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.