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Obedience: News and Updates

May 2023

Pilot Program for Three-Legged (Tripod) Dogs in Non-Jumping Rally and Obedience ClassesAn 18-month pilot program, allowing tripod dogs to participate in the non-jumping obedience and rally classes, was approved by the AKC Board of Directors, beginning July 1, 2023, and ending December 31, 2024. The sport specific regulation language in Chapter 1, Section 17 will be amended to read: Dogs disfigured as the result of accident, injury, or illness are eligible to compete provided the disfigurement does not interfere with functional movement. A dog that shows no signs of physical discomfort is to be considered fit to compete. The judge must excuse a dog as “unfit to compete” if the dog demonstrates sickness, discomfort, or pain while performing.

Here is the link to the regulation insert:

May 2023

Obedience & Rally Event Site Approval Process

Obedience & Rally Trial Manual

Site RequirementsIt is the responsibility of the event-giving club to provide a site that will accommodate the ring requirements as specified in the sport specific regulations. This includes minimum/maximum ring sizes and general ring conditions. (See 4-32)In addition, the building must be ADA compliant, provide sufficient parking and restrooms for the number of anticipated exhibitors. The club must be aware of inclement weather conditions, and ensure water is available on site and provide appropriate safe crating areas for the dogs.Performance rings should be as free as possible of any obstructions such as columns and/or poles. If there are any unusual conditions, it is strongly recommended this information be published in the premium list.(See 10-74 – Updated 5/2023)

February 13, 2023

Management of Dogs Attempting to Leave the Ring While Being Judged – Obedience and Rally

The Board VOTED to modify the Obedience & Rally Regulations to provide instructions to judges and stewards on how to manage a dog that leaves its handler and attempts to leave the ring while competing.

A judge will instruct the stewards not to reach for or grab a dog to stop it, but if the dog is not responding to its handler’s commands, the judge may advise the stewards to attempt to block the dog from leaving if it is safe to do so. The dog will then be released from the ring.

January 2023

AKC Regional Competitions – National Obedience ChampionshipThe Board VOTED to approve a recommendation to modify the Obedience Regulations to allow the redistribution of states to host a regional qualifying event for the National Obedience Championship (NOC) in two specific regions. This modification aims to increase the availability of clubs to host qualifying events in Regions 2 and 10. The change in Obedience Regulations will move New York from Region 1 to Region 2 and to move Minnesota from Region 6 to Region 10.

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.