Obedience & Rally Newsletter

To AKC Obedience and Rally Judges:

The 2010 National Obedience Invitational is just around the corner, December 4th and 5th, 2010 in Long Beach, California. The judging panel is as follows:

Mr. James “Jim” Thompson – Sequim, WA
Mrs. Nancy Simmons – Flower Mound, TX
Ms. Laurella Pang – Honolulu, HI.
Mr. Howard Glatstein – Germantown, TN.
Mr. John Cox – Seattle, WA
Mrs. Sue Cox – Seattle, WA.

The NOI will not be in California for at least another 5 years, so come out and support the most prestigious obedience event in the country! The 2011 NOI will be held in Orlando, Florida.

Take the opportunity to advertise your club or send special wishes to this year's competitors in a memorable and visual way by placing an ad in the catalog for the 2010 Obedience Invitational. For more details please visit the 2010 AKC National Obedience Invitational web page.

We are happy to announce that for the first time we are offering pre-order souvenirs!! All orders must be placed by Friday, October 1, 2010. For more information please see the order form.

A new Quiz addition to the newsletter is being added! The new addition will be at the end of every newsletter. This month’s quiz is “Know Your Regulation Book”. The intent is to help expand and exercise your knowledge of AKC regulations. To find the answers….go to your regulation book!

JUDGES! This is your chance to add to the newsletter. If you have 2 or 3 questions you feel would be good questions for a quiz, please submit your questions AND answers to Sydney Suwannarat at sxs@akc.org. Your questions will be reviewed by the AKC staff and the Executive Field Rep team and if approved will go into the next newsletter.

As of July 1st, 2010 the new Beginner Novice Optional Titling Class went into effect. This class is becoming increasingly popular for both clubs and exhibitors. Interest in this new class is growing everyday. It has seen very positive results in the short amount of time it has been offered. We ask that if you have not already, please become familiar with judging this class as it continues to grow in popularity.

To facilitate consistent judging in this new class and in the Graduate Open class a few clarifications need to be made.

Beginner Novice Heel on Leash
This exercise is performed using rally signs. The judge will ask the exhibitor if they are ready at the beginning of the exercise before the order “Forward” is given. The dog/handler team will maneuver through the heeling pattern using the signs. You should not give any other commands during the performance. Once the dog and handler get to the “Halt/Sit” sign, the order “Exercised Finished” will be given to end the exercise. Please also keep in mind that Figure 8 is a called exercise as in the Regular Novice class.

Currently the regulations in this section at the end of the paragraph states:

 “At the “Halt/Sit” sign, the handler will stop. The dog shall sit straight and promptly in the heel position without command or signal and shall not move until the handler again moves forward.

This is confusing and the italicized text will be removed in future printings of the regulations. The handler does not move forward again in this exercise. Once the team comes to the Halt/Sit sign and performs the action, the judge is to give the order “Exercise Finished”. The sentence was intended to tell the handler that they must wait for the judge’s order “Exercised Finished” before they can break the position. This is different from rally because they do not have to wait on an order from the judge to tell them the performance is over.

Graduate Open Go Outs.

  1. Dog goes out and sits, but gets up and moves before the handler returns to heel position.
    • Not staying in position is not a principal part of this exercise. The penalty for this is also not specified in the regulations; therefore the penalty is up to the judge. The total points a judge may take off could be up to and including an NQ score, although an NQ for this action alone is not recommended.
  2. Dog goes out but does not sit.
    • This should be scored the same as it is in the Utility Class.

Regular Obedience Classes and General Judging

The Dumbbell
The dumbbell must be approved by the judge. Two possible ways to do this are to have the dumbbell placed on the table prior to bringing the team into the ring and approve it at that time or have a steward hand the dumbbell to the judge prior to the first retrieve exercise, then the judges hand’s it to the exhibitor. So then, what constitutes a correct dumbbell?

Merriam-Webster defines a dumbbell as “two weights connected by a short bar that serves as a handle.” The dumbbell should only have ONE bar connecting the two ends. Two bars (similar to some scent articles) are not acceptable for the dumbbell used in the Open exercises. Other specifications as listed in the Obedience Regulations for the dumbbell include the following:

  • Must be made out of one or more solid pieces of wood or non-wooden material
  • If the dumbbell is not made from wood it must be similar in size, shape, and weight to a wooden dumbbell.
  • The size of the dumbbell must be proportionate to the size of the dog.
  • No decorations or attachments
  • Cannot be hollowed out.

Heel Position and Pivots
Heel position should be maintained through out pivots where the dog and handler are to turn together. Glove # 3 Directed Retrieve – handler turns left, the dog is required to turn left with the hander and remain in heel position to avoid being penalized. If the handler turns left but the dog goes to the right and around the handler to end up back in heel position the dog is to be penalized for leaving heel position during the pivot.

However, in the Scent Discrimination exercise if the “Send Directly” method is chosen the dog is not required to maintain heel position because the command or signal to retrieve is given prior to the handler and dog turning. In this case the dog must go directly to the articles. 

Provisional Judging, Observation Requests, Judges Professional Liability, and Emergency Judging Assignments

The Beginner Novice Class
If you are a provisional judge the number of dogs judged from this class will count toward your requirements, but NOT the number of assignments. A provisional judge must still judge a minimum of 10 NOVICE assignments.

Observation Requests
Travel schedules for the Field Reps are developed 4 to 6 months prior to events. If you need to schedule an observation, please get your request in to Julie Eagle jfe@akc.org as soon as possible after you have accepted an assignment. This will help us assist you in getting your observation or working with you to find a date that works for all.

How to apply to become a Non-Regular Obedience Judge
If you know someone who is interested in becoming a non-regular obedience judge, please advise them of the following procedure.

They need to have owned and trained a dog to the UD title. They can send their request by email to Julie Eagle in Companion Events at jfe@akc.org. In the email they need to include the registration information of the dog they titled to UD and their name and contact information. It’s that easy! Once their number is assigned they may begin accepting assignments to judge non-regular classes in obedience.

Clean Your Ring!
Please be courteous to fellow judges when using chalk on the obedience mats. The judge (if there is one) using the ring after you may use tape. Please clean your chalk marks or have a steward clean them after you are finished judging for the day.

AKC Judges Professional Liability
Here is an FAQ sheet regarding the insurance you carry as an AKC judge at an AKC sanctioned event, also included is an Incident/Claim form should you ever need it.

Emergency Judging Assignments
What constitutes an emergency judging assignment?

If a scheduled judge cancels an assignment 1 to 2 weeks before the date of the trial, this is not considered an emergency judge change. If judges agree to accept an assignment on very short notice due to a cancellation, the judge must still take mileage and date conflicts into account for future and past assignments. If for some reason a judge is not able to make an assignment on the day of judging or is somehow unfit to judge that day, the club may use the available judges, however date and mileage conflicts will still apply. If there is no other judge available on that day, anyone in good standing with the AKC and who is knowledgeable in the class may judge the class.

What If??
This section of the newsletter is to outline some possible judging scenarios that you may come across and wonder “What do I do?” Please note, these are only hypothetical situations and only suggestions for how to handle them should they arise.

“When do you re-judge the heeling exercise if something unusual happens to startle the dog?”

If the dog has not failed the exercise you should never re-judge it regardless of the unusual circumstance. If the dog failed the exercise because of the unusual circumstance the entire heeling exercise need not be re-judged. The part of the heeling exercise that should be re-judged is only the portion of the exercise beginning just prior to the unusual circumstance to the conclusion in either during the heeling pattern or during the figure eight. Both parts do not need to be re-judged.

“What if I get to a trial and there are no regulation jumps provided by the club, only practice jumps but during the middle of the class they are provided?”

If regulation jumps are provided sometime after the start of the class you will replace the practice jumps and finish judging the class using the regulation jumps. Please note this unusual circumstance on the inside front cover of your judge’s book.

“What if I posted the Open II order of exercises and at the beginning of the groups I accidentally give the order to Sit out of habit and didn’t realize it until after I ordered everyone to leave their dogs?

  • If the handlers are still in the ring you can call them back to their dogs and give them the correct order.
  • If the handlers have already gone out of sight continue the exercise and then do the Long Down. Do not start the exercise over
  • If you have a 2nd group, judge them in the correct order.
  • If you don’t realize your mistake until after the class is over, kick yourself in the rear and remember to do it right the next time!

What if I posted the Open V order of exercises and I accidentally ordered the exhibitor to do the Heel Free first?”

You can correct the order for the next dog, but allow the dog and handler in the ring to complete the order as you started it; if several dogs have been judged you can still correct the order at any time.

Rally

Rally Signs and Walking the Course
There seems to be some confusion by exhibitors as to the language on Rally signs. The signs are simply a visual reference to the description of the exercise in the Rally Regulations. The signs are not intended to be anything more than that. Please council exhibitors if they are looking for guidance on how to do an exercise to refer to the description of the exercise rather than the wording or symbol on the sign.

As a Rally judge you should not walk the course with exhibitors during the “Walk Through”. Above all, you as the judge must not explain how the sign is to be performed. The exhibitor should be courteously referred to the regulations Sign Descriptions which should be made available on a table. Judges should NOT describe how they want the signs to be performed. This results in the exhibitor getting a different requirement from each judge at each rally trial they enter. Explanations to the exhibitor should state that the principal parts of a sign as described in the Rally Regulations are required and, if not met, will be scored as an Incorrect Performance (IP).

Re-Tries
Multiple Re-Tries (more than the allowed number) are Incorrect Performances. In addition, you as the judge should POLITELY tell the handler to move along. Trial day is a test day, not a day for practice by the dog and handler team.

Additionally, many times on a rally course, we see dog and handler frozen in time while the handler attempts to get the dog to sit (or down, or whatever performance is required by that station) and nothing is happening. Judges should tell the handler to move on to the next station. What is happening is that the handler continues to repeatedly beg the dog to do some action at each station resulting in a three and half or four minute run. These types of performances are enough to destroy any judge’s schedule

As the Rally Regulations point out “There should be a sense of teamwork between the dog and handler both during the numbered exercises and between the exercise signs…”

Jumps
There have been suggestions for requiring a ten foot distance on both sides of a Rally jump. However, in obedience where the jumps are much higher than those used in a Rally trial, the minimum distance is only eight feet and that has worked well for many years. We should concentrate our efforts on designing courses that flow smoothly rather than imposing arbitrary distances between signs and/or jumps.

Pivots vs. Turns
One more time – a pivot is always a turn, but a turn is not always a pivot. For example, the standard “About Turn” in Obedience is a turn that can be executed as a pivot. However, Sign # 37 which is a “Halt, 90 degree pivot right – Halt” should be performed as a pivot (a turn in place). If the handler moves a foot out of the place they originally occupied, then have they not performed Sign # 37 correctly. It should be scored as an Incorrect Performance or, depending upon the circumstances at the very least a handler error.

Rally Signs and Stewards
Some judges are still not developing a list of signs that need to be pulled by the steward for each course. The list should have legible sequential course numbers and legible A.K.C. sign numbers. If possible, “stack” the signs on the sign holders on the course. This can save a lot of set up time and make it possible for the steward to change the signs for the next course while the judge is checking the scores and presenting awards for the course just completed.

Scoring
There is a reference in the Rally Regulations that states “Scoring in Rally is not as rigorous as in Traditional Obedience.” This statement has been over emphasized by most judges. There is also a statement a few sentences later “Any faults in Traditional Obedience that would be evaluated and scored as a one-point deduction or more should be scored the same in Rally unless otherwise mentioned in the Rally Regulations”. This statement has been overlooked by most judges. It should be stressed that the only difference between judging traditional obedience and judging rally is that half point faults are not considered in Rally, but all other faults should be considered the same as in traditional obedience. This is why it is so important for rally judges to have competed in obedience and are also required to go to AKC obedience educational seminars.

Rally On!!!!


Obedience and Rally Judge’s Quiz!!!

In what chapter of the Obedience Regulations/Rally Regulations would you find information on:

Obedience

Obedience Master Title and Grand Master Title

  • Chapter 6
  • Chapter 8
  • Chapter 10
  • Chapter 12
Beginner Novice

  • Chapter 4
  • Chapter 6
  • Chapter 8
  • Chapter 10

Versatile Companion Dog

  • Chapter 12
  • Chapter 13
  • Chapter 14
  • Chapter 15

Dogs That May Not Compete

  • Chapter 1
  • Chapter 2
  • Chapter 3
  • Chapter 4

Dog Attacks/Event Committee Hearing

  • Chapter 1
  • Chapter 2
  • Chapter 3
  • Chapter 4

Interference and Double Handling

  • Chapter 1
  • Chapter 2
  • Chapter 3
  • Chapter 4

Collars

  • Chapter 1
  • Chapter 2
  • Chapter 3
  • Chapter 4

Decisions

  • Chapter 1
  • Chapter 2
  • Chapter 3
  • Chapter 4

Novice Obedience

  • Chapter 1
  • Chapter 2
  • Chapter 3
  • Chapter 4

Training and Disciplining in the Ring

  • Chapter 1
  • Chapter 2
  • Chapter 3
  • Chapter 4

Graduate Open

  • Chapter 7
  • Chapter 8
  • Chapter 9
  • Chapter 10

Where would you find the first mention of the following statement in the Obedience Regulations?
“All contestants in a class are required to perform the same exercises in substantially the same way so that the relative quality of the various performances may be compared and scored.”

  • Chapter 1
  • Chapter 2
  • Mission Statement
  • Purpose

Rally

Space Requirements

  • Chapter 1
  • Chapter 2
  • Chapter 3
  • Chapter 4

Judging Schedule – Rally

  • Chapter 1
  • Chapter 2
  • Chapter 3
  • Chapter 4

Handler Error - Rally

  • Chapter 1
  • Chapter 2
  • Chapter 3
  • Chapter 4

Rally Advanced Class

  • Chapter 1
  • Chapter 2
  • Chapter 3
  • Chapter 4



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