TRIALS consists of Different Classes

CD  Companion Dog (See article in website)

TD 1 Tracker Dog 1

TD 11 Tracker Dog 2

TD 111 Tracker Dog 3

PD Police Dog

Veterans Trial is open to any dog aged Seven (7) years or more which has previously attained at least one (1) of the above trials.


In Working Trials there are many exercises with many component parts to be expertly taught and to be mastered by the dog. The handler must not only have a good understanding of how to teach each part but the dog must also have the desire to do an exercise.

Dogs will be judged on willingness and enjoyment while doing an exercise.

Gentleness and smoothness of handling is important.

No physical disciplining of dogs is allowed

The offering and carrying of FOOD is strictly forbidden.

Working side is on the LEFT only

Commands can be spoken or whistled or can be in the form of a hand signal.

The use of the Dog’s name is not compulsory.

Comments are closed.

Copyright © 2002 - 2014 Jan Meyer (all rights reserved) | Website by : imediate.web.