Working Trials

If you want to do Working Trials, just about any dog of any breed of can take part in Working Trials, provided your dog(s) are fit and healthy.  Any Kennel Club registered dogs (pedigree or non-pedigree) can take part, but they must be 18 months old before they can compete at Working Trial(s).

Working Trials are physically demanding for both dog and handler, but are also great fun and extremely rewarding.

Working Trials are a competitive sport which develop and test many canine skills:

  • Obedience and control
  • Intelligence and independence
  • Searching and tracking
  • Agility and fitness


When doing Working Trials tests, the tests are normally broken down into three sections:

1.  Nosework

    Nosework is where the dog has to do a search and track exercises. Dogs follow a track laid by a 'tracklayer'  who walks a set pattern designed by the judge.  Thease set patterns are identical for each dog doing this test. Normally tracks are laid on grassland, arable fields / heathland where each competitor works on the same terrain as all the others taking part in the stake.
    When a dog do this test, the tracklayer would have placed some items along the track which the dog has to search for and then recover these items.    Another nosework test is where the dog has to search for and retrieve articles placed in a marked area.


2.  Agility

 To test the dogs agility, it must clear three obstacles - a three foot hurdle, a six foot high wooden scale and a nine foot long jump. The dog will be allow 2 attempts for each of the obstacles.

3. Control

  In the control section shown below there are various exercises in this section :

  Heelwork - the dog must walk reasonably close to the handler while the handler navigates its way around obstacles and people going at different speeds at different speeds.

  Sendaway - The handler will be sending the dog away across a minimum distance of 45m where the handler must then redirect the dog through a series of commands.

  Retrieving a Dumb-bell - The handler will throw a dumb-bell which the dog must retrieve.

  Down Stay - The dog must stay in the down position while the handler is out of sight for a specified period of time.  

  Steadiness to Gunshot - The dog will be tested on its reactions to gunshots being fired. The dog will be penalised if it shows any signs of fear / aggression.

  Speak - The dog will be ordered to "speak" and the stop "speaking" on command by the handler with a minimum of commands and/or signals.

Training for Working Trials and preparing your dog  to compete successfully will require considerable time and training.

If you also do Obedience and Agility will benefit both you and your dog especially as your dog will be competing off-lead.

Working Trials require perseverance and some hard work.  All levels of competing are rewarding for the handler and its dog.