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2020 Nosework Rulebook Updates for 2021

January 16, 2021

Source: Karen Shivers, UKC Nosework Program Manager
Phone: 269.366.3544
Email: kshivers@ukcdogs.com

The Official Nosework Rulebook has been revised for 2021 to include some minor text and rule clarifications. All clarifications appear in bold and italic text within the rulebook.

Read the full Nosework Rulebook

We are looking forward to an exciting year for UKC Nosework!

Chapter 1

Section 2. (Page 4)
Eligibility of dogs.
We are removing any references to the Limited Privilege (LP) number in the rulebooks. If you have a dog that has an LP number, that dog is still eligible to compete in any of our performance events under that number, however, the LP program was replaced with the Performance Listing (PL) program several years ago.

Dogs with Disabilities. This section will now read as follows: Deaf dogs, blind dogs, and dogs that have lost use of or are missing all or part of one or more limbs may participate in Nosework trials but must be able to perform all required searches. Provisions may be made for dogs with rear support wheelchairs/K9 carts, such as running last, etc. An official may excuse a dog missing a limb for lameness only if the official determines that the dog is stiff or sore in one or more of its remaining limbs. Dogs who are showing signs of stress due to their disability such as apprehension, fear, or reluctance to work should be excused from the competition. The officials decision is final, and they need not accept or seek the opinion of a veterinarian.
Chapter 1, Section 5. Back-Up Certifying Official System. We are removing all references to the Chief (Head, Lead) officials. Since we no longer have Certifying Officials and Hide Officials, this reference is not necessary.

Chapter 2

Section 4. (Page 12)
Requirements for Equipment provided by the Club.

Interior Search Items. This section will read as follows: Items that may be used in an interior search include, but are not limited to, the following: Stationary and/or fixed objects such as furniture including chairs, tables, kitchen counters, storage drawers, file cabinets, desks, or childrens toys (provided they are large enough to place a concealed hide), closets and so forth. Search areas may be natural or artificially built with the required number of items for each search.

Exterior Search Items. This section will read as follows: Items that may be used in an exterior search include, but are not limited to, the following: Any such items that are also used for Interior Searches that may be found outside, additionally stationary and/or fixed objects such as playground equipment, picnic tables, barrels and so forth. Search areas may be natural or artificially built with the required number of items for each search.
Distractions. This section will read as follows: All distractions must be hidden so the handler does not know where the distraction is located. The club is responsible for providing items such as food and/or toys for the Superior, Master, and Elite Element Classes. A variety of items must be available for the official to choose from. Toys, food and/or other materials used for distractions must be specifically non-toxic to dogs. (Toxic items that are not to be used include, but are not limited to, chocolate, raisins, grapes, avocado, xylitol). When food is used as a distraction, the food must be contained so that the dog cannot eat it. The official will determine which items are appropriate for each element and trial.

Section 5. (Page 14) Required Equipment for Handler.
Articles used in Handler Discrimination Classes. This section will read as follows: Handlers must provide one personal item such as keys, a shoe, a sock, a shirt and so forth for this class. The personal item cannot be a glove, an under garment such as underwear, must be free of food and must fit inside a cardboard box that is 12 x 9 x 3. The personal item must fit inside the box without any parts of the item showing.

Prohibited Items. This section will read as follows: Prohibited Items. Active cell phones and/or video recording devices and/or GoPros are prohibited on the exhibitor and/or dog during their search. Exhibitors are prohibited from smoking or vaping during their search. Judges may ask exhibitors/spectators to leave the search area if they are smoking or vaping.

Chapter 3

Section 1.
Spectators. This section will read as follows: When possible, accommodations for spectators should be made available. This may be done by designating and area or gallery. If these accommodations are available and spectators can observe the dogs run, judges and/or club officials should not ask spectators to leave the area for certain dogs or by request of the handler. Spectators are to receive a briefing regarding how Nosework trials work, of what they can and cannot do and the importance of not revealing the location of the hides. Exhibitors who are entered in the trial may not observe any class in which they are entered until after they have completed their run.

Chapter 5

Section 1.
UKC Nosework Titles. This section will read as follows: UKC Nosework titles may be earned only in licensed UKC Nosework events. Nosework titles must be earned successively. Equivalent titles from other venues will not be substituted for UKC Nosework titles or for determining eligibility for a class but they may be used to determine a dogs eligibility for the A or B sections of the class.
The A Section. This section is open to all dogs that have not earned a title in the class they are entering or an equivalent title in another organization. The exhibitor must own the dog entered or be a member of the owners household or immediate family. Once the dog has earned the title in that class, they may no longer compete in the A section of that class but may continue to compete in the A section of any other class they do not hold a title for. No licensed or professional Nosework/K9 Detection instructor, regardless of the persons status as an amateur or professional, may compete in this section. No person licensed to officiate Nosework in UKC or any other organization may compete in this section.
There seems to be much confusion on the A and B division of classes for Nosework. These divisions are unlike any of our other events because of the fact they are dependent on the dog and not the handler, unless the handler is a licensed or professional Nosework or K9 Detection instructor, or a licensed judge for UKC Nosework or any other comparable organization. If a dog does not have a title in the class they are entering and the handler is not restricted by the above description, that dog can be entered in the A class. Once that dog titles in that class, then it can no longer enter the A class for that particular class and it then enters the B class. Any dog can enter the B class at any time even if it is eligible for A as well. Dogs in the B classes are those normally working toward Championship/Grand titles. So, a good way to think about it is: If my dog does not have the title for which I am entering and I as the handler or owner are not restricted then I enter my dog in the A class division. Once my dog has the title in the class that I am entering, I enter my dog in the B division. So, if my dog has a Novice Nosework title, anything that dog enters in Novice must be entered in the B class. However, that same dog who does not have any Advanced legs can enter any of the Advanced classes in the A division.

Page 24
. In this section, we are clarifying that, like the Grand Champion titles, the Champion titles may now be earned in any order and will be issued as soon as they are earned.
Section 5. Class Champion Titles. .Class Champion titles may be earned in any order.

Chapter 6, 7, 8, 9 & 10 will have this added to the Non-Qualifying scoring section.

  • Dog exposes scent container or distraction before the Alert is called by the handler.

Chapter 10

Section 5. (Page 35)
Elite Elements
c. Elite Interior. In the numbered sections on page 35, this will be added:
3. Any of the three areas may be blank.

Chapter 11

Sections 6 and 7. (Pages 37 and 37)
Novice and Advanced Handler Discrimination. This section will read as follows: .The official or steward will collect the glove by having the handler drop it in a box. The official will close the box and with the handler still facing away, the official will place the box in the line with the other containers.

Section 10. (Page 39) Master Level. This section will read as follows:

  • All 12 handlers will bring one personal item such as keys, a shoe, a sock, a shirt and so forth, to the prep area 15 minutes prior to the beginning of their section. The personal item cannot be a glove, must be free of food and must fit inside a cardboard box that is 12 x 9 x 3. The personal item must fit inside the box without any parts of the item showing.
  • The boxes will be pre-numbered with either the exhibitors armband number or numbered one (1) through (12) twelve prior to the hander placing their item in the box. Running order will be determined by armband number (low to high or high to low) The bottom of the box will be taped, and the top flaps will either be removed or folded in so that they cannot be shut. If there are not 12 handlers, items scented by the judge and/or steward may be used to make up the 12 items. In this case, these items may be gloves such as those used in the lower handler discrimination classes.
  • During the briefing, judges are not to show handlers where their boxes are, nor are the handlers allowed to specifically look for their boxes or ask the judge where their box is located before the search.

Search area set-up. This section will read as follows:

  • The remaining handlers in that section may not watch the searches within their section until after they have run. No other dog other than the working dog may be in the actual search area.

Page 40
Judging Procedure. This section will read as follows: The blank area directly behind the handlers station (60 feet long by 5 feet wide) and the designated square (10 feet by 10 feet) that surrounds the handlers station as well as the handlers station (6 feet by 4 feet), will not contain any search items

  • All 12 boxes containing the individual handlers items for that section must be randomly placed at least 10 feet in all directions from the designated area where the handler will stand. Placement of the individual boxes must be arranged in a scattered pattern and must be at least six feet away from any other item including the edges of any side of the ring. All boxes must be placed prior to the handler entering the ring, and after the judges briefing. It is the responsibility for each handler to be ready when it is their turn to run.
  • The working handler and dog will enter the ring and go immediately to the designated handlers station and must stand facing forward for the duration of the search. Handlers must not look for their box prior to entering the ring or while preparing their dog to search. The handler must not move around in, or step outside of, this designated marked area at any time until the dog has returned to the handler and the exercise is finished.
  • The handler will remove the leash and send the dog within approximately 30 seconds from entering the handlers section.
  • The handler is allowed to reach down and allow the dog to sniff their hand prior to sending the dog to search.
  • In this class, the handler cannot direct the dog to the item once the dog is searching or use additional commands and/or praise while the dog is working. Once the dog is sent, the handler must remain standing quietly and cannot move around within the designated area.
  • The handler must not use any body language to direct the dog such as staring at or leaning toward the correct box.
  • The handler must not use additional commands and/or praise while the dog is searching.
  • If the dog is having trouble, the handler may recall the dog to the handlers station one time without penalty. If the handler recalls the dog the second time, a fault will be assessed. The handler may not recall and resend the dog more than two times. Time will not stop when the handler recalls the dog.
  • The dog must indicate it has found the handlers item by either doing a sit or down at the item before the handler may call an alert. The handler must not command and/or signal the dog to sit, down, or stay during any part of this exercise. Timing will stop when the handler calls Alert. The dog must remain at the indicated box for a minimum of three (3) seconds. Should the dog change position from a sit to a down or a down to a sit, the judge shall assess a fault and will restart the count with the dog in the new position. If the dog changes position a second time, the team will receive a non-qualifying score. The handler must not command and/or signal the dog to sit, down, or stay during any part of this exercise. Upon completing the count, the judge will command the handler to recall his dog. The handler may reward the dog upon its return at the handlers station. When food rewards are used, any food or crumbs that fall to the floor/ground will be assessed a fault for each occurrence.

The rest remains the same for this section.

Page 41
Scoring, Faults and Time for Master Level. Because of the clarifications in the above sections, the following has been added to Non-Qualifying Faults:

  • Handler purposely directs the dog to the correct box,
  • Handler restarts the dog more than twice.
  • Handler does not remain facing forward during any part of the search.

Guided by the belief that dogs make a difference by being the best partner a human can have in the field, on the job, or in a competition event, UKC is a community for people and dogs to pursue excellence together. Founded in 1898, UKC has been dedicated to enhancing the lives of Dogs That Do More, and their owners, by providing essential resources to help owners and breeders make informed decisions. The dog-human bond is celebrated through family-friendly programs highlighting the instincts and heritage of purebred and mixed-breed dogs alike at over 15,000 licensed events annually.

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