A Note to Obedience Exhbitors

To my fellow obedience exhibitors,

There has been quite a bit of great discussion on the new proposed changes to AKC obedience.  Many people are taking the time to think out what the changes could mean to our sport and we all have strong opinions.

I know that you are passionate about the sport of obedience.  You don't want to see it dumbed down.  But we too are passionate about obedience.  We want to see our sport thriving and to keep it challenging as well.  We are not a fringe group.  We are the majority of small dog handlers.  We are the handlers of dogs who have been interfered with on the stays.  We are handlers who are concerned about the safety of our own dogs and the safety of all the dogs.  We are handlers at all levels of training including people competing side by side with your dogs in the B classes.  Competitive handlers fighting for OTCH points as well as those in Novice A.  We are not the ones with the stay problems.  We abhor those who continue to show when they know they have a dog who may interfere with others just as much as you too despise them.

The continued topic of group stays is because we already have a problem.  If you are regularly competing in obedience then you know that dogs going to visit other dogs is not a rare issue.  While the A dogs sadly encounter this more frequently, we all know dogs in the B class that if they show up at a trial next to your dog you would pull.  That is a problem.  A problem not due to any type of training method but a problem due to poor training in general and a lack of consideration for fellow exhibitors.

So please, don't lump all those who want to see change into a "fringe group" of exhibitors who want to get easy titles.  I urge you all to think beyond what would personally benefit your own training to think about what would benefit the sport at all levels of participation.

Personally, I don't know whether I like the idea of only 1 stay, judges choice.  The idea of a dog earning their CDX without having to get those 3 long sits is off putting and the journey to the UDX will also be changed.  The OTCH would become easier for some dogs, but then would become harder for dogs on the cusp who have earned their points when the slightly better dogs went down on that sit.  But when I look at the problems we are having in our sport and the number of dogs effected by wandering dogs, then I can't help but support the change.  The P-classes are amazing idea and need to be given a fair chance to succeed by offering them frequently and having advanced titles in them.  But that move alone does nothing to address the problems that are currently existing in the A AND B classes.  My personal choice would be for an honor stay(s) and/or food refusal exercise.

Would any change to the classes bring back those who have left obedience and moved onto other sports?  Probably not many.  But it would prevent even more people from leaving , open the doors to some new people, and show the world that AKC isn't completely covering it's ears and eyes from the problems that are occurring.

Again, go here to write your input, and here to see the changes.

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