CPT Trainer Karen Smalley Wins Obedience Competitions

Obedience- CPT Trainer Karen Smalley Wins Obedience Competition

CPT Trainer Karen Smalley again proved she is one of the top competition obedience dog trainers in Atlanta and the Southeast by winning both the Utility class and High Combined award at the Peach Blossom Cluster dog show. The Peach Blossom Cluster, hailed as the “largest dog show in the southeast,” was held October 14 – 18 at the Atlanta Expo Center in Jonesboro, GA.

Karen and her 10-year old Border Collie, Bodhi, in their quest to achieve the prestigious and rare OTCH (Obedience Trial Championship) title, entered both the Utility B and Open B competitions.  Utility and Open are the AKC’s highest off-leash obedience levels.

Obedience Victory at The Peach Blossom Cluster


In Utility, Karen and Bodhi scored 196.5 (out of a possible 200) points, which merited first place.  However, despite Karen’s and Bodhi’s prowess, attaining a blue ribbon required the team to persevere through a nail biting moment.

Obedience- CPT Trainer Karen Smalley wins the beautiful (and long) High Combined award at The Peach Blossom Cluster dog obedience trial.
CPT Trainer Karen Smalley wins the beautiful (and long) High Combined award at The Peach Blossom Cluster dog obedience trial.

Bodhi was operating at a near perfect level until the last exercise- scent discrimination.  While sniffing the 9 leather and metal articles Bodhi inadvertently kicked an unscented article atop the scented target article.  Cross-contamination from the contact could have scented both articles, causing a disqualifying error.  Fortunately, Bodhi operated meticulously to separate the 2 interlocked articles, whereby he delightedly returned with the target article.

Yet, Bodhi’s work was not done.  Kicking the article caused a point deduction and a resultant drop in score to 196.5.  Another competitor also achieved a 196.5.  Since there are no ties in AKC obedience, to achieve first place Bodhi had to win a run-off.   Clutch moments are when champions truly shine to produce stellar results.  Karen and Bodhi proved they are champions. During the run-off Karen and Bodhi performed flawlessly to earn a blue ribbon and 4 OTCH points.


In the Open B class Karen and Bodhi figuratively knocked it out of the park with a score of 198.5.  However, another competitor scored a 199, which moved Karen and Bodhi to second place. Still, second place in Open B amongst 9 competitors, with a score above 197, gained Karen 1 additional OTCH point.

The OTCH title is highly distinguished.  First, a dog must secure both an Open and a Utility title, which is a huge accomplishment.  Then, the dog must compete, place, and win in numerous Open B and Utility B contests.

In 2019 the AKC bestowed only 75 OTCH titles in the entire United States and in 2018 only 70 OTCH titles.  Procuring an OTCH requires years of hard work and success by accumulating 100 or more OTCH points, plus at least 2 victories in each of Utility B and Open B competitions.

The amount of OTCH points depends upon placement, score, and the number of competitors a team defeats in each competition.  Thus, winning a large trial containing 20 entrants gleans more points than winning a small event with only 4 teams.

Karen and Bodhi now have 95 out of the required 100 OTCH points, including 6 victories in Utility and 10 in Open.  Once receiving those 5 additional points, Bodhi’s formal pedigree name will receive the laudatory embellishments CH Holther’s Gold Mine OTCH UDX OM3 GO RE.

Obedience Victory and 2 High in Trials in UKC Events

Obedience- CPT Trainer Karen Smalley Wins Obedience Competition
CPT Trainer Karen Smalley wins 2 High in Trial ribbons at a recent UKC obedience competition.

To add figurative icing to the cake and to show versatility, Karen and Bodhi also competed in multiple United Kennel Club (UKC) trials.  In September, Karen and Bodhi entered 2 Open-level UKC competitions and won both times with scores of 198.5 and 199.  Moreover, not only did they win their class, they obtained the celebrated High-In-Trial (HIT) award in both events!

Training Your Dog with Karen!

If you want your dog to achieve similar obedience mastery, we welcome you to enroll in any of the group obedience classes or private lessons Karen teaches at the CPT-Sandy Springs Training Center.







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