Obedience is important, but what exactly should your dog know? I am a big fan of obedience, it is a way for us to communicate with out dogs without having to man handle them. There are a few body positions that are important and rules they need to know. Obedience is a vague word in itself and there are many meanings. The first dictionary definition is: the act of obeying; dutiful or submissive behavior with respect to another person. This pretty much sums it up I think.
I speak more of behavior rather than obedience now and use the term obedience more for the military style competitive aspect of behavior. I definitely want my dogs to listen to me and teaching them to take a certain body position when linked with a verbal cue is important. The first and most important of course is the "come" behavior. Others that they should definitely know and comply with are sit, down, stay and wait. These to me are the bare minimum which every dog should understand and be able to perform.
I do not like to see dogs being controlled by physical means. Yes, there are always going to be times where you need to control your dog physically. But in general you should be able to control your dog verbally or vocally without relying on the physcial grab. This is only achieved with alot of repetition, training without distractions and working up to high distractions. Stay is one of the most important and one that most people don't really train to perfection. Many people tell their dog to stay but in their head they don't expect it. All behaviors need fine tuning over the years as most dogs tend to slip when we tend to get slack.
Rules are the same; taught and learned through repetition. Rules are more unspoken but taught the same. I have alot of rules, no jumping out of the car until told to do so, no jumping on the couch unless invited, no boltint out an open door etc. These have all been ingrained into my dogs heads and yes every so often they forget themselves and are rereminded of the rules.
By teaching body position verbal cues and rules you can communicate with your dog without the need of physical control, nice.