Obedience & Rally Newsletter

Dear Obedience & Rally Judges:

RED BOOK — New Obedience Regulations!
The latest edition of the Obedience/Rally Regulations/Guidelines, (red cover, 5/12) is available on the web including 5 new inserts. You can download the regulations or order a copy via the AKC Store.

However, you should know that there are some editorial updates coming soon to the red book, including the addition of the regulations for the Pre-Classes (Pre-Novice, Pre-Open, Pre-Utility). To order the regulations you may call AKC Customer Service at 919-233-9767. If calling AKC to order the regulations:

  • Orders for a single copy (or up to 4 books) can be requested for $8.00 per copy.
  • Bulk orders of five (5) or more books can be ordered for $4.00 per copy.
  • When the AKC Booth is at an event, copies can be purchased at the price of $5.00 per copy.

Additionally, you may download the written regulations for the Pre-Classes as a separate document.

If you need to make a note on the inside cover of the judges’ book in either obedience or rally please be certain to tell the Trial Secretary or Superintendent that there is a note on the cover and ask that it be included with the book when submitting the event results to AKC.

A judge will not be approved to judge the same regular or optional titling class at all-breed events within 30 days and 100 straight-line miles of each other with the following exceptions:

A judge may accept assignments to judge the same classes for two obedience trials that fall on the same day at the same site.

A judge may accept assignments to judge the same classes at two obedience trials over the course of two consecutive days at the same site within a local geographical area as determined by the AKC.

If you are wondering if you can accept an all-breed assignment based on the 30 days/100 miles requirements, the following guidelines would apply:

  • If it is more than 100 miles and less than 30 days, it is ok.
  • If it is more than 30 days and less than 100 miles, it is ok.
  • If it is less than 100 miles and not more than 30 days, it is NOT ok.
  • If it is less than 30 days and not more than 100 miles, it is NOT ok.

Regarding the discussions we’ve been hearing concerning extended judging times, we do have a couple of alternatives currently under study and hope to address this in the near future. One recommendation we will provide the clubs and trial secretaries/superintendents is a copy of the table below that will assist them in scheduling classes.

Once the judging assignments have been determined and entries have closed, it will be strongly recommended that they follow the table below when classes follow one another in the same ring, as these classes use similar equipment and ring set-up. We are not saying that they must follow this class order, only that the equipment and set-ups are similar and this will facilitate a more efficient trial.

For instance, if one ring is used for the Open A/B class followed by Novice A/B, then followed by the Graduate Novice class; instead they should consider having Graduate Novice follow the Open classes to have the ring run more efficiently.

  Regular and Optional Titling Classes Classes
Novice Class Set-up/Equipment Open Class Set-up/Equipment Utility Class Set-up/Equipment
Novice A and/or B (Regular)
Pre-Novice (Optional)
Beginner Novice (Optional)
Sub-Novice (Non-Regular)
Open A and/or B (Regular)
Pre-Open (Optional)
Graduate Novice (Optional)
Versatility (Optional)
Utility A and/or B (Regular)
Pre-Utility (Optional)
Graduate Open (Optional)
Versatility (Optional)

   Non-Regular Classes
Novice Class Set-up/Equipment Open Class Set-up/Equipment Utility Class Set-up/Equipment
Wild Card Novice
Veterans Class
Brace Class
Team Class
Obedience Advanced Teamwork
Wild Card Open
Veterans Class
Wild Card Utility
International Class

Of course, any non-regular class must be judged after the regular and/or optional titling classes if the classes are scheduled to be judged in the same ring. A club may designate a ring for the non-regular classes and use a non-regular status judge if they choose to do so.

This exercise is to be performed with the dog on a 6-foot leash. It is the judge’s responsibility to check to see that the handler has the right equipment on the dog before judging starts. The judge can also ask the steward to check and remind handlers they need a six-foot leash.

If the judge misses this opportunity, when they do become aware of it they can ask the handler to get the correct equipment.

Judges are human and will make errors from time to time. If a judge realizes that an error was made, the judge may make a change, as long as he or she is certain that the correction is made on the correct dog whose score needs to be corrected. To correct an error after marking a score, cross out the error, write the correction, and initial the change.

If the judge realizes that there is an error after they have turned in the Judge’s book they should go to the Secretary/Superintendent to make the correction. If they realize there is an error after the event, they should contact AKC to make the correction immediately.

Telephone calls should never be made or received by either the judge or the ring steward while in the ring.

When a judge is presented with an AKC Letter of Accommodation they are to honor it. If an exhibitor requests an accommodation at the ring, judges should do as they have always done and work with the handler in allowing reasonable modifications in order to ensure the team is allowed to compete. The dog is required to perform all parts of the exercises and the modification may not aid the dog’s performance. Please review Obedience Regulations, Chapter 2, Section 1 and Obedience Judges Guidelines, Chapter 4.

Sign # 118 HALT – Leave Dog – 2 Steps – Call to Heel – Forward – The handler halts, and the dog sits in heel position. While the dog remains sitting the handler takes two steps forward and pauses. The handler moves forward and commands the dog to resume heel position. The dog must move briskly. (Stationary exercise)

A principal part of this exercise is that the dog remains sitting and that the handler moves forward two steps and pauses. As the handler moves forward the dog is to catch up to the handler and return to heel position.

The handler can call the dog then move forward, call the dog and move forward at the same time, or call dog after starting to move forward, all without penalty. The principle part is not when the handler calls the dog. The principle part is when the handler moves forward the dog also moves to resume heel position.

Sign # 210 Send to JumpAt the sign for this station, the handler will command and/or signal the dog to leave heel position to execute the jump. The dog must leave the handler immediately and execute the jump. The handler must maintain a straight path of at least a 3 foot distance away from the jump and may not pass the jump until the dog has returned to heel position. The dog must jump the jump in the proper direction and return to heel position without pause, hesitation, or stopping. The team then continues to the next station.

The principle parts of this exercise are in bold. A dog that does not leave the handler immediately when commanded could receive minor deduction of 1-2 points (Slow, delay, or resistance to respond), or minor to substantial deduction (1-10 points) for (lack of teamwork) depending on the degree.

When using this sign it is to be considered one of the two required jumps in excellent. Remember the Excellent Courses shall have a minimum of two Advanced level stations and a minimum of three Excellent level stations, plus the two required jumps and the Sit Stay exercise.

Signs # 13, 14, 15, and 16: The language in italics and bold have been added to specify how the exercise should be executed by the handler. If the handler steps back to get the dog to move it is not an automatic IP (incorrectly performed) but instead a handler error for moving the feet. This handler error should be penalized 1-10 points depending on the degree and extent of the error.

Sign 299 Call to Heel: This sign will be used as a marker for associated exercises. As it is right now this sign is to be used for Signs 206, 207, 208 and 209.

Signs 208 and 209 are “Call to Front” signs. If you are using signs 208 and 209, mention this in your walk through that the “Call to Heel” marker will be used for these signs and exhibitors should not be confused by the word “Heel” at these stations.

AKC will be updating this sign to clarify the language as a “Call” marker only.

According to the Rally Judges Guidelines, Chapter 5, Section 2, Final scores may be recorded in the official judge’s book by the table steward. Judges have the flexibility to do their own books or use the table steward. Should you choose to mark your own book, it is imperative that you do so in a time efficient manner in order to stay on schedule.

The Steward in Rally section in the regulation book is a guide to help stewards know what tasks they may be required to do and to assist judges in giving stewards instructions. Ultimately, judges are solely responsible for their ring. The extent to which a judge uses their stewards is up to each judge.

Judges are no longer required to provide course copies with the judges’ books for the completed class to the Trial Secretary/Superintendent. However, judges ARE required to keep copies of the courses used for each class along with the worksheets and copies of the judge’s books for at least 6 months in case such records are required by the AKC. The Rally Judges’ Guidelines, Chapter 5, Sections 2 and 3 will be amended to reflect this change and clubs and superintendents will be notified.

A 10-minute walkthrough for approximately each two hours of judging will be allowed for handlers without their dogs. After each two-hour period of judging, judges should allow an additional 10-minute walkthrough for the next two-hour block of dogs to be judged in the class.

When the same course is used for A and B classes, the judge may choose to combine the walkthrough times. This combined walkthrough is based on each two hours of judging. Therefore, if there are more than 20 teams total, the judge will give each class its own walkthrough.

Information is available on the AKC website regarding insurance for judges and for clubs.

One is specific to judge’s liability insurance coverage and the other is the regarding available coverage for clubs. It is important for clubs to have appropriate insurance for their events and activities and they should consult with a local agent, or they may use the source at the link above.

Click here to go to the AKC website for information on future seminars.

Obedience Judges must attend an Obedience Seminar every three years; Rally Judges must attend an Obedience & Rally Seminar every three years. In most cases, the Obedience Seminar is held on Saturday and the Rally Seminar is held on Sunday.

Upcoming AKC Obedience & Rally Judges' Continuing Education Seminars:

2013 Seminar Dates: Contact Email
Jan 5 & 6 – Contra Costa County, CA Bea Moore beamoore@comcast.net
Feb 23 & 24 – St. Louis, MO Virginia (Ginger) Kinion gkinion@sbcglobal.net
Mar 2 & 3 – Englewood, CO Shelley Voorhees Shelleyathome2@msn.com
Aug 24 & 25 – Raleigh, NC – Judges Only William Thayne WVT@akc.org
Sept 14 & 15 – Brooklyn Heights, OH Linda MacDonald macdonaldlinda@ameritech.net
Sept 21 & 22 – Lakeland, FL Robert Withers bob.withers@lmco.com
2014 Seminar Dates:    
Jan 18 & 19 – New Lenox IL Lynn McNally mcgolden7@comcast.net
Mar 1 & 2 – Bloomington, CA Robert Livell RPKSL@Charter.net
Apr 12 & 13 – Glenmont, NY William Craig hawkdogud@gmail.com
Aug 23 & 24 – Raleigh, NC – Judges Only William Thayne WVT@akc.org
Sep 20 & 21 – Oklahoma City, OK Cheryl Deacon cheryl-deacon@ouhsc.edu
Oct 18 & 19 – Lacey, WA Sue Cox johnandsuzanne@comcast.net
2015 Seminar Dates:    
Feb 28 & Mar 1 – Norcross, GA Gail LaBerge outland@laberge.org
Apr 11 & 12 – Wyomissing, PA Nancy Withers gomets.dog@verizon.net
Apr 25 & 26 – Carrollton, TX Nancy Simmons nansimmons@yahoo.com
May 16 & 17 – Bloomington, MN Barbara Wedekind Selton baw4305@aol.com
Aug 22 & 23 – Raleigh, NC – Judges Only William Thayne WVT@akc.org
Sep 19 & 20 – Flint, MI Cheryl Haedt cherylhaedt@centurytel.net

Plan ahead, seminars will be limited to six per year and they will rotate regionally so that a seminar will be held in that region once every three years. Additionally, there will be a seminar held each year in Raleigh, NC that will be limited to Judges only. Judges should watch for seminars scheduled in an area near them and may need to attend a seminar earlier than their third year to get on track to attend the seminar once every three years in their region. Questions regarding the seminar schedule should be sent to Bill Thayne at WVT@akc.org for assistance.

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. Keep up the good work.


Pam Manaton, Director of Obedience, Rally & Tracking
Bill Thayne, Diane Schultz, Mary Higdem and Sharon Hodgens-Wood, AKC Obedience/Rally Field Reps.

Comments, Questions, or Suggested Topics
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