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Obedience: News and Updates

October 2022National Obedience Championship – Invitation ProcessAt the October 2022 meeting, the Board voted to allow for the top six dogs in each breed by OTCH points to be invited in the first round of invitations.

November 2022Obedience Optional Titling Classes – Reduced Jump HeightsAt the November 2022 meeting, the Board voted to modify the Obedience Regulations optional titling classes (Graduate Novice, Graduate Open and Versatility) minimum jump height requirement to half the height of the dog at the withers as stated in the Preferred Open and Preferred Utility Jump Height Table. This change to the Obedience Regulations will become effective on December 1, 2022.

August 2022

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.

Assignment Limitations:

  • 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.

February 2022

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.