Combined Specialty Obedience Trial Process and Procedure

Some breeds have fewer obedience exhibitors participating in their trials than others. These clubs want to offer obedience, but may be faced with the problem of considerable expense for a few exhibitors. By combining the obedience entries of several clubs, expenses can be shared and exhibitors have the opportunity to earn legs towards their obedience titles.

The Companion Events staff is always looking for ways to encourage obedience and to help clubs host obedience events. The following guidelines describe how you can pool the obedience entries from individual specialties together and use one judge!

Things to keep in mind when setting up a Combined Specialty Obedience Trial:
  • There is no special paperwork required - each club sends in their usual trial application naming the obedience judge;
  • The Combined Specialty Obedience Coordinator makes sure that when entries are combined, the total does not exceed normal judging limitations;
  • A separate judge's book must be kept for each breed, even though the dogs can be judged together;
  • Awards are given by breed, and no awards can be given that include or require competition between the breeds.
Checklist for hosting a Combined Specialty Obedience Trial

Step 1
A Combined Specialty Obedience Coordinator from the host or coordinating club is named. This is an official position within the Combined Specialty Show Committee.

Step 2
The Coordinator meets with all specialty clubs who wish to participate in the Combined Specialty Obedience Trial.

Step 3
Participating clubs decide upon judge(s) to be used for obedience.

Step 4
Participating clubs agree upon order of judging by breed. For example, Pugs will be first in each class, followed by Dachshunds, Beagles, Keeshonden, etc. Another suggestion might be to have the order of judging arranged by jump heights.

Step 5
Each club applies to AKC for their show dates and submits their judging panel, including obedience, as they would normally do.

Step 6
The Coordinator develops a rough-planning schedule based on entries from previous years. The AKC Companion Events staff is available to assist with this planning, if necessary.

Step 7
The Coordinator meets with show chairman, obedience chairman, and show secretaries/superintendents of participating clubs to discuss hypothetical scheduling. This minimizes confusion at the time entries close.

Step 7a
The Coordinator provides show chairman, obedience chairman, and show secretaries/superintendents with the numbers for armbands that they are to use for obedience. Numbers will be allocated so that there will be no overlap in numbers among the participating breeds.

Step 8
Entries close on the common closing date (standard procedure at combined specialties).

Step 9
Show secretaries/superintendents call the Coordinator with obedience entry information.

Step 10
The Coordinator develops a composite judging schedule for obedience.

Step 11
The Coordinator sends each show secretary/superintendent, show chairman, and obedience chairman a judging schedule for all of the breeds. This schedule will be printed and become the judging schedule for all of the breeds in obedience.

Step 12
Show secretaries/superintendents mail judging schedules to each breed entry, as usual.

Step 13
Show secretaries/superintendents will prepare obedience judge's books for each class for which their breed has an entry.

Step 14 - Day of Show/Trial
The Coordinator will have a minimum of three stewards (four are recommended) for each obedience ring, one of whom will be responsible for coordinating ribbons, judge's books, and other tasks that are specifically related to a Combined Specialty Obedience Trial.

Step 15 - Day of Show/Trial
The Coordinator will deliver trophies, ribbons, armbands, a catalog, and judge's books for each breed to the appropriate obedience ring. The respective specialty club will supply rubber bands and other standard stewards' materials.

Step 15a - Day of Show/Trial
The Coordinator provides each participating specialty club with a bill showing their share of the judge's expense/fee and a separate bill for any other shared/pro-rated expenses.

Step 16 - Day of Show/Trial
Judging begins
Example of Open Class B:
3 Pugs (followed by)
1 Dachshund (followed by)
2 Beagles (followed by)
3 Keeshonden

Each dog will be judged and individual scores recorded in the respective breed's judge's book (4 books).

For the group exercises all four breeds will be judged in one group. If there are more dogs competing than can be spaced four (4) feet per dog on one side of a ring, some must be judged in another group. The judge will divide the class into equal sections and the group exercise will be judged after each section.

Following completion of group exercises, the judge will complete the judge's books for all Open B dogs. Ribbons and awards will then be awarded by breed. The Coordinator will return judge's books to the appropriate show secretary/superintendent.

Step 17 - Day of Show/Trial
Judging begins for the next scheduled class, with same judge.

Step 18 - Day of Show/Trial
High In Trial and High Combined Awards (Open B and Utility) are determined and awarded by breed, as are all other breed specific special awards.

Step 19 - Within One Month Of Show/Trial
The Coordinator calls a meeting of all participating clubs for an evaluation session and solicits recommended changes for future events.