Advanced Classes

After graduating from a Basic Obedience class, there are many fun things you can do with your dog at CTA. In addition to advanced Obedience classes and a series of Agility classes, CTA offers the following classes too:


Rally is the newest AKC dog sport.  Fun and energizing, Rally is often considered a stepping stone from basic obedience to competitive obedience and Agility.

A Rally course includes ten to twenty stations with an exercise at each station.  Handlers can communicate with their dogs through voice or signals as much as they want.  Judges look for a strong sense of teamwork as the dog and handler work through the course.  The main objective is to train dogs to behave in the home, in public, and around other dogs in a manner that will reflect well on the owner.

Beginner level teams work on lead, while Advanced and Excellent level dogs are handled off-lead.  Rally stations include exercises such as heeling, halts and turns, calling the dog front and finishing left or right, moving side step heeling, spiral, figure eight, moving down, stand, pivot, back up, progressing to jumps, and honor exercises. For more information about Rally, see the American Kennel Club’s Getting Started page.

Students who have completed a basic obedience class are eligible for the Rally class.  Whether you plan to compete or not, rally is a fun class that also improves communication between dog and handler.  Each week class will experiment with new exercises and courses.  Classes are often full because everyone enjoys them so much. Rally is offered at both the Beltsville and Davidsonville locations.


Canine Freestyle is a modern dog sport that is a mixture of obedience training, tricks, and dance that allows for creative interaction between dogs and their owners. The sport has developed into competition forms in several countries around the world and is frequently spotlighted on talk shows and featured in amazing online videos. Dogs love it!

Freestyle Skills

This class will introduce students to the basic steps of Freestyle and methods of developing an original choreographed routine.  Beginners will learn new moves with their dogs, such as pivots, moving diagonally, moving backward and forwards, jumping, weaving, rolling, spinning, and bowing. More advanced students will work on the technical and artistic development of these skills.
Students will explore possibilities in choreography and music.  Our experienced instructors will explain the requirements for competing in the Canine Freestyle Federation (CFF) and the World Canine Freestyle Organization (WCFO).

Prerequisite: Dogs must demonstrate basic obedience skills including heeling, attention, and the ability to work around other people and dogs.

Freestyle I (Advanced Competition Freestyle)

This class is a choreography workshop for more advanced students. The majority of the class will be devoted to developing and refining individual routines. Students are expected to observe and help each other in a positive way.  Additionally, the class will work on pair and team routines.  Students will be competing with their routines in the higher levels of CFF and WCFO.

Prerequisite: Dog must have at least one freestyle title in either CFF or WCFO.


Freestyle classes are free for CTA members and classes run continually.


A dog whose structure and appearance conforms closely to its individual written breed standard is said to have good conformation.  Dogs compete for the best conformation against other dogs of their breed in AKC conformation shows. Handling a dog in one of these shows looks easy, but is carefully calculated to show the best attributes of the dog. For more information about conformation shows, see the AKC Conformation website.

Handling Class

The handling class teaches students how to show a dog to its best advantage in the AKC conformation ring.  Students learn about etiquette and rules of the ring.  Experienced instructors explain the complex AKC point system.

Students will learn the basics of posing their dogs squarely for the judge to observe. This includes “hand stacking” where the handler kneels next to the dog and gently moves the feet into position, and “free stacking”, where the handler stands in front of the dog and the dog is free to stand in a comfortable position.

Students will practice “Gaiting” so the judge can observe the movement and structure of their dogs while moving, and will practice holding their dog’s attention while they are being examined by a stranger.  The class will cover baiting, where food is used to hold the dog’s attention, and the importance of grooming.