The following notice was received from the American Kennel Club concerning action taken by the AKC Board of Directors at its November 2020 meeting.
At the November 2020 AKC Board Meeting the following items were approved:
Assisting the Sports – Making Permanent Obedience, Rally and Tracking Modifications That Expire at Year-End. The AKC Obedience Regulations that were previously temporarily suspended or modified in 2020 to provide clubs and exhibitors flexibility due to COVID-19 have been permanently changed as follows:
- Closing Dates – The Regulations to allow clubs holding obedience and rally trials, at their option, to close the events at a specified closing date and time no later than 11:59PM seven (7) days prior to the event. This change is effective for all trials held on or after January 1, 2021.
- Eligibility Restrictions for Exhibitors – The obedience, rally and tracking Regulations effecting an exhibitor’s eligibility was changed from thirty days to ten days prior to an event. This is a change to the Regulations and is effective for all trials held on or after January 1, 2021.
- Eligibility Restrictions for Dogs – The obedience and rally Regulations effecting a dog’s eligibility was changed from thirty days to ten days prior to an event. This is a change to the Regulations and is effective for all trials held on or after January 1, 2021.
- Eligibility Restrictions During Emergency Judge Changes – When a club has an emergency judge change for obedience and rally trials (an emergency judge change is defined as a change to the judging panel within 72 hours of the event) the eligibility restrictions on exhibitors and dogs is waived. This is a change to the Regulations and is effective for all trials held on or after January 1, 2021.
- Modifying the Obedience Figure Eight Exercise – The Obedience Regulations have been amended to use cones instead of Stewards for the Figure Eight exercise. This is a change to the Regulations and is effective for all trials held on or after January 1, 2021.
Section 3. Premium Lists, Entries, Closing of Entries and Catalog Order. (Paragraph 5) The premium list shall specify the name and address of the Superintendent or Trial Secretary who is to receive the entries.
Opening & Closing Dates. In order to provide fair opportunity for all exhibitors to enter upcoming events, premium lists are required to be published at least 72-hours prior to the acceptance of entries. Events whose entries are limited must have a defined date and time for the opening of entries which is to be prominently displayed on the cover page of the premium list. In addition, every premium list shall specify the date and time at which entries for a trial shall close. For all trials the specified closing date and time must be no later than 11:59PM seven (7) days prior to the trial.
Whenever the closing day falls on a postal holiday, entries received in any form up to 24 hours from the published closing date and time may be accepted.
Section 14. Dogs That May Not Compete. (Paragraphs 8 & 9)
No exhibitor may show a dog under a judge at an obedience trial if the exhibitor has participated in a training session taught by that judge within ten (10) days prior to the date of the event.
No dog may be entered or shown under a judge at an obedience trial if the dog is owned or handled by any person who has regularly served as a trainer or instructor of that judge, either individually or through classes, or if the dog has been regularly trained or instructed by the judge within ten (10) days prior to the date of the obedience trial. “Trained or instructed” applies equally to judges who train professionally or as amateurs and to judges who train individual dogs or train or instruct dogs in classes with or through their handlers (see “Glossary of Terms”).
In either case above, the ten (10) day period is not in effect when a judge has been assigned on an emergency basis within 72-hours of an event.
Section 5. Heel on Leash and Figure Eight. (Paragraph 6)
For the Figure Eight, the handler will stand and the dog will sit in heel position facing the judge, midway between two cones that are 17 to 37 inches high and no more than 15 inches wide at the base, that will be placed 8 feet apart. The Figure Eight in the Novice classes will be done on leash; the handler may go around either cone first. The judge will ask “Are you ready?” before giving the first order. The handler and dog will walk briskly around and between the two cones twice. There will be no about turn, fast or slow, but the judge must order at least one halt during this exercise and another halt at the end.
REGULATIONS FOR PERFORMANCE AND JUDGING
JUDGING STANDARDS AND PROCEDURES
Section 1. Standardized Judging.
Heeling Pattern. The same pattern should be maintained as far as practicable for each competing dog. This is a foundation exercise, and it determines the standards for all exercises in which the dog is heeling. The minimum heeling requirements for any class are normal heeling, a fast, a slow, a left turn, a right turn, an about-turn, a halt, and a sit. The heeling patterns should not be in the area of the table and/or gate and should have only one element of an exercise on a leg. (For example, there shall not be a halt and a slow on the same leg of an exercise.) A fast must always be on a long dimension of the ring; slow may be either on the short or long dimension of the ring. The fast and slow should be of significant length, not just several steps. No pattern will have more than one fast and one slow. If possible, have one leg of the heeling pattern with no element on it. The “L” pattern is a minimal pattern. Other patterns are acceptable, but excessive complexity should be avoided.
The judge may leave the Figure Eight cones in position in the ring, provided this equipment will not interfere with the performance of the other exercises.
NEW VIRTUAL PILOT PROGRAM ANNOUNCED
AKC Virtual Obedience Test Program – Approved effective March 1, 2021.
The Board reviewed a recommendation to create an AKC Virtual Obedience Test Program consisting of two beginning level classes – Virtual Beginner Novice and Virtual Novice as a pilot program in 2021. The purpose is to provide owners that are not able or willing to attend an in-person event an opportunity to stay engaged in the sport by evaluating their skill and teamwork via video. There will be two beginning levels of virtual obedience offered, with possible expansion of the program over time. The first two levels in the Virtual Obedience Test program will be Virtual Beginner Novice and Virtual Novice classes. The exercises in virtual obedience will be slightly different than in-person tests, therefore the titles earned will be designated with the letter V – Beginner Novice Virtual (BNV) and Companion Dog Virtual (CDV). This will be a standalone program with no crossover to the regular obedience titles.
This is a pilot program and will be reviewed toward the end of the year 2021.