News & Events


2018 Regulations for Competition to be Released

The new regulations are being released: Article #1 of #4


We are excited to soon release the 2018 WCRL regulations. During the past three years, we have reviewed virtually every aspect of Rally Obedience from the point of view of the competitor, the trial host, and the judge. With the feedback from our comprehensive survey in 2014, and the many notes taken from reported issues from trials, the WCRL staff, with the help of the WCRL Advisory Committee, have developed a framework that would provide better definition and flexibility for growing Rally Obedience sport and addressing the wide array of issues and concerns that have accumulated through the years.

In this article, I have provided an overview of our approach to revamping the rules of competition for 2018. Over the coming week, we will be discussing some of the new features to accomplish this and the concepts behind them. I've always believed if you do something, there should be purpose. Be it good or bad, it is important to have so it can be evaluated and improved upon.

Rally Obedience is about performing a course in a lively and natural manner. As a result, our approach to the new regulations has resulted in modifications to reflect this objective. Within the framework, you will find a corresponding set of requirements for course design for each level, as well as a modified approach to scoring, placing emphasis on performing the course as a whole. An example is that the Bonus exercise will now be an optional station to be performed during the time allotted for course performance. This means that the continuity and flow through the course become as important as its component exercises, and all exercises are now measured as part of the course. Too, course design guidelines have been modified to reflect a stated purpose for each level, resulting in shorter courses in the lower levels. Some exercises have moved between levels, and a limitation on the number of stationary exercises has been established to promote more movement and flow through the course.

In order to have scores reflect the degree of success in complying with the requirements of the course and its component exercises, the scoring system has been changed from a pass-fail system largely based upon the individual exercises, to a graduated measuring system to evaluate the course performance from start to finish, of which any one exercise is only a part. It is important to note that the nature of exercises and the expected degree of accuracy in performance remain relatively unchanged. 

For example, no longer will one exercise decimate a performance with an "NQ", but instead, it is only a portion of the total score, thereby reflecting how well the overall course was performed. Each exercise now has a stated purpose identified by its Primary Element. All primary elements carry the same value and will be scored the same. There is no longer an individual exercise NQ for failure to comply with a specific requirement of the exercise or for being penalized ten or more points. So, no one exercise will determine the totality of a day's success. 

Summarily, the scoring system will provide:

  • a better measure of the overall course performance rather than just the aggregation of penalties on its component exercises,
  • a streamlined approach to assessing penalties consistently across all exercises based upon the defined goals of each exercise, and 
  • a means of identifying the degree to which an area of the performance needs improvement.

As a result, we expect to see qualifications with scores spanning the qualification range from 170 to 210 points.

For the sport, with better definition of the purpose and requirements for the course and exercises, it will:

  • facilitate more consistent interpretation of the rules, 
  • provide competitors clearer understanding of expectations, and
  • provide competitors with more accurate feedback on their performance and where they may need improvements.

One class structure change being made is that the Puppy Level is expanding into a broader-based "Intro" level, allowing earlier entry for people in training to test their training of the fundamental exercises on a shorter course, regardless of the dog's age. Puppies remain eligible for entry in this level and will be recognized through awards at a trial host's discretion within the Intro class.

Another change is that Junior Handlers will be ranked during the year based upon identified Juniors in competition in the regular levels. Any handler that has their birthdate registered in their owner record and is under 16 years of age will be ranked based upon scores in the regular classes.

In the next article in this series on the regulations, we will discuss significant new features in defining the course.

Kenneth Tatsch
President
World Cynosport Rally Limited

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