News and Updates
March 4, 2014
Your 2014 Obedience Advisory Committee
The American Kennel Club Companion Events Department is pleased to announce an Obedience Advisory Committee meeting will be held in the summer of 2014.
The fancy will be solicited for input concerning recommended changes to the current AKC Obedience Regulations. Your recommendations for obedience will be accepted from March 5, 2014 through April 11, 2014.
The following committee members were selected based on their experience and expertise as judges, club members and exhibitors.
2014 Obedience Advisory Committee Members
We encourage you to show your support for the sport of Obedience by submitting your recommendations, thoughts, and ideas for change during the solicitation period, after which time the submission process will close. All recommendations can be submitted at http://www.tfaforms.com/316413.
All submissions that are received during this time period will be presented to the committee for review. After the conclusion of the committee meeting, all recommendations moving forward will be published on the AKC web site for review and comment by the fancy for 30 days.
February 21, 2014
The following recommendations were presented to the AKC Board of Directors at the February 2014 meeting and were to address the concerns of dog-on-dog attacks in the Group Exercises. Incidences of this nature are rare in obedience group exercises – there have been two in the past three years. Nevertheless, the situation is quite disturbing for the sport. Many owners are naturally concerned. The Companion Events Department felt it was prudent to review the Regulations and Guidelines to insure that all reasonable steps were being taken to minimize this type of occurrence.
- If a dog has non-qualified in an individual exercise and, in the opinion of the judge the dog demonstrated uncontrolled behavior, the judge must release the dog from performing the group exercises. (Chapter 3, Section 12 and Guidelines Chapter 3)
- Dogs must be spaced with a minimum of 4 feet between each dog. (Chapter 3, Section 12)
- Require that dogs be under control while entering and exiting the ring. (Chapter 3, Section 12)
- Judges must stand with their full attention on the dogs and remain alert for potential problems. (Guidelines, Chapter 3)
- In Novice group exercises, the judge must promptly instruct the handler to remove a dog that interferes. (Chapter 3, Section 12 & Guidelines, Chapter 3)
- In Graduate Novice and Open classes, if a dog leaves the place where it was left during the group exercise, the judge has the option of either asking that the handler be recalled to remove the dog or promptly instructing the steward to remove the dog, depending on the nature of the occurrence. The judge’s decision shall be guided by consideration for the safety of all involved. Two stewards must assist the judge and both stewards must be provided slip leads to remove a dog. (Chapter 4, Section 15 & Guidelines, Chapter 2 and Chapter 3)
- At the conclusion of a group exercise, the judge will state: “Exercise finished. Put your leash on your dog. Maintain control of your dog.” (Chapter 3, Section 12)
- If a judge observes any signs of aggression or potential problems with the dogs as they are assembling for the group exercise, the judge must excuse the dog. (Guidelines, Chapter 3)
As a result, the Obedience Regulations and Judges’ Guidelines have been amended by the AKC Board of Directors. These changes are meant to increase the safety of dogs participating in Obedience Group Exercises and are effective May 1, 2014. Please view the regulation changes in detail at the following link.
July 1, 2013
Pre-Open and Pre-Utility Classes *The jump height is to be set at ½ the height of the dog at the withers, rounded to the nearest multiple of 2 inches. The Broad Jump will cover a distance equal to twice the height of the High Jump setting for each dog.
For example: In the Pre-Open Class a dog jumping a 10" High Jump would have the Broad Jump set at 20", to cover a distance equal to twice the height of the High Jump setting.
1) The eligibility requirements for the Graduate Novice and Graduate Open classes were changed to allow a dog to remain in the current class after earning the associated title for as long as the owner desires. (Effective January 1, 2013)
The changes to the Regulations are as follows:
Obedience Regulations, Chapter 8, Graduate Novice Optional Titling Class
Section 1. Graduate Novice Class. The Graduate Novice class shall be for all dogs.
Obedience Regulations, Chapter 10, Graduate Open Optional Titling Class
Section 1. Graduate Open Class. The Graduate Open class will be for all dogs.
2) The requirement that clubs licensed for obedience and rally must hold their rally trial concurrently with their obedience trial has been modified. Clubs may hold their rally trial within one year of their approved Obedience event. Clubs would still be restricted to holding no more than one rally trial per approved obedience trial where all regular classes are offered.
In addition, clubs will be allowed to format their rally trial in the manner that they feel works best. A club is no longer required to limit the size of their rally trial to no greater than their obedience trial and to restrict the rally trial to the same breeds as their obedience trial. (Effective April 1, 2013)
The changes to the Regulations are as follows:
AKC Rally® Regulations, Chapter 1, Section 1. Application to Hold a Rally Trial. Clubs meeting the requirements of AKC that wish to hold a rally trial must submit the form provided by AKC with the appropriate application fee. A rally trial is a separate event, with a separate event number, and the rally trial application with appropriate fee must be submitted at least 18 weeks before the closing date for entries to the event.
In order for a club to receive AKC approval to hold a rally trial, the club must have held or been approved to hold an obedience trial with all regular obedience classes offered within one calendar year of the rally trial. One rally trial will be approved for each obedience trial where all regular classes are offered.
A club may limit the number of entries in their rally trial. No judge will be assigned to judge more than eight hours in one day, including any other judging assignments when the rally trial is held in conjunction with another event. The rally trial need not be limited in the same manner as the club's obedience trial, either in terms of entries or breed allowed.
A licensed or member rally trial need not include all the regular rally classes, but a club will not be approved to hold Advanced classes unless it also holds Novice classes. Nor will it be approved to hold Excellent classes unless it also holds Novice and Advanced classes. Any club that has been approved to hold a licensed or member rally trial may offer additional non-regular classes upon AKC approval. If a non-regular class is one that is not defined in these regulations, a clear and complete description of both the eligibility and performance requirements will appear in the premium list.
Any club eligible to hold all-breed rally trials may open their trial to dogs listed with AKC Canine Partners at their option.
3) The regulations pertaining to "judging times" have been modified to take into consideration the transition between classes. (Effective April 1, 2013)
Obedience Regulations, Chapter 1, Section 1. Obedience Clubs.
A club may hold two all-breed obedience trials concurrently or consecutively, at the same site on the same day, or two all-breed obedience clubs may hold their obedience trials one following another, if the events are held on the same site on the same day. No individual judging obedience will be assigned to judge for more than eight hours in one day if judging less than five classes, or for more than seven hours in one day if judging five or more classes. This limit includes rally classes and should include the judging hours if judging any breed assignments. The "A" and "B" classes of the same level are considered two classes. For individuals judging only rally classes, no judge will be assigned to judge for more than eight hours in one day. In situations where the club feels this regulation does not result in a reasonable outcome, the club must contact the judge to gain approval for additional judging time.
Note: If a club has already applied for or established their judging schedule using the old method of calculation, they are not required to make any adjustments.
4) Allow any AKC club with the interest and knowledge to become licensed to hold obedience. (Effective April 1, 2013)
5) Allow specialty clubs, after first accepting entries from their breed, the option of accepting entries from either breeds in their conformation group or all breeds. (Effective April 1, 2013)
The following pertains to #4 and #5.
Obedience Regulations, Chapter 1, Section 2. Other Clubs Eligible to Hold Obedience Trials. In addition to obedience clubs, any AKC club may be granted permission to hold an obedience trial if, in the opinion of the AKC Board of Directors, it is qualified to do so, provided the club holds the event(s) for which it was originally formed at least once every two years,.
Specialty and group clubs have three options to hold an obedience trial.
- These clubs may hold a trial exclusively for their own breed(s).
- If entries are limited, these clubs may accept entries of dogs of their own breed(s) first then accept entries from group breeds or all breeds until the entry limit specified in the premium list is reached.
- These clubs may hold their specialty or group obedience trial followed by an all-breed or group obedience trial, so long as the scheduled judging program for both events does not exceed eight hours of judging time.
If option (2) is selected, awards as described in these regulations, Chapter 1, Sections 19-22, will be offered for the specialty breed(s). In addition, awards as described in these regulations, Chapter 1, Sections 19-22, will be offered for the all-breed event.
If option (3) is selected, the specialty obedience and all-breed or group obedience trials will be approved and held as two separate events.
Any club eligible to hold all-breed obedience trials may open their trial to dogs listed with AKC Canine Partners at their option.
6) Make the timing consistent for several types of judge/handler/dog training relationships that prohibit a dog/person from entering under a judge. (Effective April 1, 2013)
Obedience Regulations, Chapter 1, Section 14. Dogs That May Not Compete. (Starting with current paragraph 3.)
No judge or any person residing in the same household as the judge will exhibit or act as agent or handler at a dog show or obedience trial at which they are judging. Dogs owned wholly or in part by such judge or any member of their household will not be eligible to be entered at such event. This applies to both obedience and dog show judges when an obedience trial is held in conjunction with a dog show. Subject to the foregoing, members of a judge's immediate family who no longer live in the same household may enter or handle a dog at a show, trial or test if the judge is not officiating over any competition that might involve that dog. If a club does not advertise in its premium list who is to judge run-offs between classes, an exhibitor will automatically be considered to have lost the run-off of any tie scores between classes if the judge of the run-off is a member of the exhibitor's immediate family.
No dog may be entered or shown under a judge at an obedience trial if the dog has been owned, sold, held under lease, or handled in the ring within 30 days prior to the date of the obedience trial by the judge or by any person residing in the same household as the judge. "Trained or instructed" applies equally to judges who train professionally or as amateurs and to judges who train individual dogs or train or instruct dogs in classes with or through their handlers (see "Glossary of Terms").
No exhibitor may show a dog under a judge at an obedience or rally trial if the exhibitor has participated in a training session taught by that judge within thirty (30) days prior to the date of the event.
No dog may be entered or shown under a judge at an obedience trial if the dog is owned or handled by any person who has regularly served as a trainer or instructor of that judge, either individually or through classes, within thirty (30) days; or if the dog has been has been regularly trained or instructed by the judge within thirty (30) days prior to the date of the obedience trial.
7) Allow clubs to decide if the obedience trial secretary may enter their trial. (Effective April 1, 2013)
Obedience Regulations, Chapter 1, Section 14. Dogs That May Not Compete. No dog under six months of age may compete. No dog belonging wholly or in part to a judge or superintendent, or any member of such a person's household may be entered in any obedience trial at which such person officiates or is scheduled to officiate. Nor may they handle or act as agent for any dog entered at that dog show or obedience trial.
If allowed by the host club, the obedience trial secretary may enter dogs owned or co-owned by the secretary and may handle dogs in the obedience trial, or any member of such a person's household may be entered in any obedience trial at which such person officiates or is scheduled to officiate. The secretary's priority must be the handling of official secretary duties in a timely manner. If participation in the trial interferes with these duties, other arrangements for handling dogs must be made.
The official veterinarians will not exhibit or act as agent or handler at the show, and dogs owned wholly or in part by them will not be eligible to be entered at that show. No dog owned wholly or in part by a superintendent, any other employee of that superintendent, or any person residing in the same household as any of the foregoing will be eligible to be entered at any show held 30 days before or after a show that the superintendent has been approved to service by the AKC. Nor may that person exhibit or act as an agent or handler.
For the purpose of this section, the employees of a superintendent would include only those individuals who represent the superintendent or superintending organization at dog shows.
8) Allow transfers from the "A" to "B" class at the same level provided transfers between classes are allowed by the host club. (Effective April 1, 2013)
Obedience Regulations, Chapter 1, Section 16a. Transfers (formerly move-ups).
- The club will clearly state in its premium list whether transfers will or will not be allowed. If no statement is provided in the premium list the default is to allow transfers.
- After a dog earns a title, it may be transferred to another class in a future trial, even though the closing date for the trial has passed, provided the club offers transfers.
- A transfer (i.e., from an obedience class to an obedience class; or a rally class to a rally class) may be requested if, according to the owner's records the handler and dog are eligible and the dog has completed the requirements for the title after the closing date of the trial in which the advanced entry is to be made.
- Transfers between an "A" and "B" class at the same level are allowed provided the host club allows transfers.
- The request for a transfer must be in writing and presented to the superintendent or trial secretary at least 30 minutes prior to the start of each trial.
- Transfers may be approved provided the class and judge are available and the class has not reached its limit.
9) Allow a judge to accept two assignments over the course of a cluster. (Effective April 1, 2013)
Obedience Judges' Guidelines, Chapter 1, Accepting Assignments, Assignment Limitations.
A judge will not be approved to judge the same regular or optional titling classes at all-breed events within 30 days and 100 straight line miles of each other with the following exceptions:
- A judge may accept assignments to judge the same classes for two obedience trials that fall on the same day at the same site.
- A judge may accept assignments to judge the same classes at two obedience trials over the course of a cluster of no more than five (5) consecutive days at the same site or within a local geographical area as determined by the AKC.
There are no such restrictions on non-regular classes or tracking tests. Assignments to judge the same class or classes at two different breed specialty or group obedience trials are not considered to be a conflict. Breed specialty obedience assignments or group shows are not in conflict with assignments to judge the same class(es) at an all-breed obedience trial.