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2021 Obedience Rule Change: FAQ's

December 30, 2020


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  1. If a club is offering two trials in a day, can Novice Trial 2 be run right after Novice Trial 1, and so on? Yes, clubs can schedule the classes to run in any order they would like.
  2. With the change to hand position regarding larger dogs, is having both hands down for heeling not allowed? You may heel with both hands down. The clarification is that if you have a larger dog, your left hand may be slightly to the outside of the dog. Your arms will still move back and forth freely.
  3. In the Pre-Novice Recall, is the judge required to use a verbal order or may they use a signal to the exhibitor instead? The judge may use a signal rather than a verbal command.
  4. Are all exercises in the Pre-Novice class performed on-lead? What about Beginner Novice? Yes. All the Pre-Novice exercises must be performed on a six-foot leash. All the Beginner Novice exercises are performed on-lead except for the Recall over the High Jump and the Sit Stay. The Beginner Novice class also requires a six-foot leash for the class since the Stand or Sit exercise is done on a six-foot leash and the handler cannot exit the ring to get a shorter leash for the other exercises that do not require the six-foot length.
  5. In the Beginner Novice exercises Down Stay/Walk Away, does it matter which side of the ring the exhibitor faces? It will be up to the judge to determine if the exhibitor and dog face the short end of the ring or the long end of the ring.
  6. What commands are allowed during the Stand for Exam exercise in Beginner Novice? Is there a required hand position? Can you help your dog stand? The handler may use any method to sit or stand their dog, this includes placing the dog gently into a sit or a stand position. The handler does not have to be in heel position but must be reasonably close to the dog when giving the stay command and/or signal. The handers hands must remain off the dog when giving the stay command/signal. The handler cannot prevent or hold the dog into position after giving the stay command or give another command and/or hand signal for the dog to stay after leaving the dog.
  7. Can a dog enter Pre-Novice and Beginner Novice in the same trial? Yes, if the dog is not prohibited from entering the class due to class restrictions. For Pre-Novice, the dog cannot have earned a UCD or its equivalent title, and for the Beginner Novice class the dog cannot have earned a UCDX or its equivalent title.
  8. In the Open Socialized Heeling exercise, lightly touching the dog is a major deduction. Does this apply to both the halt and the heeling portions of the exercise? The dog and handler will receive a major deduction if they lightly touch the dog during any part of the exercise.
  9. For scent discrimination exercises, does the judge randomly pick gloves for each exhibitor or is the same glove used for everyone? In Advanced Open and Utility, the judge can randomly pick gloves and they do not have to be the same for each exhibitor.
  10. What are the acceptable dimensions of the Send Away box? The Send Away box will be identical to the Pause Box in Agility. The inside measurement of the box is approximately 48 inches (+/- 2 inches) square. It should be 4 6 in height.
  11. Are there any restrictions on what heeling patterns are acceptable in the Utility ring? There are no restrictions on heeling patterns in the Utility ring.
  12. In the Handler Discrimination exercise, does the handler know where the box with their article is? Are all handlers articles in the ring at the same time? Will there be a box with a judges article? When the boxes are randomly placed in the ring, the handlers will not know where their box is located. The boxes are required to be pre-numbered with the handlers armband or numbered 1-10. When handler comes to put their item in the box, they will either be directed as to which box to put their item into, or there may be a label inside the box with their armband on it. The boxes may be numbered on the outside, however the box should be facing away from exhibitors so they cannot see the assigned number. The exhibitor finds their box, drops their item in and leaves. Handlers in the section cannot watch the searches until after they have run. All the handlers in the same group will have their boxes placed in the ring at the same time in a random pattern. A steward, other than the box steward will scent additional items if needed to make at least 8 boxes. Items scented by the steward can be a personal item or a washcloth as those used in the Elite class. The boxes will not contain any judges odor.
  13. Is Novice C eligible for High in Trial? Yes, with the new rules, Novice C is eligible for High in Trial. Another major change for the Novice C class is that dogs that have earned their UOCH or equivalent title may no longer enter this class.
  14. What new equipment is needed for clubs and judges, and how much will it cost? If offering the Elite class, clubs will need to have a set of plain white washcloths (recommended: 15), some containers for food distractions, and food for distractions. All clubs will need one 18 cone or pylon, a set of Position cards for the Master Positions with Recall exercise, and cardboard boxes. The Send Away box is a new piece of equipment and we recommend constructing it out of 4 pieces of PVC pipe and elbows. The inside of the box should measure 48 square inches (+/- 2 inches) and the box should be 4 to 6 inches tall. It is just like the Pause Box in Agility. When judging the Elite class, judges should come prepared with a set of 3 plain white washcloths. Altogether, the cost of new equipment will likely run between $80 and $100.

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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