Obedience & Rally Newsletter

May/June 2011

Beginner Novice Class
The new Beginner Novice Class is proving to be very popular with exhibitors and in turn is now becoming a very popular class for clubs to offer. You should be seeing an increase in the number of requests you receive to judge this class. Everyone should be familiar with the exercises and how they are to be performed. There have been some questions that have popped up regarding some of the nuances of judging this new class.

While it is not mentioned in the Obedience Regulations; we are encouraging judges to allow a walk through of the heeling pattern for Beginner Novice exhibitors. If time allows, please initiate a walk through for the Beginner Novice classes. This will help either in their transition from rally to obedience or in calming the nerves of some of our newbie competitors.

Holding the leash for the Recall
There should be no penalty for holding the leash in both hands during the recall exercise. Exhibitors may hold the leash with both hands or with either hand when walking away from the dog to perform the recall exercise.

Guiding Gently by the Collar
This is not addressed in the Obedience Regulations however due to the experience level of dogs and handlers in the Beginner Novice class, handlers should be allowed to guide their dog gently by the collar for the sit stay and recall exercises if they need to.

Beginner Novice Run-off
The run-off in this class is the Regular Novice Heel on Leash exercise without the Figure 8 and it should be judged and conducted according to Chapter 3, sections 5 & 6 in the Obedience Regulations.

2011 Obedience Regulation Changes
2011 has brought a few changes to the Obedience Regulations regarding accepting assignments. These include:

Date and Mileage restrictions for accepting assignments have changed from 200 miles and 30 days to 100 miles and 30 days. This applies to both obedience AND rally judges.

Obedience judges can now accept assignments to judge the same classes for two obedience trials that fall on the same day at the same site, or for two obedience trials held over the course of two consecutive days.

Only two judges and three qualifying scores are needed to earn any AKC obedience title.

Obedience and Rally judges, please review and be aware of the new Judges Temporary Referral Policy effective January 1, 2011.

Conduct and Manner at Trials
The Companion Events department is getting an increasing number of complaints regarding judge’s generally being gruff and short with exhibitors. This is not acceptable! As an AKC judge you have a responsibility to exhibitors to be friendly and courteous to everyone. They have paid a fee to have their performance fairly and objectively evaluated. It is your job to ensure that you treat everyone in your ring with professionalism and respect, without the exhibitors there would be no trials.

We have also received complaints that a number of judges are not familiar with judging the new optional titling classes. When you accept an assignment, be prepared for it and please ensure that you are familiar with the exercises for each class you have been assigned. In no situation is it acceptable for you as a judge to have a novice exhibitor explain to you how the class should be judged. If you have any questions about any of these classes please do not hesitate to call the office or talk to the field rep in your area, any of us would be happy to assist you.

Keep in mind as an AKC judge you are held to a higher standard of integrity and your behavior is singled out for critical observation by spectators and exhibitors. Remember that a perfectly innocent action or discussion can be misconstrued. You are there to evaluate the performances of dogs and handlers. In no way should you take any position to correct a dog during its performance or encourage an exhibitor to train their dog in your ring. This is not what you are there to do. You must maintain control of your ring, but it is NOT your responsibility as a judge to correct a dog in your ring or allow an exhibitor to “work through” some of their training issues for any reason.

“You Make it Work!” In many cases you are the person who ensures that the classes you are judging run smoothly and in a timely fashion. Sometimes, due to poor club scheduling or outside occurrences at the trial, scheduled start times may cause a delay in judging. Please remember that if a class has a published start time then that is the time the class will start, regardless if there is an unforeseen circumstance that could facilitate an earlier start time. You may NEVER start a class before the published start time and no “to follow” class may be started before 12 noon at an all breed obedience trial and all “to follow” classes must be judged in the order published in the judging program.

Disqualification vs. Excusal
Remember. There are only 4 reasons that a judge can disqualify a dog from competition. The 4 reasons are for being blind (without useful vision), being deaf (without useful hearing), changes in appearance for cosmetic reasons through artificial means, and for attacking or ATTEMPTING to attack a PERSON.

A dog on dog attack is NOT a disqualification, it is an excusal. This terminology is very important so that the exhibitor understands the consequences of the situation. It is your responsibility to be sure the exhibitor knows what the difference is and what the correct procedures are to be followed.

When a dog is disqualified for one of the 4 reasons, it may no longer compete in AKC events until/if the owner applies for and receives re-instatement from the AKC. When a dog has attacked or attempted to attack a person the “Disqualification for Attacking” form must be filled out. When a dog is excused for attacking or attempting to attack another dog in the ring the “Dog on Dog Attack” form must be filled out and a copy must be given to the exhibitor.

Please be clear that the dog has not been “Disqualified” from AKC competition for a dog on dog attack, but that the incident will be recorded on the dog’s AKC record. If the dog is ever excused again for attacking another dog it is at that point the dog may not compete in obedience classes until the owner applies for and receives re-instatement. The dog is still EXCUSED from your ring however, even if it is the second offense.

If there is any injury to any dog involved in the dog attack, the Event Committee will also need to be notified so that the club’s Event Committee can investigate to determine if either dog is a hazard and if the dog(s) will then be disqualified per Chapter 1, Section 17a of the Obedience Regulations. If an incident involving an attack on a dog or person occurs outside the ring it becomes the Event Committee’s responsibility to determine if the dog must be disqualified. In these cases the form “Dog Disqualified by Event Committee” will be used by the Event Committee. When a dog is disqualified by an Event Committee, it is no longer eligible to compete in any AKC event or be on the grounds of an AKC event until the owner applies for and receives re-instatement.

We are providing the procedure to follow in the instance that you need to disqualify a dog for attacking a person in your ring that is provided in the judge’s educational seminars for review. Please do not hesitate to contact the Companion Events department if you have any questions regarding any of these procedures.

Excusals and Marking the Judge’s Book
The previous section leads naturally into the topic of Excusals and marking the judge’s book. In the case of a dog being excused from the second group exercise simply for leaving the place where it was left in the first group exercise, the book should be marked “excused – left place” or “ex” and then a note in the cover to denote that the dog left its place if there is not enough room to write in the space(s) designated for the group exercises.

Questions from Fellow Judges

“When is a dog considered down?”

This is an age old question that has been asked throughout the years by many judges. The most correct answer would be to “use your judgment” and if in your opinion the dog is down, then the dog is down. In the interest of clarity and consistent judging we are providing some guidelines that may help your mental picture of a down.

A down is ideally when a dog has both elbows and rear hocks in contact with the floor. A dog should also be considered down if it has rolled on its back, side or hip. However, dogs, much like people are rarely anatomically perfect. Deep chested dogs or dogs with short legs may have trouble getting all of their correct parts on the floor. Use your best judgment in this area but be aware that a dog with its chest on the floor and both hocks on the floor really can’t get any lower, regardless if one elbow or both elbows are not touching the ring surface.

In the end, it is your call; keep in mind that not all dogs have the same physique and their physical characteristics should be considered when forming your mental image of what a down should be.

How is High Combined handled when there is a run-off for High in Trial?

Situation #1

Dog A 198.5 UB 198 OB
Dog B 198+ UB 198.5 OB
Dog C 198 UB 198.5 +OB

Dog A and Dog C runoff for HIT
What do we do for High Combined?

Answer: All three dogs A, B, & C run-off for High Combined because each dog has beaten the others in one class.

Situation # 2
Dog A 198.5 UB 198 OB
Dog B 198+ UB 198.5 + OB
Dog C 198 UB 198.5 OB

Dog A and B runoff for HIT
What do we do for High Combined?

Answer: Dogs A and B run off for High Combined, C has been beaten by B in both classes therefore can not get High Combined over B.

National Obedience Invitational
The 2011 AKC National Obedience Invitational will be held in Orlando, Florida on December 17 & 18, 2011. This event will be held in conjunction with the 2011 AKC/Eukanuba National Championship and the 2011 AKC Agility Invitational. This is a very special NOI because this year marks the 75th Anniversary of AKC obedience! There will be special presentations and a “walk down memory lane” if you have not been to the Invitational or it’s been awhile since you attended, this is the year to come out and show your support of this historic and prestigious sport. We will also be holding our FIRST Juniors Obedience Competition on Saturday, December 17th. For more details please visit the AKC web site.

The top 25 dogs are invited to the NOI based on Obedience Trial Championship (OTCH) points earned from July 1st, 2010 through June 30th, 2011. In addition the top three dogs of each breed ranked by OTCH points will also be invited. If the number of dogs within a specific breed exceeds 30 dogs, then a ratio of that breed will be invited.

Additionally, from July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2011, dogs and handlers can compete at regional competitions held throughout the United States, for an invitation to the National Obedience Invitational.

The Companion Events department is accepting applications for an official event photographer and an official event videographer for the 2011 AKC National Obedience Invitational (NOI). Please review the RFP’s and submit your application on or before June 30, 2011.

If you have any questions regarding this event please contact, Lisa Strickland, at (919) 816-3816 or by email NOI@akc.org. Follow this page for NOI updates.

Rally Course Design and Placement of Signs
It is imperative that placement of signs allow each station to be performed correctly and completely according to the station description. Courses are not required to be straight lines as drifting between stations is allowed but there must be sufficient room and distance to permit each station to be performed in its entirety before drifting to perform the station thereafter.

As an example, Jump, About U Turn, Jump: First, the About U Turn must to be set so that upon landing the dog is called to heel position; the dog should be moving towards the handler, not the handler moving into the dog. This would require the About U Turn be placed directly in front of the handler’s path. At the location of the About U Turn there has to be sufficient room and distance to allow teams to complete the About U Turn correctly and completely BEFORE drifting to the right in order to then have the dog in position to take the jump after the turn.

Whenever an exhibitor must actually change direction in order to perform the next station a change of direction sign is required. Not using one would be considered a trap. Courses do not have to be exact straight lines but should be straightforward, without traps. Drifting is allowed as long as there is enough distance between stations to allow each station to be completed before drifting to the next.

Obedience and Rally Judge’s Housekeeping Items

25 and 50 Year Medallions

If you are approaching your 25th or 50th anniversary as an AKC judge, please contact Julie Eagle at (919) 816-3557 or jfe@akc.org to ensure that you receive your medallion in a timely manner. If you know someone who has not received theirs, please have them contact Julie and she will be happy to assist them.

Not receiving the judge’s newsletter?
If you have been having trouble getting the e-newsletter sent directly to you this may be because you have inadvertently (or intentionally) unsubscribed to AKC mailings. When you unsubscribe to any AKC mailing, you also unsubscribe to the judge’s newsletter. If you are not receiving the judge’s newsletter or know someone who is not receiving them, please send an email to Sydney Suwannarat at sxs@akc.org to get back on the AKC mailing list.

If you have had a change to any of your contact information listed in the printed and online Judge’s Directory please contact Julie Eagle at jfe@akc.org to update any of your contact information. You can see how your contact information is displayed in the online judge’s directory.

Until Next Time…
Remember, YOU Make it Work!
Your continuing efforts to judge in a friendly, courteous, honest, impartial and consistent manner are appreciated by exhibitors, clubs and the Companion Events Department.

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