Obedience & Rally Newsletter

To AKC Obedience and Rally Judges:

Procedure for Marking the Obedience Judge’s Book
Our department has recently been made aware of some apparent confusion regarding the use of ‘excused’ in recording obedience results.In a recently submitted judge’s book, the judge marked the dog ‘excused – conflict’ for the group exercises. A judge cannot excuse a dog because of a conflict; the judge should mark the dog as absent from the group exercises, “Absent – Conflict,” and then give the dog a total score of “NQ.”

If the judge marks the dog as excused from the group exercises, then the interpretation is that the dog was excused for misbehavior or other appropriate reasons for an excusal; being absent from groups does not warrant an excusal and should not be marked as such.

If there is neither an NQ nor a score in the “total score” line of the judge’s book, the dog should be marked “Absent”, or “Excused” or “Disqualified” with the appropriate reason stated.
For additional clarification please refer to the Obedience Judges Guidelines, Chapter 5.

Group Exercises – Procedure Reminders

  • Judges are responsible for maintaining the 4 feet per dog space requirement for all dogs.

  • If there are more dogs competing than allows for the 4 feet per dog space requirements, some must be judged in another group.

  • Judges are to be cognizant that disabled handlers may need modifications and accommodations for the safety of all dogs. It is permissible for a judge to allow additional space on each side of a disabled handler to permit the handler to work the dog without touching it or without touching the dog on either side.

  • All dogs must be judged in catalog order.

Use of a Dog’s Name during the Exercises

  • A handler does not have to use the dog’s name prior to a command. They can use a command only.

  • If a handler does use the dog’s name, it must be immediately followed by a command.

  • If a handler uses the dog’s name without a command for a principal part of an exercise it will be considered anticipation which is an NQ.

  • An extra command and/or signal in any non-principal part of an exercise does not constitute a failing score for that exercise.
Obedience Regulations Chapter 2, Section 20 Commands and Signals
Creative Scheduling
Clubs around the country are finding ways to get through these tough economic times by offering exhibitors additional opportunities to show in multiple classes in one day without having to worry about over loads. The revision to Chapter 1, Section 27, “Limitation of Entries” of the Obedience Regulations allows clubs to limit entries to the number of hours a judge can judge rather than by limiting class entries. This provision allows clubs to offer all of the classes without the worry of having to hire an additional judge after the close of entries. The following wording is an example of what clubs are stating in premium lists and successfully applying:
Entry Limitations – please read carefully – According to Chapter 1, Section 27 of the AKC Obedience Regulations, each judge will be limited to a total of eight hours of judging time per day. Entries will be limited based on the maximum number of dogs allowed per hour for each class according to the Obedience Regulations. Entries will be taken in the order received as time limits are calculated for each judge.

“To Follow”
When an obedience class is listed as “to follow,” that class cannot be started before 12 noon. (Obedience Regulations Chapter 1, Section 26). As a helpful addition, those judges involved with clubs might suggest the judging program state, “No ‘to follow’ class may start before 12:00 noon.”

“Are you ready?”
When is the judge required to ask this question? Before starting each exercise, the judge will ask, “Are you ready?”, including the Directed Retrieve exercise. (Obedience Regulations Chapter 2, Section 4)

Questions from Around the Rings

Directed Retrieve
Question: How would you score a dog that leaves the handler to retrieve the glove, starts toward the wrong glove but then somehow, without any additional command from the handler, manages to get back on line and retrieve the correct glove?
Answer: The Regulations state that the dog must go directly to the glove and that a non-qualifying (NQ) score is required for a dog that does not go directly to the designated glove. In the above example, the dog did not go directly, therefore it is non-qualifying (NQ). (Obedience Regulations, Chapter 5, Section 10 & 11)
Group Exercises
Question: Does a dog that moves a substantial distance away from the place where it was left have to first break the sit or down in order to NQ?
Answer: No. A dog that remains in the required position but moves a substantial distance away from the place where it was left would be non-qualifying (NQ). (Obedience Regulations, Chapter 3, Section 13)
Versatility Class
Question: Must the exercises be performed in the order as listed for each combination?
Answer: No. "Prior to the start of judging, the judge will decide the combination and order of exercises to be performed in this class. The combination and order will not be disclosed to exhibitors until it is posted at the ring, approximately 45 minutes prior to the start of the class." (Obedience Regulations Chapter 8, Section 1)
Jump Height Order in Obedience
Question: If a club should choose to arrange entries according to jump height order, do they have to start with either the smallest or tallest dog height?
Answer: No. They must state in the premium list what jump height will begin the class and if the order will go up or go down.

Examples: All classes with jumps will start with 16” dogs and will descend such as 16, 14, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 26, 24, 22, 20, 18. Or all classes with jumps will start with 16” dogs and ascend such as 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14.(Obedience Regulations Chapter 1, Section 3)
Canine Partner Dogs
Question: Must dogs listed with AKC Canine Partners be neutered/spayed in order to compete in companion events?
Answer: Yes. Dogs listed with AKC Canine Partners must be spayed or neutered in order to compete in AKC Companion Events. (Please note: dogs listed with AKC Canine Partners are not eligible to compete in tracking.) If a judge should become aware of a dog listed with Canine Partners that is competing and not altered, they should include a note in the cover of the book and follow-up with an email to the office. The judge must judge the dog. While the dog’s eligibility to participate may be questioned, it is the judge’s responsibility to judge the dog and report the situation to the AKC.
Disqualification during Awards
Question: What should the judge do if a dog is disqualified during awards?
Answer: The below information addresses Rules Applying to Dog Shows and how these situations are handled by event records.
  • If the dog is in the ring for awards and is disqualified prior to receiving his award, he DOES NOT receive the award and NO OTHER DOG receives that award.

  • Example: While waiting for his award, the second place dog is disqualified. He does not receive his ribbon and the third place dog DOES NOT move into second place. No second place is awarded.

  • If the dog is in the ring for awards and is disqualified after receiving his award, the judge CANNOT ask for the award back. The judge can explain that the AKC will request that all awards be returned and if the exhibitor would like to turn in the award then, they may but it is not required. As with the example above, the third place dog DOES NOT move into second place, even if the exhibitor hands over the award.

  • Once the judge’s book is marked for these placements, the judge cannot change his marking and move any dog up.

  • In addition, any awards that the disqualified dog has won on that given day will be taken away by the AKC.
Apprenticing – Obedience and Rally
Question: Who may an applicant apprentice under?
Answer: A prospective obedience applicant can apprentice under a judge approved for all levels of obedience and a rally applicant can apprentice under a judge approved for all levels of rally.
Rally Advisory Committee Suggestions
We need suggestions to increase interest in the sport of Rally. To submit suggestions for the Rally Advisory Committee, please go to this link. Please note that if you would like to submit multiple suggestions, you must first CLOSE your web browser and then reopen the Rally Advisory Suggestions web form link. DO NOT use the back arrow button to return to the form – it will not function properly.

Recommendations will be accepted through Tuesday, April 20, 2010.

Judges’ Hotline
The Companion Events Department has recently established a “hotline” for judges in situations that require immediate attention when they are judging. The number should only be used by judges who need immediate assistance at a show or trial. Please call 919-816-3957 and follow the instructions.

Remember, You Make it Work!
Your continuing efforts to judge in a friendly, courteous, impartial and consistent manner are appreciated by exhibitors, clubs and the Companion Events Department.Sincerely,

Curt Curtis, AVP Companion Events
And the Field Staff … Roger Ayres, Bill Thayne, Larry Warsoff, Diane Schultz, and Betty Winthers

If you know of an obedience or rally judge who is not getting the newsletters, please have them contact contact Tommi Powell at 919-816-3557 or at tep@akc.org.

© 2010 American Kennel Club