Random Little Tidbits

By John Cox
AKC Obedience Judge

 

                                       



John's first Saint Bernard came to live with him in 1969. This five-week-old puppy went on to become the breed’s most-titled (at the time) with American and Canadian Champion titles and American and Canadian Utility Dog (UD) obedience titles. Since Nicklus, John has lived with eight other Saints which have earned additional championships and UDTs & Working Dog titles. John is also known for a Pembroke Welsh Corgi that earned a Tracking Dog (TD) title. 

In 1998 Johnstarted over with another Saint Bernard puppy imported from Belgium.  This new best friend surpassed John's other dog's record as most-titled Saint Bernard, with 39 titles to his name including nine Master titles in Agility, a UDXTD in Obedience and Tracking, plus a VCD2 and breed championship.

John started judging AKC obedience in 1978 and thoroughly enjoys this aspect of the sport.  2018 will be John's 40th year judging. He recently was acquired by the AKC to help support the companion events department.  John is well-known for his Dog Talk articles published below and in the Front & Finish magazine.  Dog Talk covers a large number of aspects involved in the sport including handling and judging tips.


  • Thursday, September 01, 2016 12:00 AM | Front & Finish (Administrator)

    Take a moment and consider yourself as one applying to judge in the sport of Obedience and look to what it takes to fill the shoes of such a judge. We are all quite opinionated when it comes to the question of what makes an excellent Obedience judge and opinions will vary as to what it takes to fill the shoes of an obedience judge. What kind of judge would YOU make and how would YOU go about judging? As in every field there are variations (some good and some that could use improvement) in how an individual accomplishes a task so consider the options in meeting your ideals of an EXCELLENT judge. Take a close look at some of the aspects and decision-making involved in judging with you stepping into the ring as the judge.

    You have decided that you want to judge obedience trials so now what are the steps required to meet this goal? One starts by applying first for Novice - Open and Utility are applied for separately at a later time. Before prematurely applying to judge Novice Obedience Classes at American Kennel Club member or licensed trials, the AKC has certain requirements that must be met. Failure to meet any requirement will result in the application being returned. Exemptions from some requirements may be made for applicants from Alaska, Hawaii or Puerto Rico.

    To qualify as an applicant – you must have:

    1. Personally owned, trained and titled a dog to an AKC Utility Dog (UD) title and at least one other dog to an AKC Companion Dog (CD) title;

    2. Been active in the sport a minimum of six (6) consecutive years;

    3. Acted as a steward in Novice/Open/Utility class (depending upon class applying for) at AKC member or licensed trials a minimum of ten (10) times;

    4. Have judged at AKC sanctioned obedience A or B matches a minimum of five (5) times. Judging a non-regular class at an AKC trial with a minimum of ten (10) dogs competing may substitute on a one to one basis to replace the match requirement. Apprentice assignments beyond the three (3) required may be used on a one to one basis to replace the match requirement.Apprentice judged under three (3) judges with a minimum of ten (10) dogs in each class. Apprenticing is for prospective judges only and is to be done at the level they are eligible to apply for.

    5. Actively participated as an assistant trainer or as a trainer in a dog training club or similar organization;

    6. Attended an AKC obedience seminar within the last three (3) years.

    Check out the AKC web page for further details: http://www.akc.org/events/obedience/judging_requirements.cfm

    As a judge you are to:
    1. Qualify the dogs that meet the minimum requirements in the Obedience Regulations

    2. Non-qualify the dogs that do not meet the minimum requirements

    3. Separate and place the top four dogs and handlers in the class

    A good knowledge of the Obedience Regulations and Guidelines For Obedience judges is only part of judging - one has to have the fortitude to carry out the correct decisions. All decisions are not going to be clear-cut and scoring faults is not going to be easy. Every infraction from perfection (providing it is worth at least one-half point) should be scored. This may sound like nit-picking but consider the following: If the dog and handler in the ring make a minor or substantial error and it is not scored, is this fair to the next dog and handler when they perform the exercise (or between exercise) perfectly? In theory, you would be giving the same score for different qualities of work. While studying judges, keep notes on both the good points observed and points you feel might be improved upon. Pay particular attention to the following:

    1. Is the judge giving the impression of being the one in charge of the ring and meeting his/her judge’s responsibilities?

    2. How does the judge set up and run their ring?

    3. What instructions are given to the stewards?

    4. What kind of heeling pattern is used? Is it a good one and does it appear to have been thought out?

    5. What position is the judge in for observing and scoring the performance of the dog and handler in the ring?

    6. The scoring of a performance.

    7. How are the ribbon prizes presented?

    1. Is the Judge giving the impression of being the one in charge of the ring and meeting the Judge’s responsibilities?
    The Guidelines For Obedience judges addresses the duties of a judge in the areas of judge's responsibilities, appearance, impartiality, knowledge, and responsibilities to exhibitors, spectators and to the sport of purebred dogs.

    JUDGE'S RESPONSIBILITIES
    It is vitally important for all judges to understand their responsibilities to the sport. Obedience judges symbolize the entire sport of obedience training. While presiding over a ring they represent The American Kennel Club, an organization devoted to impartial administration of every rule and regulation adopted to promote and protect the interest of purebred dogs, their breeding and their exhibiting in shows, obedience trials, tracking tests, and field trials.

    IMPARTIALITY
    Judges should be friendly and courteous, but above all they must be impartial and firm. It is fine to have a sympathetic attitude toward some unexpected failure provided the decision and scoring are not affected. Competent judges are aware that they cannot make concessions to one exhibitor without doing a disfavor to all other exhibitors. First, consideration must be given to those who enter the ring prepared to perform the exercises as required by the Regulations, without any special treatment.

    RESPONSIBILITY TO THE EXHIBITORS
    A judge must remember at all times that every exhibitor is an important participant in the sport. Without exhibitors there would be no trials. It must also be remembered that for every experienced exhibitor, there are hundreds of newcomers. The alienation of newcomers may eventually cause them to lose interest, stop training and quit the sport. The sport needs the novice, because the future of the sport is in the hands of the novice.

    2. How does a Judge set up their ring?
    The way the obedience ring is set up WILL affect the dog's performance. To be sure the ring is going to be the way YOU want it is one reason to be at ringside at least 45-minutes before the scheduled starting time of the class. This will allow time to set up the ring, check the equipment, make changes if necessary and instruct the stewards on how YOU want the ring to run. A good judge will plan the ring set-up so every dog and handler can move between exercises and perform each exercise to the best advantage. While you are observing judges, see how they check the following:

    RING SIZE
    The ring should be paced off to make sure it meets the requirements in Chapter 1, Section 32 of the Obedience Regulations. If the ring does not meet the specifications, you are going to need to take action.

    FLOOR AND GROUND CONDITIONS
    It is your responsibility to see that every handler and dog have a fair shot at a good clean performance; this is first accomplished by having good ring conditions as per the Regulations. If you don't deal with these deficiencies, how are you going to deal with the scoring of a dog/handler when they are affected by such conditions? If indoors, the floor shall have surface or covering that provides footing for the largest dogs. Rubber or similar non-slip material totaling at least four feet in width must be laid for the takeoff and landing at all jumps unless the surface, in the judge's opinion, is such as to not require it. If outdoors, "The ground shall be clean and level, and the grass, if any, shall be cut short." Short means SHORT! Keep in mind the small dog trying to retrieve a dumbbell, scent articles or accomplishing a Long Down in long grass. Blades of grass and weeds will be sticking the dog in the face and unfairly affecting its performance as compared to the Saint Bernard whose face is a good thirty inches from the ground. Of course, a Saint Bernard will not look kindly to having long blades of grass going up his nostrils as he bends down in the course of picking up a dumbbell! Level ground means level! The handler and dog, not to mention the judge, should not have to concern themselves with trying to maintain their balance when walking in the ring.

    EQUIPMENT
    You now have the ring all squared (actually rectangular) away and it is time to check out the equipment. If indoors, and matting is to be used, there are a few things to keep in mind. If your ring is fully matted - you've got it made! You, the handler and dog have ideal conditions. If not fully matted, matting for jumping must be four feet wide and laid for the takeoff and landing at all jumps. If the mats you are supplied with are only three feet wide, two will have to be used to make the required four-foot width for jumping. Length of mat is now also a concern. A dog must be positioned at least eight feet (in Open) in front of the High Jump and Broad Jump. Also, the dumbbell must be thrown at least eight feet beyond the High Jump. This means there should be AT LEAST sixteen feet of matting to be fair to all breeds of dogs for  takeoff and landing. The Jumps are regulated and the required measurements are in Chapter 4, Sections 11 and 13, and Chapter 5, Section 14. These sections also deal with the painting and numbering of the jumps. There are all types of jumps that one will encounter. Beside the wood jumps we now have PVC (plastic) styles. These jumps must have the same properties of the wood jumps. For example, the boards in the High Jump must be rigid and not able to bend and fall out of the upright standards. The Bar must be weighted and have the integrity of a wood bar. It is up to the judge to measure the jumps and have corrections made if needed.

    DEALING WITH RING AND EQUIPMENT DEFICIENCIES
    The judge should take immediate action to correct the deficiencies in the ring or equipment by bringing them to the attention of the Trial Secretary or Superintendent. If there are undesirable ring conditions they must be reported to the American Kennel Club if the deficiencies have not been promptly corrected at the judge's request per Chapter 1, Section 34. The judge reports to the AKC by writing up the uncorrected problem inside the judge's Book cover. Also, a letter (or email) should be sent to the Obedience Department as a follow-up. Had the judge reported incorrect equipment at the club's prior show, it would have been corrected and you would not be dealing with such problems. Don't hesitate to take action - you owe it to the sport and exhibitors!

    GIVE ATTENTION TO LIGHTING
    Be aware of lighting if indoors or out. Pay attention to the dog's line of sight for jumping and signals, and consider where the Group Exercises will take place in the ring. For example, the sun would be better on the dogs back than in its face. Lighting might affect where you want the gate and table in relation to the heeling pattern, plus the position of the jumps may need to be thought out.

    WHERE DO YOU WANT THE GATE?
    Where the ring gate goes in relation to the ring is YOUR choice. If you don't care for the location of the gate when arriving at the ring, change it! It is best to be comfortable with the gate in relation to your heeling pattern and set-up of the ring. The end result will be a better job of judging.

    WHERE DO YOU WANT THE JUDGE' S TABLE?
    Give some real consideration as to where YOU want the judge's table. At the AKC Obedience Judging Seminars it is suggested that the table be OUTSIDE the ring. Their reasons make good common sense: The ring is for the use of the dog, handler and judge.

    · If stewards are on the outside of the ring their attention is more likely to be focused on the ring activities, and they will be ready when needed.

    · If there is food on the table for the judge or stewards, it is now outside the ring.

    · The dog and handler have a better opportunity to perform with the elimination of the commotion around the judge's table. It also frees up more space for better use of the ring.

    MARKING THE RING FOR THE DIFFERENT EXERCISES
    One thing a judge should strive for is to be consistent. Every dog and handler deserves the same opportunity when entering the ring. One way to help achieve consistency is to mark the ring for the DIFFERENT exercises as needed. For example, mark where you want the stewards to stand for the Figure Eight. This makes sure the stewards are always the eight feet apart that is required. If not marked, you will notice the stewards unconsciously standing farther apart for larger dogs and closer for smaller dogs. Also be aware of the other “required” marks for the advanced and Preferred classes.

    RIBBONS AND PRIZES
    Before starting the class, make sure you have all the ribbons and prizes required for that class. This will help your efficiency in being able to present the ribbons and awards after marking the placements in your judge's Book.

    3. What instructions will be given to the Stewards?
    In the Obedience ring a steward CAN make a big difference in how efficiently a ring functions. Their actions can also have an affect on the performance of the dog in the ring. The judge is in sole charge of the way they want the ring conducted, but if this is NOT conveyed to the stewards the first several handlers may be entering a "zoo" instead of an Obedience ring. A helpful suggestion: Have typed steward instructions with your judging equipment. Having your detailed instructions at hand ensures you won't overlook anything and have them available for the stewards' reference during the class.

    4. What type of heeling pattern is used? Is it a good one and appear to have been thought out for your ring?
    When you are invited to judge at a trial, there is an important Chapter and Section to keep in mind. CHAPTER 2, SECTION 6 – JUDGING OF CLASSES AND DIFFERENT BREEDS: "The same methods and standards will be used for judging and scoring the regular, preferred, optional titling and non-regular classes and in judging and scoring the work of dogs of different breeds, including dogs listed with AKC Canine Partners." The time to be aware of this regulation is BEFORE you set up your ring and plot out the heeling pattern and the areas for the different exercises. Large breeds (and super-fast dogs) require a considerable amount of room to maneuver. If this is not factored in beforehand, then the dog's performance could be compromised. All breeds need be given ample space so they have the opportunity to work towards perfection. Also, heeling patterns should be smooth and not choppy. Choppy patterns (explained below) seem to be more of a hindrance to the larger and faster working teams. The next time you go to a trial, notice how the judge has set up their ring. PAY ATTENTION to how the space is used for the different exercises. Make note of the heeling pattern. Also observe how far a dog travels before a halt or a turn and how much space is used for the dog and handler to execute the Fast or Slow. There is NO perfect way to set up a ring or a perfect heeling pattern for all breeds, but some judges make better use of the ring space. When judging at an all-breed trial, you have to be ready for whatever breed comes into the ring -- be it a Chihuahua or an Irish Wolfhound. It is imperative that all breeds be given an equal chance to earn a perfect score if you wish to be a fair judge.

    HEELING PATTERNS
    Heeling is in every AKC obedience class. In choosing a pattern that works for you, also consider the handler and dog. You must give ALL handlers and dogs an EQUAL opportunity to do the principal part of heeling -- the ability of the dog and handler working as a team. Teamwork is best performed when a heeling pattern is smooth. One way to accomplish this objective is to have only one heeling function per leg of the pattern. This provides ALL teams a chance for a smooth performance but when two heeling functions are on one leg of a pattern it becomes choppy and the teamwork starts to suffer. For example, a Fast, Normal, and Halt on one leg would be choppy. Picture an Irish Wolfhound doing this pattern smoothly. Another example...heeling down the center of the ring and making a Right or Left turn and then Slow, using half the ring, before turning again. The choppy pattern will unfairly affect the performance of the larger and/or faster breeds. There is just less room and time to respond if too much is going on during one leg of the heeling pattern. Remember, you are going to be judging these actions. The faults you observe MAY have been caused by YOU by not giving thought to the heeling pattern. The small breeds will start to gain an advantage and you, as a judge, will find your goals of fairness and consistency going down the tubes. A pattern does not have to be long to achieve the smooth objective. The simple "L" pattern (although minimal) lends itself to a smooth performance if you give some thought to where different heeling functions will take place. The "Forward" followed by a few steps and then a "Halt" is another example of unfairness to large breeds, plus it is also choppy. Picture the extremes. A Chihuahua and handler start to heel and the handler walks forward two or three steps and halts on the judge's order. This small breed has had a chance to get up and walk a fair distance before going into a sit. The next dog in the ring is an Irish Wolfhound. The handler starts to heel and walks two or three steps and halts on the judge's order. The Irish Wolfhound starts to move forward in heel position, and maybe just moved one-half or one body length, and now has to go into a sit. Did this breed have the same opportunity to have a smooth performance? The handler of the Irish Wolfhound had no choice but to stop on the judge's order or be penalized for delay in following a judge's order. The judge was consistent and stopped both dogs in the same spot, but lacked good judgment in setting up a heeling pattern that was fair to all breeds. Had the judge halted each dog further away from the Forward, both breeds would have had an equal opportunity for a smooth performance.

    FIGURE EIGHT
    When planning the area for the Figure Eight think about the ring barriers and, in Open, also consider the jumps. You want to provide ALL dogs the opportunity to go around the outside post and not have to concern them with the possibility of running into an object. Figure Eight posts that are in the corners of a ring or too close to a jump jeopardize the performance of the larger breeds. This type of set up is also too restrictive for the disabled handlers and their dogs. If you are judging indoors and using mats on slick floors, use THREE mats if possible. Large breeds should have mats under them at all times during the Figure Eight if that is the case for the smaller breeds.

    INDIVIDUAL EXERCISES
    As you set up for the different individual exercises ask yourself, "Is this exercise going to be fair to ALL breeds and handlers when they enter my ring?" Another point to keep in mind is the disabled handlers and their space requirements. Make a mental picture of an Irish Wolfhound being handled by a person in a wheelchair. With this in mind you should have no problem in setting up the ring that is fair to all who enter.

    5. What position is the Judge in for observing and scoring the performance of the dog and handler in the ring?
    It is absolutely essential to develop skills in observing dogs and handlers and being able to evaluate their performance fairly and consistently. To help accomplish this goal, give considerable thought as to where the best positions are to observe without interfering with the performance of an individual exercise (or between exercises). Where you stand determines what you can see. It also gives the impression to the spectators outside the ring as to whether or not you know what you're doing! Every judge should want to give the appearance of being professional and precise. There is no perfect position but there are positions that will help the judge better fulfill their responsibilities to the sport. A judge should know what position to be in and why. Sometimes when you are observing from one angle you may be "giving up" being in another position to see other errors that may be occurring. The good judge will recognize what they are giving up," knowing that these errors are less common and of lesser significance than errors observed from their chosen position. When you think through the Regulations, most of the exercises have two common denominators - heel position and the recall. The majority of exercises will refer back to these two items. A few examples of judging positions taken from the Guidelines and AKC Obedience Judging Seminar notes -- are as follows:

    HEEL POSITIONS
    Heeling Exercises
    After planning your heeling pattern, the next step is to plan YOUR positions during the course of the pattern. Judges should attempt to position themselves so the dog and handler will be observed from the rear, front and sides, and the judge's movements during the heeling pattern should be consistent from dog to dog. Knowing where heel position is located is of paramount importance during the course of judging. The five faults of heeling in regards to the dog are forging, lagging, wide, crowding and not being straight in line with the direction of the handler. When starting the heeling pattern, be in position to check for the handler and dog moving out together on the "Forward." This is an area where lagging and forging can occur and you will want to be in a good location to watch and score if needed. Being on the dog's side in line with the handler is preferable. During the Utility Signal Exercise, this position will also be important at the end of heeling; the judge will have a better view of the dog stopping and standing in heel position. It is a scorable fault if the dog is not in heel position at this point. You have to be there to see it!

    A good position for judging a Sit is from the front or back of the dog and handler. For example, consider a dog making a SLIGHT error on the Sit; from this location the judge can observe sitting wide, crowding or not straight in line with the handler - three of the more common faults. If judging from the side, two faults could best be observed - forge and lag. This is a good example in choosing a position to see MOST of the errors from one location. A spectator sitting in the bleachers outside the ring can observe a dog sitting a foot in front or behind a handler on a halt. YOU want to be in the BEST position to observe most of the minor errors, if any. This is part of judging fair and consistently.

    Planning a heeling pattern that allows you to judge from the dog's side most of the time is preferable to being on the side of the handler. Two key elements in the heeling exercise are the Fast and Slow. The judge needs to watch the transition from Normal to Fast or Slow and back to Normal and evaluate heel position. The "Fast" signifies that the handler must run, handler and dog moving forward at NOTICEABLY ACCELERATED speed. "Slow" signifies the handler and dog must NOTICEABLY DECELERATE from a brisk walk. Judging on the dog's side is a favorable place to see if the dog is maintaining heel position or making any of the five heeling errors. Judging from the handler's side obscures the view of the dog's position. Also, momentarily stepping behind the dog and handler on the Fast or Slow will give an excellent observation point for judging straight in line with the handler.

    Other Areas of Heel Positions:
    A dog is in heel position at some point during EVERY exercise. A good judge will study the different exercises in various classes and see when the dog or handler is required to be in heel position. Then studying Chapter 2, Section 18 (Heel Position) and see how it relates to all the different exercises. To observe a fault you first have to recognize that fault. Let's look at two exercises and notice the importance of the judge's location for judging heel position.

    NOVICE - STAND FOR EXAMINATION (Chapter 3, Sections 7 and 8)
    The handler is to be in heel position before leaving and after returning to the dog. In this exercise the handler is the one to assume heel position. To start the exercise it is suggested that the judge be in front of and to the left of the dog. This allows the judge to observe the handler's movements and watch if the handler assumes heel position before leaving the dog. The key elements to view are the five errors of heel position as listed above. This position is excellent to observe if the dog is straight in line with the handler as the handler leaves. After performing the examination, the judge steps back away but in line with the dog's left shoulder. From here one can view if the handler returns to the heel position. The most common faults are the handler returning to a forged or lag position and it is best observed from this location.

    NOVICE - GROUP EXERCISES (Chapter 3, Sections 12 &13) OPEN - GROUP EXERCISES (Chapter 4, Section 15.
    The judge must be in a good location to watch all the handlers return to heel position. If a dog breaks the Long Sit or Long Down as the handler is returning to heel position, the judge will have to determine if the handler was in heel position when the dog broke. Knowing heel position and being able to observe it has a great impact on this exercise - the end result in scoring is a pass or fail depending on the judge's decision!

    RECALLS
    Anytime the dog is coming into the handler, the Recall exercise is involved. The judge needs to be in a good position to observe the dog and handler fulfilling the key elements of the Recall: The giving of the command or signal, dog's prompt response to handler's command or signal, dog moving directly to the handler, moving at a brisk trot or gallop and returning close enough to the handler. Recalls are referred to in many of the exercises in the Regulations so let's again look at a couple of different exercises and notice the importance of the judge's position as it relates to the Recall.

    To view more articles please visit our Members Page!

  • Monday, August 01, 2016 12:00 AM | Front & Finish (Administrator)

    Below is an analogy I would like you to ponder for a bit. In reading only a few of the obedience internet lists which I am on, it stuns me when I read negative comments aimed at the AKC, and our sport in general, from time-to-time. "Constructive" suggestions are good, but there are times when the negative comments go way over the top, IMO. Such shoot-from-the-hip comments (many times without FACTS) are hurting our sport. We need to be more thoughtful of the posts we make, or comments made to the general public. If we are not careful we will be turning off many who may be future participants and our future new friends. As stated so many times before, the future of our sport is in the hands of the novice.

    As an analogy, think of our sport as a sailing ship on the high seas, if you will. With each cannon shot (negative comment) we aim and fire at the hull of our ship may result in sinking the ship. Choose your comments wisely so our ship and crew will sail into the future and not end up at the bottom of a negative sea. As I was taught in the service (USCG), "Loose lips sink ships!"

    Let me suggest installing a longer fuse in the negative cannon, cease fire, and work to "enlist" new "sailors" on our ship. Becoming involved in saving and maintaining our ship is like polishing the ship's brass. It can be work at times, but ever so rewarding when it shines in the sun. It is time for us to concentrate a little more on saluting our ship and welcoming new "sailors" aboard!

    Our ship has been sailing the seas since its launch in 1936. There have been times over the years when she goes back into dry-dock to be updated, but when she returns to the high seas there are always those who love taking shots at her once again, and then run off to board another ship. Keep in mind, our ship is the next to the oldest ship on the high seas, only surpassed by the ship of Conformation. Let's take care of her, treat her with respect, and keep her brass polished and shining in the sun!

    WELCOME Aboard and smooth sailing into the future!

    To view more articles please visit our Members Page!

  • Friday, July 01, 2016 12:00 AM | Front & Finish (Administrator)

    I. If you find yourself between dogs, training for the next level, taking a break, etc., have you contacted a club (that you are NOT a member of) and offered to steward for obedience and donate your time? Stewarding is great fun and a handson experience in learning what all is required for running the ring in an efficient manner. Many clubs will offer remuneration for your time and parking, plus a lunch. Here is a packet I have assembled to get you going!

    http://clubs.akc.org/saints/Archives/stewarding.pdf

    II. If you feel a club is a little lax in providing a good venue for an obedience trial, what do you do about it? Do you stop and think the club might need a new member (like you) who will help and give positive guidance and involvement? Have you joined a club and become involved? Are you involved in a club and help host a trial ONCE a year for others to enjoy? Or, are you on the taking end all or most of the time?

    III. Express your appreciation to an event chairman, ring steward, or drop a note to a club stating that you LIKED what they offered for obedience?

    IV. Clubs and private trainers also need to encourage their members and students to take a more active role and become involved with the process of running a trial. If we continue to lose trials, we lose one of the reasons we train our dogs. Surely, you can find the time to help out at ONE trial a year.

    V. People who are short on time can contribute to the trophy fund. Every year make sure to donate $$ to several of the local all-breed clubs that they can use for obedience awards. In many ways it's even more important that we support the all-breed clubs. Even better, become an annual donor/trophy sponsor.

    VI. For those of you who show in AKC Obedience, I thought I would give you some insight into a Judge's duties and what they do *before* you step into the ring as an exhibitor. The link below is what I send to an aspiring judge who wishes to apprentice under me. There is also an article in the link about stepping into the shoes of an obedience judge. It is my sincere hope there may be a few of you who might consider stepping into those shoes and becoming a judge down the  line. The sport always is in need of new and upcoming judges. All I ask is to give it some serious thought. Apprenticing materials: http://clubs.akc.org/saints/Archives/Apprenticing.pdf

    Obedience is always in need of your talents and positive energy. Remember back to what attracted you into obedience, the fun you have had and the folks you have met. You have the power to now repeat what were the “good old days” in your mind. You can be a part of and make “new” good old days for the future participants to talk about.

    To view more articles please visit our Members Page!

  • Wednesday, June 01, 2016 12:00 AM | Front & Finish (Administrator)

    From my initial observations I applaud the finished product, which will provide us with a more user-friendly set of Regulations from those in the past. The new book reads with enhanced clarity, which provides consistency in understanding the requirements for the exhibitors and judges alike. In addition, there are more detailed descriptions for all of the exercises and performances in all the classes, chapters and sections. Good job AKC!

    Since the first year of the Obedience Regulations (1936), our ever-changing sport will always be in need of tweaking, plus adding improvements to keep up with the times and projecting trends for the future. As with all changes in life, we adjust; but as a whole, I feel the changes made are excellent when considering they need to be applied to a nation as a whole and not one region or an individual’s likes or dislikes. There will most likely be more tweaks and improvements in the future as change is always inevitable, but for now, here is where we are at.

    Ten (10) Positive Improvements that put a smile on my face:

    1) A few sections have been moved into a more appropriate chapter.

    2) The Preferred titling classes are now referred to as “Alternative Titling Classes,” They are still optional classes but this sets them apart from the Optional titling classes (BN, GN, GO, VER) for clarity. The eligibility requirements in the new Alternative Titling Classes changed when the Pre-classes became the Preferred classes, bringing them more in line with the Regular classes (the foundation classes of obedience).

    3) Many parts of the previously published Judge’s Guidelines have been moved forward into the appropriate chapters and sections where they best apply. This now makes it easier for the exhibitor and judge to review what is required and what is expected in regards to the performance. I have always felt the Judge’s Guidelines were overlooked by the reader (and sometimes judges) in the past and there is a lot of pertinent information which was then overlooked, too!

    4) Chapter 2, Section 20 had the words rearranged for a better flow and understanding. It now addresses commands first, signals second, followed by commands and/or signals--in that order. Reading this section in the past (which was a mumble/jumble) had an effect on me like melatonin! ☺

    5) Each exercise now has “Judging Procedures” spelled out for a better understanding.

    6) The Alternative and Optional Titling Classes now have descriptions for all the exercises, or a referral back the appropriate Regular class. The Regular classes have judging procedures referred back to the Judge’s Guidelines if a more complete description and understanding is needed.

    7) The Glossary of Terms has six (6) new words added and one (1) taken out. “Crooked” was defined in the Glossary of Terms in the past but the word itself was nowhere to be found in the Regulations.

    8) Filling out the Judge’s Book is now better covered than in the past with new points for a Judge to be aware of when entering data in the book, plus two (2) new abbreviations have been introduced for writing in cramped space.

    a.Released” write “NQ-R” (“Non-Qualifying Released”)

    b.Handler Left Ring” write “HLR

    9) The Steward in Obedience chapter has been updated to reflect the appropriate changes.

    10) New additions are underlined to bring to the reader’s attention a change from the past Regulations. It is my belief, the changes which were adopted from the Obedience Advisory Committee’s many suggestions will provide a “little something” for everyone. Not an easy task when considering all the variables involved. Hopefully, we can now move forward with a more positive attitude. We need to work on that objective along with the few training adjustments (see prior Random Little Tidbits). That ball is now in your court. Keep it in perspective; the Obedience Regulations are written for a DOG SHOW event. Obedience is a performance SPORT for those up for a

    challenge and long-term fun. A political election or world peace does not hang in the balance with this new book; enjoy the challenges this sport provides us, and above all enjoy your dog and yourself in meeting those challenges. “Exercise finished!” Good Sportsmanship RULES!

    Good luck to you in achieving your future goals. And please don’t forget to help celebrate another’s goals. Be there at the correct time and place for when comfort may be needed if there is a hiccup. That is true Sportsmanship!

    I would also like to suggest making time to hang out around the Beginner Novice and Novice A rings in particular and offer encouragement to those individuals. They are the future of our sport! Remember back to the times when you were walking in their shoes and what an encouraging word meant to you at that time, and probably still does.

    And that, my friends, is the Standard of Perfection which will reflect the best on the sport we love in order to help make it grow.

    To view more articles please visit our Members Page!

  • Sunday, May 01, 2016 12:30 AM | Front & Finish (Administrator)

    Check out the six (6) new words added to the Glossary of Terms (blue). Also check out the complete glossary which may help you better understand the full meaning of specific words used in the Regulations. These twenty-eight (28) defined words describe what a judge is looking for in the performance and knowing them well might be of assistance in your training.

    AKC Canine Partners — an American Kennel Club program that is available to spayed/neutered dogs that are not currently eligible for AKC registration, AKC Foundation Stock Service (FSS) enrollment, or an AKC Purebred Alternative Listing (PAL) number

    Brisk, briskly — keenly alive, alert, energetic 

    Command — verbal order from handler to dog

    Croup the dogs top rump area

    Crowding — a dog so close to the handler as to interfere with the handler’s freedom of motion

    Directly — immediately, without deviation or hesitation

    Down the dog’s body is on the ground; the dog’s weight is off the feet & legs

    Drop completely — a down position that would be acceptable for a Long Down exercise

    Excused A dog must be excused any time there is aggressive behavior toward another dog, a dog that is lame, unfit to compete, if there is anything attached to it for medical or corrective purposes, bitch in season, dog is not under its handler’s control, handler who willfully interferes with another competitor/dog, a handler training/disciplining a dog in the ring, or a dog that is unable to be examined.

    Finish the dog goes from a position in front of the handler to the heel position

    Gently — with kindness, without harshness or roughness

    Guiding gently by the collar — control of the dog by holding any part of the collar with minimal pressure on the dog’s

    neck

    Lame — irregularity or impairment of the function of locomotion, irrespective of the cause or how slight or severe

    Minor deduction — 1⁄2 point to 21⁄2 points

    Mouthing — when a dog chews or rolls the dumbbell in its mouth unnecessarily

    Natural — not artificial; free of affectation; what is customarily expected in the home or public places

    Order — direction from judge to handler, either verbal or nonverbal

    Prompt response — without hesitation, immediate, quick

    Regularly trained or instructed — where a dog and/or handler meet on a regular basis for instruction. A regular basis is considered a set pattern of dates, such as monthly or more often.

    ReleasedA dog may be released from the group exercises if it has non-qualified in the individual exercises, a dog may be released from further competition in the class for misbehavior, in extreme cases a dog that must be repositioned in the group exercise by its handler may be released. A dog must be released from the group exercises for displaying uncontrolled behavior, if it interferes with another dog or leaves the place where it was left during the first group exercise.

    Resentment — resistance, unwillingness

    Signal — nonverbal direction from the handler to dog, as described in chapter 2, section 20

    Sit the dog has its rear and/or hocks on the ground

    Smartly — quickly, vigorously

    Substantial deduction — 3 points or more

    Training — as related to where a student-handler/teacher-judge relationship is established, with or without

    compensation.

    Turn in place — turning in the circle that was occupied by the handler before they started to turn

    Withers — highest point of the dog’s shoulder

    New procedures and abbreviations to follow when marking the Judge's Book:

    In the Open B, Utility B, Preferred Open and Preferred Utility classes the exercises will not be listed; write them in.

    If a dog has non-qualified and is "Released" write "NQ-R" ("Non-Qualifying Released") then carry down an "NQ" in the "Total Score" box.

    If a handler leaves the ring before completing the exercises, write "HLR" (Handler Left Ring) then carry down an "NQ" in the "Total Score" box.

    Verify that all the Group Exercise boxes have been marked accordingly, including a zero for no points off.

    Verify that all Miscellaneous Penalty boxes have been marked accordingly, including a zero for no points off.

    Verify all absentees have been marked accordingly.

    To view more articles please visit our Members Page!

  • Friday, April 01, 2016 12:30 AM | Front & Finish (Administrator)

    As for the Dinosaurs…“The causes of the end-Cretaceous extinction are still being debated by paleontologists. Researchers agree that a major factor was an asteroid about 10 kilometers in diameter that struck what is now the Yucatán peninsula in Mexico. The effects of the impact were catastrophic, probably including global forest fires, possibly a period of cold weather due to sunlight-blocking dust and smoke, and a subsequent period of hot climate caused by the high levels of CO2 released into the atmosphere by the impact.”

    As for measuring dogs in obedience…The causes of the end of all judges measuring jump heights are also still being debated by paleontologists. Researchers agree that a major factor was a change in the 2000 Obedience Regulations that struck what is now the AKC Headquarters in Raleigh, North Carolina. The effects of the impact were hardly catastrophic, probably did *not* include global forest fires, or possibly a period of cold weather due to sunlight-blocking dust and smoke, and a subsequent period of hot climate caused by the high levels of CO2 released into the atmosphere by the impact.”

    I am not sure if the 1999 Obedience Advisory Committee (OAC) made the change or if it is was an “in-house revision”; but the decades-long wording in regards to measuring dogs was changed in 2000 with the

     added verbiage, Judges may, at their discretion, verify the height of any dog at the withers.”  From that point on, judges who measured all dogs to verify jump heights started to become extinct.

    I resisted extinction for the following reasons:

    As judges we check and verify other items to make certain they conform with the Obedience Regulations and meet the minimum standards, such as:

    1) the dumbbell
    2) the gloves
    3) the scent articles
    4) the collar
    5) the leash
    6) no identifying items on handler or dog
    7) the jumps themselves before judging commences
    8) the ring size
    9) length of grass or surface of the floor
    10) and the list goes on and on....

    Checking the dog for the correct minimum height is just another part of my job in making sure *minimum* requirements are met before the team competes, so I believed.

    Do I trust the exhibitors? Well of course I do! I also know there is confusion amongst some, such as:

    1) Where the withers actually are on a dog and where the highpoint is on the withers.

    2) Confusion between Obedience jump heights and Rally jump heights.

    3) Confusion with one's *measured* jump height agility card and obedience jump heights.

    4) Confusion between countries (I am close to Canada); requirements can be different.

    5) Stewards can error on occasion and have the jumps set for the wrong dog entering the ring;measuring verifies the correct height for the team entering the ring. At breed specialties jumps can look the same for a particular breed and still be incorrectly set for the individual dog.

    6) Of the over 50 breeds jumping 3/4ths of their height, it is almost impossible to know the correct jump height by just looking

    at the dog.

    7) In the Preferred-classes, all dogs jump 1/2 their height at the withers, unless the handler opts for higher jumps.

    8) Verifying also makes sure the jumps are set higher if that is the handler’s request.

    As time marches on, opinions about different ways of showing, training and judging a dog also change with the times. Over the years there have been many tweaks in various exercises, plus verbiage being adjusted to meet the changing times in our sport. In particular, it has become apparent that with the 2000 additional wording allowing a judge an option to measure, few judges measure all dogs today. The ones who do measure seem to be viewed in somewhat of a negative persona in the eyes of many in our sport. My guess would be this is partly due to trainers and their students who  rarely train their dogs to accept measurement (as in the past) since so few judges now measure due to the verbiage change. I have been one of the few “dinosaur judges” who continued to measure all dogs for the last 15 years after the change based on the two outlines above. Measuring was done quickly and 99% of the dogs did not react to my measuring.

    Come December 1, 2015, “slip” leashes (a leash not physically attached with the clasp) will be better defined in regards to their usage, and will be allowed only in a class where all the individual exercises are off leash. They may not be used when coming back into the ring for Groups or Awards. A leash must then be “attached” to the dog’s collar with the clasp. In the past, slip leashes were used but no words defined how or when they were to be used. This led to some confusion amongst handlers and judges in regards to the leash being attached to the collar, or not. The recent OAC suggested a change in wording based upon input from the fancy and the AKC Board of Directors (BOD) went along with the suggestion and implemented the change. My reasoning for the change would be that the handlers of today in the advanced classes wish to enter the ring, slip the leash out from under the collar, and go directly to the starting point of the first exercise in one flowing motion without interruption, staying engaged with their dog. Stopping to have a dog measured by the judge would, now in a way, negate the handler’s choice of leash usage to go directly to the first exercise. Training and showing today is different from the past in many ways. The now defined usage of a slip leash indicates one such desired change in showing dogs today.

    With this enhanced leash regulation verbiage being clearly defined to reflect a desired change in showing and with so few judges now measuring dogs, measuring takes on more negative connotations than in the past. I see the measuring of all dogs in obedience when entering the ring as not in the wave of the future. This procedure has now morphed itself into an “exercise” of our past and I am okay with that as times and concepts are continually changing. Therefore, I will stop measuring all dogs on December 1, 2015 (as will my wife Suzanne Cox) when all the new Obedience Regulations come into effect. However, as with all judges, we still have the option to measure a dog that may appear not to be meeting the minimum standards in regards to jump heights. If requested by a handler I will comply and measure their dog. There have been times in the past where I have lowered the jumps since the handler was not sure of the actual minimum required height for their dog.

    With that all said, let’s move on to another subject. A dog’s jump height should be confirmed at some point for the sake of assuring minimum standards are met as required by the Obedience Regulations for earning a qualifying score.

    Jump Height Cards for Obedience & Rally need to be implemented on one card! It is now time!



    I am still of the opinion we need to take another good look into having jump height cards for our sport. A precedent has been set as Agility requires such cards and their jump heights are in 4-inch increments. Obedience jump heights are in 2- inch increments for seven (7) classes requiring full wither height; 50+ breeds with 3/4 withers height requirements, plus two (2) classes with 1/2 withers height requirements!

    From my understanding, in the past IAMS sponsored the Agility jump cards and had their name on the cards as a form of advertising. Since I am no longer competing in Agility I am not sure how the program is now supported, corporate or AKC. If sponsors are needed to get the ball rolling for obedience jump height cards, we surely can find a dog food company or obedience equipment supplier to step up to the plate, don’t you think? I see no reason we cannot adopt, tweak, and implement such a system to work for Obedience. It is overdue for our sport with so many classes and breeds with different jump height requirements for meeting the minimum standards outlined in our regulations.

    To view more articles please visit our Members Page!

  • Tuesday, March 01, 2016 12:30 AM | Front & Finish (Administrator)

    With the new Obedience Regulations soon to be published & in effect December 1st, let’s look back to the past. - - - The History of AKC Obedience - The First set of Regulations - The First Obedience Trial - - - March 10, 2016 marks Eighty (80) years from the time the AKC BOD adopted the Obedience Regulations.

    (Reprinted with permission from the November 1973 AKC Gazette)

    During the years 1933 and 1934 four "obedience tests" were held in the United States. The first was held in Mt Kisco, N. Y. on the estate of Henry J. Whitehouse and was witnessed by over 150 spectators. These tests aroused tremendous interest in training on the part of spectators, kennel owners, dog owners and dog clubs, and were a favorable topic of dog writers. The four tests were brought into existence largely due to the efforts of Mrs. Helene Whitehouse Walker who brought all-breed Obedience tests to the states from England, and Miss Blanche Saunders, her kennel maid at that time.

    As interest in Obedience tests increased Mrs. Walker was besieged with inquiries from people wanting information on dog training, what was expected of the dogs and how one would arrange holding a test. In response to an inquiry from a dog columnist, Mrs. Walker writes:

    "There has been no effort that I know of to organize anybody (club) to standardize these tests. I think it would be a most excellent idea. The best way would be to have the American Kennel Club recognize them as they do field trials, Also, to have certificates of merit and a title after a dog's name. Up to the present I have been pushing this alone and it is so satisfactory to feel that interest is at last aroused."

    Mrs. Walker wanted Obedience in as many shows as possible as she felt this would be a selling point in persuading the AKC to take over the responsibility of the tests and officially recognize them. During an early visit to the offices of the AKC Mrs. Walker discussed with Charles T. lnglee, Executive Vice President, the importance of training, pointing out that Obedience was not a passing fad but something to be taken seriously. To support her arguments she displayed newspaper clippings and correspondence she had from all parts of the country and showed that the success of the tests already spoke for themselves.

    In 1935 Mrs. Helene Whitehouse Walker wrote the first set of regulations for Obedience which she published in a booklet called "Obedience Tests". The cover page consisted of a notice that the pamphlet, as written, had been submitted to the AKC and that there was every possibility that the rules as outlined or slightly changed would eventually be adopted by the governing body and be incorporated into the rules of the AKC concerning dog shows. The 22-page pamphlet (including six illustrative photos) outlined procedures for judges, handlers and show-giving clubs. In January 1936 Mr. Inglee acknowledged receipt of the regulations by writing Mrs. Walker:

    "The typewritten manuscript which you sent me is now in the hands of our council to put in proper form for insertion in the rules."

    Approximately 2 months later, on March 10, 1936, the AKC's Board of Directors approved the first set of "Regulations and Standards of Obedience Test Field Trials"

    The basic exercises, the procedures for judges and handlers, remained unchanged. Mrs. Walker, Miss Saunders and Josef Weber (a well-known dog trainer) submitted refinements to the AKC which were incorporated in the final A-page leaflet originally published in the April 1936 issue of the Gazette, and the forerunner of today's "Obedience Regulations”. 

    The foresight of those three individuals, especially Mrs. Walker, in selecting and describing the exercises used in the 1936 Obedience regulations is amazing. The exercises for the Novice and Open classes exist today virtually unchanged with only minor refinements. The Obedience titles, originated almost 40 years ago, remain unchanged except that the "Tracking Dog" has been added.

    On June 13, 1936, the N. Westchester Kennel Club held the first AKC licensed Obedience test at Mt Kisko, N. Y. It consisted of one class, Novice, and was judged by Mrs. Wheeler H Page. Miss Marie Leary and Ward C Green stewarded. This test drew a total of 12 entries all of which competed, placing as follows:

    1. Ch. Cadeau De Noet - Poodte-j owned by Mrs. M Erlanger

    2. Carillon Epreuve - Poodle - owned by Carillon Kennels (Mrs. Walker) 

    3. Tango of Piperscroft - Poodle - owned by Carillon Kennels

    4. Shaw's Little Pepper - Miniature Schnauzer - owned by Mrs. L. Shaw

    Also qualifying were Lydbrook Coco (Poodle) owned by Mrs V Vanderlined; Nansoe Skagin of Carillon (Poodle) owned by Henry J Whitehouse; Schwarzpeltz von Mardex (GSD) owned by Walker Peisser; Misty Isles Schandel of Piperscroft (Poodle) owned by Mrs. Miriam Hall.

    On that day in 1936 this small historical event occurred that was to grow into the national participant sport of today. Since first recognizing Obedience tests, AKC has worked consistently to standardize the regulations so that Obedience tests would be uniformly held in all parts of the country. Eight months after approving the first set of regulations the Board of Directors of AKC approved a revised version. A third version was approved a year and a half later, and the fourth a year after that. This system of review, clarification and correction continued on a yearly basis for 35 years.

    As early as 1939 AKC realized the need of being informed of the problems and trends of Obedience around the country. The extraordinary rapid growth of Obedience work in this country fostered organization of a committee of individuals from various parts of the country to have round table conferences whenever necessary and to discuss in detail the various phases of Obedience, making recommendations to the AKC Board of changes or additions for the betterment of the sport. In June 1939 the first Obedience Advisory Committee convened chaired by Donald Fordyce of AKC. The other 9 members were Mrs. Radcliff Farley (PA), Miss Aurelie Tremaine (MA), Mrs. Bryant Godsell (CA), Mrs. W L McCannon (MA), Mrs. Whitehouse Walker (NY), Geo. Foley (PA), Josef Weber (NJ) Samuel Blick (MD), Frank O Grant (OH). The major contribution of this early committee was to further standardize judging procedures and refine the Utility exercises.

    The advent of World War II forced a change in emphasis of dog training and every canine enthusiast spoke of "dogs for defense." With the resources and energies of the country diverted, competitive sports involving dogs saw a temporary decline. Immediately following the war, with "leisure time" for Americans reaching unparalleled levels, interest in Obedience trials soared. In 1946 the AKC called another Obedience advisory committee consisting of John C. Neff, Chairman, John Brownell, Howard P, Calussen, Elliott Blackiston, L Wilson Davis, Clyde Henderon, Clarence Pfaffenberger, Oscar Franzen, and Miss Blanche Saunders.

    Through the efforts of this committee emerged a book of regulations that helped to standardize judging procedures more than at any time before. The most significant addition was that of definitions for the principal part of each exercise and the development of aseparate title for those dogs certified to be a "Tracking Dog"

    Through the years, the Obedience Advisory Committee has been the guardian of the sport. They have expanded the Obedience regulations from a 4-page leaflet to a 43-page detailed booklet with carefully planned descriptions and explanations of every facet of the sport.

    In its efforts to keep pace with the needs of Obedience enthusiast and the sport in general, AKC has recently taken two important steps. The first was the formation in 1971 of an Obedience Department directed by the well-known judge Richard H. D'Ambrisi. In June 1973 the direction of Obedience activities was assumed by James E. Dearinger following Mr. D'Ambrisi's death earlier in the year. The formation of this department has established constant full-time review of all facets of the sport and a place to go for advice, suggestions, or with complaints.

    The second important step taken by AKC is the formation of another Obedience Advisory Committee. This committee is chaired by Mr. Dearinger and has two special consultants, L Wilson Davis, Special Consultant in Tracking, and the Rev. Thomas O'Connor, Special Consultant on Handicapped Handlers. The members of this committee are Thomas Knott (MD), Wm. Phillips (CA), Jack Ward (VA), Lucy Neeb (LA), James Falkner (TX), Robert Self (IL), Mary Lee Whiting (MN), Edward Anderson (PA).

    In 1939 the first Obedience Advisory Committee met with the purpose of holding meetings when necessary and to discuss in detail various phases of Obedience, making recommendations for changes and additions to existing rules. Then, as now, many recommendations and changes were presented for consideration. The September 1973 Obedience Advisory Committee considered and discussed Handicapped Handlers, Protection Dog Training, Advanced Tracking and the official recognition and designation of the Highest Scoring Dog in Trial". The committee also completely reviewed the Obedience Regulations and Guidelines for Obedience Judges. Many other recommendations were enthusiastically proposed and considered by this Committee.

    The Obedience Advisory Committee of 1973 by cheerfully volunteering the time and energy can assure the fancy that our sport will continue to be as efficient and exciting as we desire it to be.

    AKC wants to do everything possible to promote and encourage the sport of Obedience. The formations of the Obedience Department and the new Obedience Advisory Committee have already proved their value. Anticipated future programs are expected to further the rapport between AKC and Obedience enthusiasts so that every possible assistance will be provided.

    To view more articles please visit our Members Page!

  • Monday, February 01, 2016 12:30 AM | Front & Finish (Administrator)

    Any dog or handler, regardless of qualifying/non-qualifying, that has been excused from the ring may not return for the group exercises.

    _ Handlers of dogs that have qualified have the option of returning for the group exercises. If the dog is not returning to perform the group exercises it will be marked “absent” from those exercises, same as the current procedure, and a NQ is carried down.

    _ Dogs that have non-qualified: If the judge has released the team from performing the group exercises, the dog may not return for groups. Otherwise, those handlers have the option of returning for the group exercise.

    _ Each eligible handler is required to notify the table steward of their intention to return for the group exercise after the completion of the individual exercises.

    _ Judges have the option of deciding if a set of group exercises will be conducted after a specified number of dogs or if the group exercises will be conducted after the last individual team is judged. Once determined, the judge must post this information at the ring.

    _ Leashes are to be attached to the dog’s collar (no slip leads) when coming into the ring for the group exercises or awards.

    Novice A & B Classes
    The leash remains attached to the dog’s collar and will be dropped or placed on the ground between the dog and handler with the armband weighted as necessary before the exercise begins. If the armband needs to be weighted, Ms. May (Saint Bernard) & Ms. Gemma (Pembroke Welsh Corgi) are demonstrating one way. You may want to enlarge the pdf for a better view of the leash passing through between the armband and leash.

    Oh, and will someone inform that Corgi handler the tag “hanging” from the collar needs to be dealt with and there is less than the minimum of 4-feet between the dogs! Good grief, this is not the time to snuggle up to the Saint looking to be “rescued” for not maintaining the Long Sit!

    Open A & B & Graduate Novice
    The leash will be removed and placed behind the dog with the armband weighted as necessary.

    To view more articles please visit our Members Page!

  • Friday, January 01, 2016 12:30 AM | Front & Finish (Administrator)

    For a quick review of other significant revisions coming December 1, 2015 see Random Little Tidbits #5

    Mark your calendar! On December 1st there will be several optional titling classes in which the eligibility requirements are being changed!  Beware of the new eligibility requirements before entering any shows which will take place after November 30th to insure your qualifying scores will be credited.  If you have Qs now in the optional titling classes and the December changes may affect the title you are working on, now would be the time to finish up the title before the changes take place.  Below is a quick review of the coming changes:

    Beginner Novice A

    “The Beginner Novice A class shall be for dogs that have not won the BN title. A handler must own the dog entered, or be a member of the owner’s household or immediate family, and may not have previously handled any dog that has earned any AKC Obedience title. Owners may enter more than one dog in this class. No dog may be entered in both Beginner Novice A and Beginner Novice B at any trial.”  The reason stated for the change: “This class is for inexperienced dogs.  By limiting which dogs can be entered we address the problem of advanced dogs entering.”

    Beginner Novice B

    “The owner or any other person may handle dogs in this class to earn a BN title. Owners may enter more than one dog in this class.  No dog may be entered in both Beginner Novice A and Beginner Novice B at any trial. This class is for dogs without an obedience title, or who may have earned a BN, CD, or PCD title.”  The reasoning, “This class is for inexperienced dogs.  By limiting which dogs can be entered we address the problem of advanced dogs entering.

    Graduate Novice

    This class is for all dogs.  Removed eligibility; this is addressed in the first sentence and again in Chapter 1, Section 16 regarding when titles are won.

    Graduate Open

    This class is open to all dogs.  

    The Pre-Novice class converts to Preferred Novice

    The Preferred Novice class is an alternative titling class for dogs that have not won the CDX or PCDX title.

    The Pre-Open class converts to Preferred Open

    The Preferred Open class is an alternative titling class for dogs that have won the CD or PCD or higher Regular or Preferred title.

    The Pre-Utility class converts to Preferred Utility

    The Preferred Utility class is an alternative titling class for dogs that have won the CDX or PCDX or higher Regular or Preferred title. 

    Versatility
    No changes in eligibility, plus continued showing in this class is addressed in Chapter 1, Section 16 where all other class eligibility is addressed.

    To view more articles please visit our Members Page!

  • Tuesday, December 01, 2015 12:30 AM | Front & Finish (Administrator)

    When the new Obedience Regulations come into effect, there will be a few changes to be aware of in order to maintain your “200 scoring account” balance! Note: In the scoring section of the various exercises it may state minor or substantial penalties; these are judgement calls for the Seriousness of the action in question. The fault in question may be from an action by he dog OR handler. Next, there are areas where just a minor deduction is warranted and so stated and the same holds true for the substantial deduction.  In reviewing the changes slated for December 1, let’s peruse the exercises where an actual change in scoring is projected.

    Beginner Novice Recall

    1. As the dog is coming into the handler, the handler’s arms and Hands will be required to be handing naturally at their sides, like in the Novice Recall (a foundation exercise). In the AKC’s comments for changes it states, “Consistent language and required in all exercise where dog is coming to front. This will help new exhibitors learn correct and consistent handling from the beginning.” Although the scoring section does not specifically address the amount of a penalty for a handler’s hands not at their side, it is clearly stated in Chapter 2, Section19, “In any exercise  requires that a dog to sit in front, the handler’s arms and hands must hang naturally at the sides until the dog has sat in front. The handler must receive a substantial deduction for not doing so.”
    2. Substantial deductions will be made for a handler’s extra command or signal to come or to sit.” This is a change from a minor or substantial to substantiate the importance of the dog coming when it is called.

    Utility (the foundation exercise), Perferred Untility, Plus Graduate Open & Versatility—where applicable

    1) Scent Discrimination: With the revisions to this exercise there are now more faults possible, for example:

    a.  Dog moving or changing position as the handler is choosing an article.

    b.  Handler touching/petting the dog after the exercise has officially begun (new Judge’s first order).

    c.  Talking to the dog is allowed only during a specific timeframe; if not in the timeframe it is scorable.

    d.  Giving the scent to the dog is allowed only during a specific timeframe. If not in the timeframe it is scorable.

    e.  For more detailed information on the revised scent discrimination please refer to Random Little Tidbit #4

    2) Directed Retrieve: “Depending on the extent, a substantial deduction up to and including a non-qualifying (NQ) score will be made for a handler who does not turn place, does not face the designated glove, does not give the verbal command to retrieve simultaneously or immediately after giving the direction to retrieve, or for a dog that does not go directly to the designated glove. All applicable penalties listed under the heel free, Novice Recall and the Retrieve on Flat will apply.” The scoring changes made will be: “substantial penalty (currently NQ) for the direction not given simultaneously or immediately following. Plus, substantial penalty for lack of directness, in extreme cases of lack of directness scoring may still result in a NQ.

    For more information on judging, examining the exercises and saving other withdrawals form your “200” account, check out and download all the Dog Talk & Random Little Tidbits articles.

    To view more articles please visit our Members Page!

Home     About     Advertising     FFX Awards     Join Us!     Issues     Ratings     Search     Shop     Sitemap     Subscribe     Terms of Use     Privacy Policy     Writer's Guidelines



Copyright 2018 Front & Finish, LLC
2310 US Highway 150 North
Wataga, IL 61488-9520
Questions?  Need help?  Email us at: dogs@frontandfinish.com

Please Note:  Our site is secure!  Clicking links that lead to resources outside this site may issue a security message.  This is for your protection!