There are various competitive disciplines that have an obedience component. E.g. IPO, Working Trials (Classic), Canine Good Citizen. However, not everyone is interested in competing with their dog, with some prefering to stick to social obedience. The non-competitive classes are focussed on having a happy, well adapted family dog that is sociable and obedient.
In these obedience classes, my main objective is to ensure that both the handler and dog are having fun. Leaning new exercises (or brushing up on existing ones) should be enjoyable experience for both parties. The dogs learn self control in the stationary exercises (sit, stand and down stays). Once they’ve mastered this, the dogs tend to be more relaxed, as they are doing something apart from the handler, and yet are still working as a team. Walking on a loose lead in heel position is another exercise that we practise regularly. The dog needs to learn that being next to his owners left leg is a good place to be, as it then earns a reward, usually in the form of a tasty treat. The dogs must stay focussed on their handler, and not get distracted with other dogs are nearby.
Retrieve is generally enjoyed by both handlers and dogs, and is a good way to exercise your dog whilst introducing an element of control. The dogs need to run out and pick up an article thrown by their handler, and then return and release the toy when asked to. This can take a bit of time, as the dogs do not always want to give up the toy after having fetched it.