At the August 2022 meeting, the Board voted to make the following COVID provisions permanent:Qualifying Scores for Obedience & Rally Titles:
- In all Obedience and Rally classes that require three qualifying scores to earn a title, the three scores may be earned under the same judge.
- There are no mileage restrictions for judging Obedience or Rally trials.
- There are no restrictions on the number of times an individual can judge a class at Obedience or Rally trials in a cluster.
Board Policy Provisions Extended for Obedience and Rally through December 31, 2022
At their February 2022 meeting, the AKC Board of Directors reviewed the temporary provisions that have been put in place to assist clubs during the pandemic. The Board decided to extend or make permanent several of the provisions for the sports. Specifically, for obedience and rally the following have been extended.
Two-judge requirement to title
The Board policy requires a dog to receive three passes under two different judges for a title. This is temporarily suspended for lower-level classes in obedience (10 titles), rally (four titles) and agility (18 titles). This provision was extended and is set to expire on December 31, 2022.
Date and mileage restrictions for Companion Event judges
The Board policy restricts judges in the acceptance of their assignments – 30 days and 100 miles for obedience/rally, 30 days and 200 miles for agility. This provision was extended and is set to expire on December 31, 2022.
Number of judge assignments during a cluster
The Board policy limits an individual from judging the same classes at more than two obedience/rally 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. The provision was extended and is set to expire on December 31, 2022.
January 26, 2022
At the January 2022 AKC Board Meeting the following item was approved:
Obedience Regulations – Chapter 2Section 27. Training and Handling in the Ring.
Effective April 1, 2022When a handler is using excessive verbal commands, this could indicate the dog is not under control and is not working with the handler willingly. The judge must determine if this dog should be released for a lack of control.
The handler is not allowed to correct or discipline a dog and will be released from the ring.When the dog’s performance does not meet the handler’s expectation, the handler may choose to use a “Fix n’ Go” option once, which allows the exhibitor to immediately reattempt a single individual exercise. This allows the team to reattempt that one exercise, and then leave the ring. In a two-part exercise, the handler may choose only one part to reattempt. It is the handler’s responsibility to tell the judge they are choosing to “Fix n’ Go.” Using the Fix n’ Go option will result in a non-qualifying score (NQ). The handler may begin the reattempt from the start or at any point during the exercise.
The handler may choose to help the dog through the Fix n’ Go exercise. Helping the dog may be accomplished using verbal encouragement, including additional commands and praise, and/or approaching the dog in a friendly/positive manner without touching the dog.Harsh verbal and /or physical corrections will not be tolerated. If there is any determination of harshness by the judge, the handler will be immediately released from the ring. Spectators form their opinion of the sport through seeing the action of the handler and the dog. Care must be taken to avoid any action that might reflect poorly on the sport.
October 19, 2021
At their October 2021 meeting the AKC Board voted on the following Regulations:
The Board voted to terminate the following Regulation modification at year-end:
(1) Obedience – The modified distance of eight (8) between dogs in the Novice obedience group exercises will return to a distance of six feet between dogs, for all events held after December 30, 2021.
These three temporarily suspended or modified Regulations have been extended for events occurring on or before Thursday, June 30, 2022.
(1) Obedience/Rally – Two-Judge Requirement to Title – The Board extended the temporary modification for obedience, rally, and agility lower level classes and will allow titles to be earned under a single judge through June 30, 2022.
(2) Obedience/Rally – The waiver of date and mileage restrictions for judges – The Board extended the temporary modification for obedience, rally and agility judges and waived the date/location restrictions of 30 days and 100 miles for obedience/rally judges; and 30 days and 200 miles for agility judges, allowing them to accept assignments without a conflict through June 30, 2022.
(3) Obedience/Rally – The judge’s assignment limitation to judge the same classes – The Board extended the temporary modification for obedience and rally trials and will allow a judge to judge the same classes at more than two trials over the course of a cluster of no more than five days through June 30, 2022.
Obedience Regulations temporarily modified through December 31, 2021
- The two-judge requirement to title in the obedience and rally lower level classes was temporarily suspended as of July 1, 2020 through December 30, 2020. The list of effected titles is provided at the end of this memo. These titles per the obedience and rally regulations require three passes under at least two different judges. The coronavirus has made many judges reluctant to travel even well into 2021. Clubs are finding it difficult to attract judges from outside the local area, thus limiting the pool of judges available for their events. In some cases, exhibitors were experiencing difficulty achieving their titles. For all the classes impacted, a dog must earn a lower title before it is eligible to enter higher-level classes. When this concept was published, the department received positive feedback. By allowing a single judge to award qualifying scores toward titles during the pilot period, there has been no negative impact or favoritism reported at this time.This recommendation was approved to continue the waiver through December 31, 2021. This waiver will be reevaluated prior to December 31, 2021.
- The Waiver of 30 days and 100 Miles Restriction for Judges and judging the same classes at two obedience/rally trials over the course of a cluster was instituted to help clubs hire judges that did not need to fly or in some cases even stay in hotel rooms. Some states still have quarantine or testing restrictions and many judges still do not want to fly or stay in hotels. This waiver is due to expire on December 30, 2020.This recommendation was approved to continue the waiver through December 31, 2021. This waiver will be reevaluated prior to December 31, 2021.
- The distance between exhibitors in the obedience Novice group exercises was increased to eight feet between dogs instead of six feet due to COVID-19 and social distancing requirements. This modification is due to expire on December 30, 2020.This recommendation was approved to continue the waiver through December 31, 2021. This waiver will be reevaluated prior to December 31, 2021.
November 23, 2020
At the November 2020 AKC Board Meeting the following items were approved:
Assisting the Sports – Making Permanent Obedience, Rally and Tracking Modifications That Expire at Year-End. The AKC Obedience Regulations that were previously temporarily suspended or modified in 2020 to provide clubs and exhibitors flexibility due to COVID-19 have been permanently changed as follows:
- Closing Dates – The Regulations to allow clubs holding obedience and rally trials, at their option, to close the events at a specified closing date and time no later than 11:59PM seven (7) days prior to the event. This change is effective for all trials held on or after January 1, 2021.
- Eligibility Restrictions for Exhibitors – The obedience, rally and tracking Regulations effecting an exhibitor’s eligibility was changed from thirty days to ten days prior to an event. This is a change to the Regulations and is effective for all trials held on or after January 1, 2021.
- Eligibility Restrictions for Dogs – The obedience and rally Regulations effecting a dog’s eligibility was changed from thirty days to ten days prior to an event. This is a change to the Regulations and is effective for all trials held on or after January 1, 2021.
- Eligibility Restrictions During Emergency Judge Changes – When a club has an emergency judge change for obedience and rally trials (an emergency judge change is defined as a change to the judging panel within 72 hours of the event) the eligibility restrictions on exhibitors and dogs is waived. This is a change to the Regulations and is effective for all trials held on or after January 1, 2021.
- Modifying the Obedience Figure Eight Exercise – The Obedience Regulations have been amended to use cones instead of Stewards for the Figure Eight exercise. This is a change to the Regulations and is effective for all trials held on or after January 1, 2021.
Section 3. Premium Lists, Entries, Closing of Entries and Catalog Order. (Paragraph 5) The premium list shall specify the name and address of the Superintendent or Trial Secretary who is to receive the entries.
Opening & Closing Dates. In order to provide fair opportunity for all exhibitors to enter upcoming events, premium lists are required to be published at least 72-hours prior to the acceptance of entries. Events whose entries are limited must have a defined date and time for the opening of entries which is to be prominently displayed on the cover page of the premium list. In addition, every premium list shall specify the date and time at which entries for a trial shall close. For all trials the specified closing date and time must be no later than 11:59PM seven (7) days prior to the trial.
Whenever the closing day falls on a postal holiday, entries received in any form up to 24 hours from the published closing date and time may be accepted.
Section 14. Dogs That May Not Compete. (Paragraphs 8 & 9)
No exhibitor may show a dog under a judge at an obedience trial if the exhibitor has participated in a training session taught by that judge within ten (10) 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, or if the dog has been regularly trained or instructed by the judge within ten (10) days prior to the date of the obedience trial. “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”).
In either case above, the ten (10) day period is not in effect when a judge has been assigned on an emergency basis within 72-hours of an event.
Section 5. Heel on Leash and Figure Eight. (Paragraph 6)
For the Figure Eight, the handler will stand and the dog will sit in heel position facing the judge, midway between two cones that are 17 to 37 inches high and no more than 15 inches wide at the base, that will be placed 8 feet apart. The Figure Eight in the Novice classes will be done on leash; the handler may go around either cone first. The judge will ask “Are you ready?” before giving the first order. The handler and dog will walk briskly around and between the two cones twice. There will be no about turn, fast or slow, but the judge must order at least one halt during this exercise and another halt at the end.
REGULATIONS FOR PERFORMANCE AND JUDGING
JUDGING STANDARDS AND PROCEDURES
Section 1. Standardized Judging.
Heeling Pattern. The same pattern should be maintained as far as practicable for each competing dog. This is a foundation exercise, and it determines the standards for all exercises in which the dog is heeling. The minimum heeling requirements for any class are normal heeling, a fast, a slow, a left turn, a right turn, an about-turn, a halt, and a sit.
The heeling patterns should not be in the area of the table and/or gate and should have only one element of an exercise on a leg. (For example, there shall not be a halt and a slow on the same leg of an exercise.) A fast must always be on a long dimension of the ring; slow may be either on the short or long dimension of the ring. The fast and slow should be of significant length, not just several steps. No pattern will have more than one fast and one slow. If possible, have one leg of the heeling pattern with no element on it. The “L” pattern is a minimal pattern. Other patterns are acceptable, but excessive complexity should be avoided.
The judge may leave the Figure Eight cones in position in the ring, provided this equipment will not interfere with the performance of the other exercises.
NEW VIRTUAL PILOT PROGRAM ANNOUNCED
AKC Virtual Obedience Test Program – Approved effective March 1, 2021.
The Board reviewed a recommendation to create an AKC Virtual Obedience Test Program consisting of two beginning level classes – Virtual Beginner Novice and Virtual Novice as a pilot program in 2021. The purpose is to provide owners that are not able or willing to attend an in-person event an opportunity to stay engaged in the sport by evaluating their skill and teamwork via video. There will be two beginning levels of virtual obedience offered, with possible expansion of the program over time. The first two levels in the Virtual Obedience Test program will be Virtual Beginner Novice and Virtual Novice classes. The exercises in virtual obedience will be slightly different than in-person tests, therefore the titles earned will be designated with the letter V – Beginner Novice Virtual (BNV) and Companion Dog Virtual (CDV). This will be a standalone program with no crossover to the regular obedience titles.
This is a pilot program and will be reviewed toward the end of the year 2021.
July 14, 2020
The AKC Board of Directors approved a changes to the Agility Regulations, Obedience Regulations and AKC Rally Regulations at the July 14, 2020 meeting, to waive the “two-judge” requirement on some titles for the remainder 2020. Many titles in these sports require three passes under at least two different judges. The coronavirus has made many judges reluctant to travel. Clubs are finding it difficult to attract judges from outside the area, thus limiting the pool of judges available for their events. The recommendation provides exhibitors more opportunities to earn their titles, enabling them to continue their growth in the sport by moving up to the next higher level. These changes will apply for the remainder of 2020. They will be revisited toward year-end to determine their impact on the sport. Below is a list of titles by sport where the two-judge requirement will be waived for the remainder of 2020:
Agility – 18 titles
|Novice level||NA – NAP – NAJ – NJP – NF – NFP|
|Open level||OA – OAP – OAJ – OJP – OF – OFP|
|Excellent level||AX – AXP – AXJ – AJP – XF – XFP|
Obedience – 10 titles
|Novice level||CD – PCD|
|Open level||CDX – PCDX|
|Utility level||UD – PUTD|
Rally – 4 titles
August 20, 2019
AKC Obedience Regulation Changes – Effective September 4, 2019
The AKC Board of Directors approved four ways to improve the time it takes to complete obedience trials to reduce the extended days for clubs, judges and exhibitors. The obedience Brace class eligibility has also been changed. Please see link for detailed regulation language
EFFECTIVE SEPTEMBER 4, 2019
Must be compliant no later than JANUARY 1, 2020
Items 1-4 are effective for all trials held on or after 9/4/19. However, if clubs are using software that requires programming changes to meet these requirements, all clubs have an extension to complete the necessary changes. All clubs must be compliant with changes #1-4, for all obedience trials held on or after JANUARY 1, 2020. Please see link for detailed regulation language
1. Judging Programs/Scheduling Judges – Obedience Regulations, Chapter 1, Sections 3 & 26 – The Regular and Preferred Open classes and the Regular and Preferred Utility classes require the same ring set-up. Clubs currently have the option to schedule dogs by their jump height in ascending or descending order. The Regulation change will require dogs to be scheduled by jump height in either ascending or descending order and will require the Regular Open and Preferred Open classes to be combined for judging. It will also require the Regular Utility and Preferred Utility classes to be combined for judging. This will establish one set-up for Open and one set-up for Utility, reducing the time it takes to judge the classes and to keep the trial moving along smoothly.
There is a new “Awards Placement Sheet” on the AKC Downloadable Forms page on the website to attach as the last page in the Judges’ Book that will replace the placement boxes on the bottom of the forms. This placement sheet is to be used with all current stock of Judges’ Books until those forms are gone. Follow the directions on the form. Once your current stock of Judges’ Books are gone, please use the newest template available on the AKC website which can be found under the downloadable forms .
2. Judge’s Ring Assignments – Obedience Regulations, Chapter 1, Section 26 – the judging program establishes the classes that will be run in a ring throughout the day. Sometimes when a judge arrives at their scheduled ring the classes in the ring from an earlier assignment may be running behind schedule causing the judge to wait to begin their assignment. However, there may be other rings available that meet the same ring requirements, where the class could move to in order to begin the judging on time. The Regulation change will allow the judge’s assignment to be moved to another ring, if one is available and it meets the original ring’s requirements.
3. Combining Walkthroughs – Obedience Regulations, Chapter 1, Section 26 – The Regulations require a walkthrough for several classes at the beginning of the class. However, some classes have the same set-up structure and by having the walkthrough at the beginning of each class can be redundant and add time to the day. Combining the walkthroughs for the classes that have the same structure will provide a savings of time throughout the day. The Regulation change will require walkthroughs to be combined if the same judge is judging classes with the same set-up structure when there are less than 20 combined dogs entered; and the same start time will be published for both classes.
4. Load Balancing Entries – Obedience Regulations, Chapter 1, Section 28 – At closing often times the entries for judges on the panel are unbalanced with one judge having more dogs than another. Requests have often been made to balance the load of entries amongst the judges on the panel, or to reduce the number of judges, to have the trial run more efficiently and to facilitate a smooth-running trial. The Regulation change will allow clubs to load balance the entries after closing with 1) the approval of the judge, outlining any fees that may be required, and 2) the approval of AKC prior to publishing the judging program.
EFFECTIVE SEPTEMBER 4, 2019 – For all trials held on or after 9/4/19
Please see link for detailed regulation language.
5. Obedience Brace Class Eligibility – Obedience Regulations, Chapter 20, Section 5 – The requirement to have two dogs of the same breed for the Obedience Brace class has been removed. The Regulation change will allow two dogs of any breed, including dogs listed with AKC Canine Partners, that are of similar height at the withers to be entered in the Brace class.
Catalog Class Order Requirement:
The catalog must be prepared in the following class order, regardless of the order in which the classes are listed in the judging program.
Regular, followed by Preferred, followed by Optional, followed by Non-Regular:
- Regular Classes – Novice A, Novice B, Open A, Open B, Utility A, Utility B
- Preferred Classes – Novice, Open, Utility
- Optional Classes – Beginner Novice A, Beginner Novice B, Graduate Novice, Graduate Open, Versatility
- Non-Regular Classes – Wild Card Novice, Wild Card Open, Wild Card Utility, Brace, Veteran, Team
February 20, 2019
Approved Modifications to the OTCH Title
Three changes to the Obedience Regulations were approved by the AKC Board of Directors at the February 8, 2019 meeting. The following amendments (underlined) to the Obedience Regulations were approved, which are effective for all trials held on or after August 1, 2019. An insert for the Obedience Regulations amended to May 1, 2018 will be published.
They are in summary:
- Modify the Open B Point Schedule
- Earning OTCH points outside of the Point Schedule in Open B & Utility B
- OTCH title recognition
CHAPTER 8 – OBEDIENCE TRIAL CHAMPIONSHIP
Section 2. Championship Points. Obedience Trial Championship points will be recorded for those dogs that have earned a first, second, third or fourth place ribbon competing in the Open B or Utility B class, according to the schedule of points established by the AKC Board of Directors. When counting the number of eligible dogs in competition, a dog that is disqualified or excused from the ring by the judge will not be included.
One (1) Championship point will be recorded for those dogs that earn a qualifying score of 197 or better in the Open B or Utility B class, if they did not earn points based on the Point Schedule.
Requirements for the Obedience Trial Champion are as follows:
The dog must have won
- 100 points
- A first place in Utility B with at least three dogs in competition
- A first place in Open B with at least five dogs in competition
- An additional first place under the conditions of 2 or 3 above
- All three first places under three different judges
Only one of the required first places may have been won at a specialty Show or a Junior Obedience Showcase.
Section 3. Obedience Trial Champion Title. The AKC will issue an Obedience Trial Champion certificate and will permit the use of the letters OTCH preceding the name of each dog that meets the requirements.
The letters OTCH will be followed by a numeric designation indicating the number of times a dog has met the requirements of the OTCH title as defined in these regulations (OTCH2, OTCH3, OTCH4, etc.).
Section 5. Point Schedule.
|Number of Dogs Competing||1st||2nd||3rd||4th|
November 16, 2018
Rules Applying to Dog Shows definition of “Immediate Family” – Effective 12/1/18
At the October 2018 AKC Board meeting, the Board of Directors approved a change to the language in the Rules Applying to Dog Shows for the definition of “Immediate Family” which becomes effective on December 1, 2018.
As a result of that change, at the November Board meeting, the AKC Board of Directors approved the same definition of immediate family in the Obedience Regulations, Rally Regulations, Tracking Regulations and Regulations for Agility Trials and Agility Course Test (ACT) to be consistent, as all four sports reference the definition of “Immediate Family” based on what is written in the Rules Applying to Dog Shows. This change to these Regulations becomes effective December 1, 2018.
Obedience Regulations – Chapter 1 will be amended as follows:
Section 11. Immediate Family. As used in these regulations, “immediate family” means one’s spouse, domestic partner, parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren, siblings, mother-in-law, father-in-law, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, daughters-in-law, and sons-in-law; adopted, half, and step members are also included in immediate family.
October 17, 2018
Eligibility of Dogs in Obedience – Effective 11/1/18
A recommendation to allow deaf dogs to participate in obedience was approved by the AKC Board of Directors at the October meeting, with an effective date of November 1, 2018. This change brings obedience in line with the other Companion Event sports of AKC Rally, Agility and Tracking, where deaf dogs have been eligible to participate since 2015.
Obedience Regulations – Chapter 1 will be amended as follows:
Section 12. Dogs Eligible to Compete. As used in these regulations, the word “dog” refers to either sex but only to dogs that are eligible for entry in AKC events. Dogs with a PAL (Purebred Alternative Listing), ILP (Indefinite Listing Privilege), or AKC Canine Partners number must be spayed or neutered in order to compete. A dog that is deaf may compete in any obedience trial.
Section 17. Disqualification, Ineligibility, Excusal, and Change in Appearance of Dogs.
Changes to paragraph 2 & paragraph 4 only.
A dog that is blind or has been changed in appearance for cosmetic reasons (other than changes customarily approved for its breed) may not compete in any obedience trial and will be disqualified. Blind means without useful vision. The judge will not obtain the opinion of a veterinarian.
When a dog has been disqualified under this section as being blind, for having been changed in appearance for cosmetic reasons, or for having attacked or attempted to attack a person in the ring, all awards made to the dog at the trial will be cancelled by the AKC. The dog may not again compete unless the owner applies for and receives reinstatement.
Obedience – Clarifications to the Open Class, Command Discrimination Exercise – Effective 01/01/2019
The following clarifications were approved for the Obedience Regulations by the AKC Board of Directors at the October meeting, with an effective date of January 1, 2019.
Obedience Regulations – Chapter 4 will be amended as follows:
Section 7. Command Discrimination. The principal features of this exercise are the dog’s correct response to the handler’s commands and/or signals and that the dog stays until the handler returns to heel position.
The orders are: “Leave your dog” and “Back to your dog.” The judge must use signals for directing the handler to command and/or signal the dog to change position except for the first position and that order is: “Stand your dog” or “Down your dog.”
The handler will stand with the dog sitting in heel position in a place designated by the judge. The judge will ask “Are you ready?” before giving the first order to “Stand your dog” or “Down your dog.” The handler will give a command and/or signal for the dog to change position. On further order to “Leave your dog,” the handler may give a command and/or signal to stay and will immediately walk forward 15 feet, turn, and face the dog. On the judge’s signal, the handler will give a command and/or signal for the dog to change to the second position. The judge will then order “Leave your dog.” The handler may give a command and/or signal to stay and will immediately turn around and walk forward an additional 15 feet, turn, and face the dog. On the judge’s signal, the handler will give a command and/or signal for the dog to change to the third position. The judge will then order “Back to your dog.” The handler may give a command and/or signal to stay, and then must return directly, walking around and in back of the dog to heel position. The dog must stay in position without additional commands or signals until the handler has returned to heel position. The handler’s hands and arms must hang naturally at the handler’s side.
Judging Procedure: This exercise may be performed in any area of the ring that is at least 40 feet in length. The 15-foot distances must be clearly marked. The judge must be positioned so that both the dog and handler are under continuous observation during the entire exercise. An excellent position for judging this exercise is at an adequate distance to the side and slightly to the rear of the dog.
Section 8. Command Discrimination, Scoring. A dog that fails to obey the handler’s first command and/or signal for each position or that does not stay until the handler returns to heel position must receive a non-qualifying (NQ) score.
Substantial deductions will be made for a dog that changes position after the handler has returned to heel position and before the judge has said “Exercise finished.”
Minor or substantial deductions, up to a non-qualifying (NQ) score, will be made for the handler’s hands and arms not hanging naturally at the handler’s side. Depending on the extent, minor or substantial deductions, up to a non-qualifying (NQ) score, will be made for a dog that walks forward.
Obedience – Amendment to the Open Class, Stay-Get Your Leash Exercise – Effective 01/01/2019
Currently, in the Open class, the “Stay – Get Your Leash exercise is made up of two-parts. First the handler must leave the dog in either the sit or down position when commanded to do so by the judge for a period of one-minute, then after one-minute, the judge orders the handler to return to the dog, and then to leave the dog again to go get the leash, which is outside the ring. The handler picks up the leash, re-enters the ring, stops at the ring gate entrance facing the dog, and waits for the judge’s order to return to the dog.
The AKC Board of Directors approved a change to this exercise to make this a single-part exercise with a “Stand” Stay – Get Your Leash. Changing the exercise to a single-part exercise will save time over the course of the Open judge’s assignment. It is important that the exercise demonstrate the dog’s ability to control its impulses and maintain the worthiness of this practical exercise.
Obedience Regulations – Chapter 4 will be amended as follows:
Section 3. Open A Exercises and Scores. The exercises and maximum score in the Open A class:
- Heel Free and Figure Eight 40 points
- Command Discrimination 30 points
(Stand, Down, Sit)
- Drop on Recall 30 points
- Retrieve on Flat 20 points
- Retrieve over High Jump 30 points
- Broad Jump 20 points
- Stand Stay – Get Your Leash 30 points
Maximum Total Score 200 points
Section 4. Open B Exercises and Scores. The various orders of exercises in the Open B class:
- Stand Stay – Get Your Leash
Section 17. Stand Stay – Get Your Leash. The principal feature of this exercise is that the dog stand and stay in position until the handler has returned to heel position.
The orders are: “Stand your dog,” Leave your dog to get your leash,” and “Back to your dog.”
The handler will stand with the dog sitting in heel position in a place designated by the judge, approximately 15 feet from the ring gate. The judge will ask “Are you ready?” before giving the first order. On the judge’s order, the handler will command and/or signal the dog to stand without touching the dog or the dog’s collar. The dog must stand but need not stand in heel position.
On further order to “Leave your dog to get your leash,” the handler may give a command and/or signal to stay and will walk forward directly to the place outside the ring gate designated by the judge for the leash. The handler will pick up the leash, re-enter the ring, stop and wait for the judge’s order “Back to your dog.” The handler must return directly, walking around and in back of the dog to heel position. The dog must remain standing until the judge has said “Exercise finished.” The judge will tell the handler “Attach your leash to the collar and maintain control of your dog.” The handler is required to exit the ring gate with the dog under control and without jumping, pulling or tugging on the leash.
Judging Procedures: Prior to the start of judging, the judge will decide where the leash will be placed outside the ring on a chair or similar leash holder.
The leash will be placed outside the ring by the steward after the dog and handler have entered the ring for judging. When positioning the dog and handler for this exercise, the judge should ensure that such positioning will permit the dog to keep the handler in its direct line of vision as the handler leaves and returns to the ring, and that the handler, when reentering the ring, is at least 15 feet away from the dog until ordered to return. During this exercise the judge must be in position to watch the dog and see the handler leave and return to the ring. Once the exercise is finished, the judge must watch the dog and handler exit the ring together.
Section 18. Stay – Get Your Leash, Scoring. A non-qualifying score (NQ) is required for a dog that does any of the following: Fails to stand on the first command and/or signal, moves a substantial distance away from the place it was where it was left, sits or lies down before the handler has returned to heel position, or repeatedly barks or whines.
Substantial deductions will be made for a dog that sits or lies down after the handler has returned to heel position and before the judge has said, “Exercise finished.”
Depending on the circumstances, minor or substantial deductions will be made for the dog that moves a short distance from where it was left, or that moves its feet repeatedly while remaining in place.
A substantial deduction, under Miscellaneous Penalties, must be made for a dog that does not remain under control while leaving the ring.
January 18, 2018
Videos Available of the New Obedience Exercises Effective May 1, 2018
With the approved Obedience Regulation changes, effective May 1, 2018, AKC videos have been produced and are being distributed for the new obedience exercises on the AKC Obedience/Rally YouTube Channel found here. These videos demonstrate correctly performed exercises in an easy to view widespread platform.
In addition, if you were not in attendance for the AKC Obedience Classic in Orlando in December where a demonstration of the new exercises was performed, you may view that video on the YouTube Channel as well.
The new Obedience Regulations may be viewed in a green insert in the online regulation book found here.
December 11, 2017
New AKC Obedience & Rally Independent Contractors
The Companion Events Department is pleased to announce the addition of two new independent contractors to the obedience and rally programs.
Mr. John Cox of Washington State has been added as an Independent Contractor Field Representative for the AKC Obedience program. John has been judging AKC obedience for 39 years and has been the owner-handler for multiple Saint Bernards since 1969; achieving multiple conformation Championships, obedience titles (through the Utility Dog Excellent), a VCD2, tracking and Master agility titles in America, and UDs in Canada.
John was the 2016 Companion Events Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. He has been writing the “Dog Talk” and “Random Little Tidbits” articles for “Front & Finish” as informative works for anyone who wishes to learn more about obedience judging. He is a long-time dog fancier and is a dedicated local and national club member. John brings a wealth of knowledge to this position and an eager zest to assist judges and clubs. As an independent contractor, John will be able to continue to enjoy his role as a judge and exhibitor.
Mrs. Marilou McCloskey of New Jersey has been added as an Independent Contractor Field Representative for the AKC Obedience and Rally programs. Marilou got her start in Obedience 27 years ago with an English Springer Spaniel that the breeder made her promise to take to a puppy obedience class; the first night of class the instructor brought in her dog and demonstrated the utility signal exercise and Marilou was hooked. Since that first Springer, Marilou has finished one Championship, three UD’s and multiple Rally and Agility titles. She is looking forward to AKC Scent Work, Tracking and most of all, Therapy work at Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania with her current Springer.
Marilou has lived with dogs all her life and loved them all, but says nothing can compare to the bond created by training and competing in Companion/Performance events. She has been judging Obedience since 2004 and judging AKC Rally since the inception of the program. She had the pleasure of judging one of those infamous New Year’s Eve 2005 Rally Trials and enjoy every minute of it.
November 29, 2017
New Obedience Exercises Approved ~ Effective May 1, 2018
The AKC Board of Directors reviewed a proposal by the Companion Events department regarding the Obedience Group Exercises at their October and November meetings. They had in-depth discussions on the recommendation to replace the Group Exercises in the Obedience Novice and Open Classes, as well as in the Preferred Novice, Preferred Open, Graduate Novice, and Team classes, with new exercises that will demonstrate a dog’s ability to stay. This was not a new subject, but rather has been a discussion among the Fancy and AKC for numerous years. The AKC wishes to thank the many participants for their suggestions over the last several months and years surrounding this topic. In looking at just the past ten years, below is a history of the subject of Group Exercises leading up to the decision of the AKC Board.
Obedience Regulations Review History 2007 – Present
2007 Obedience Advisory Committee – to discuss all the Obedience Regulations:
- There were a large number of requests to change the Group Exercises and to eliminate the Open out of sight Group Exercise.
- The OAC members were split about what to do.
- Action was tabled. It was decided that AKC would conduct a survey of obedience judges to quantify the issue.
- The 15-month survey took place from Oct 2007-Dec 2008. Judges reported every time a dog moved from the place where it was left in the Group Exercise.
- According to the final report:
- 2,567 dogs moved from the place they were told to stay during the Group Exercises
- Of the dogs that moved, 23% of the dogs interfered with another dog.
2013 Group Task Force – assembled to specifically review concerns regarding the Obedience Group Exercises:
- Many suggestions were received. All the suggestions were reviewed and discussed.
- The Committee made several recommendations to reduce interference. The recommendations were implemented in May 2014:
- If a dog non-qualified during the individual exercises and in the opinion of the judge the dog demonstrated uncontrolled behavior, the judge must release the dog from performing the Group Exercises;
- Dogs must be spaced with a minimum of 4 feet between each dog;
- Require that dogs be under control when entering and exiting the ring;
- If a judge observed any sign of aggression, or potential problems with the dogs as they were assembling outside of the ring to come in for the Group Exercise, the judge must excuse the dog and not allow them into the ring for the Group Exercise.
2014 Obedience Advisory Committee – to discuss all the Obedience Regulations:
- This OAC received many suggestions regarding additional Group Exercise modifications.
- The key additional Group Exercise recommendation was to keep the leash on the dogs in the Novice Group Exercises. This was implemented effective December 2015.
In late 2016 staff decided to hold another Group Exercise Task Force meeting. Meeting was held in June 2017:
- In April, the names of the Group Task Force members were published and the Fancy wrote in many suggestions for changes to the Group Exercises.
- These suggestions and all the previous suggestions were discussed during the June meeting.
- The Task Force recommended the elimination or modification of the existing Group Exercises and the substitution of other exercises to demonstrate a dog’s ability to stay.
- Surveys indicated that 66% of the fancy supported eliminating the Group Exercises, 19% were opposed and 15% submitted a variety of alternatives.
- In October, staff supports the Task Force recommendations and submits to the AKC Board for review.
- In November, Board approves the recommendations, which will become effective May 1, 2018.
The responses received from many owners is that this is an interference issue among dogs in the Group Exercises and for some a safety issue. The idea that owners can train their dogs to stay, but they cannot be certain that the handler’s dog next to them has been as successful at training their dog to stay, was a strong voice to be heard; and the AKC survey showed this to be a real problem. A dog interfering with another dog, even if it does not result in an attack, impacts a dog’s training negatively in public places and in trials.
New Obedience Regulations Effective May 1, 2018
With the approved regulation changes, effective May 1, 2018, videos will be produced and distributed on the AKC Obedience/Rally YouTube Channel to demonstrate correctly performed exercises in an easy to view widespread platform in the coming month. In addition, if you are in attendance for the AKC Obedience Classic in Orlando in December, a demonstration of the new exercises will be performed. AKC Staff will monitor the changes to the classes and consider adjustments if they are needed. AKC thanks all the committee members who have served on Advisory Committees for the future of the sport, and the many participants, for their suggestions leading up to this decision.
The obedience and rally regulations were amended to include language for a closing time for entries and that the closing time shall be no later than 11:59 pm on the third Wednesday prior to the trial for trials held on Friday through Monday. Previously the regulations governing these sports did not address a closing time for entries, but instead defaulted to the Rules Applying to Dog Shows. Clubs have the ability now to extend the closing hour for their entries at their option following the requirements listed below. Effective May 1, 2017, clubs may apply for events with a later closing hour at their option.
- Obedience Regulations – Chapter 1, Section 3. Premium Lists, Entries, Closing of Entries. (Insert as paragraph 5)
- Rally Regulations – Chapter 1. Section 3. Premium Lists, Closing of Entries and Catalogs. (Insert as paragraph 2)
- Every premium list shall specify the date and time at which entries for a trial shall close. The premium list shall also specify the name and address of the Superintendent or Trial Secretary who is to receive the entries.
- For all trials the specified closing date and time must be no later than as outlined in the following schedule:
- For a trial which opens on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or Monday, entries accepted not later than 11:59PM on the third Wednesday prior to the trial.
- For a trial which opens on Tuesday, entries accepted not later than 11:59PM on the third Thursday prior to the trial.
- For a trial which opens on Wednesday, entries accepted not later than 11:59PM the third Friday prior to the trial.
- For a trial which opens on Thursday, entries accepted not later than 11:59PM on the third Wednesday prior to the trial.
- Clubs in a cluster of no more than five consecutive days have the option of closing no later than 11:59PM on the third Wednesday prior to the last trial in the cluster.
- Whenever the closing day noted above falls on a postal holiday, entries received in any form up to 24 hours from the published closing date and time may be accepted.
- All other paragraphs in these sections remain unchanged.
- 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.
- 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 provided the club offers transfers.
- Transfers from an “A” to “B” class at the same level are allowed provided the host club allows transfers. (When a club does not allow transfers, refer to Section 16b. Entry of Ineligible Dog.)
- 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.
- Clubs may choose to accept transfers prior to the day of the trial and this should be clearly stated in the premium list.
- Transfers may be approved provided the class and judge are available, and the class has not reached its limit.