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There are six levels to work towards with a qualification at each level. The two bottom levels are designed to encourage complete beginners with no prior dog sport experience, whereas the top two levels are on a par with the highest level in other dog activities. All the other levels are somewhere in between and aim to offer a steady and graduated progress from complete beginner to expert.

The levels are as follows:

Foundation

Beginner

Novice

Intermediate

Advanced

Expert

And all have entry criteria to ensure they are suitable for the level of the entrant.

All levels consist of a search, control and agility, with the addition of Search and Rescue and Detection exercises at the Expert level for those who want to do something different.

The Agility section at all levels has been designed to cater for all shapes and sizes of dogs with a tunnel and an A Frame as well as a hurdle which will be lowered for smaller dogs. So we are hopeful they will be well within the capabilities of all breeds.

The ethos of UK Dog Sport is for dogs and handlers to have fun, but nevertheless it is a proper competition with qualifications to aim for, so can provide a challenge and a sense of achievement for those that qualify. There are winners and places at each level but still the overall aim is to qualify and at the top level the chance to compete for a Supreme qualification.

All details of exercises, marks etc. can be found in the Regulations and Guidance Booklet which is available to purchase from the UK Dog Sport Website.

Foundation Level

Open to dogs and handlers that have not competed in any other competitive dog sport. Toys may be carried and food may be given but only used as a reward between exercises and not as a way of constantly baiting the dog. Play is allowed but should be brief and not hold up the round unduly. Extra commands, encouragement and praise may be given in all exercises except the stay.

Search - (30 marks – 16 to qualify) A 15 paces search square with four articles.

Control - (50 marks – 35 to qualify)

Heelwork on lead:

Recall on Lead:

Retrieve: Handler’s own article

Sendaway: Handler’s own toy, mat or marker at a minimum distance of 15 yards.

Stays: A down stay of 1 minute on lead with handler two paces away.

Agility - (20 marks – 14 to qualify) Dogs may be kept on a lead or line for security, and handler can remain close to them but the lead or line must not be used to assist and must not impede the dog’s progress over or through the obstacles in any way.

Clear jump 2ft – Dogs under 15ins 1ft 9+ 8 An Overview of Levels and Exercises | Facebook

Tunnel - Dogs to be under control and sent through on handler’s command

A Frame - Dogs to be under control and sent over on handler’s command

Beginner Level

Open to dogs and handlers that have not competed in any other competitive dog sport. Toys may be carried and food may be given but only used as a reward between exercises and not held in such a way as to constantly bait the dog. Play is allowed but should be brief and not hold up the round unduly. Extra commands, encouragement and praise may be given in all exercises except the stay.

Search - (30 marks – 16 to qualify) A 20 paces search square with four articles.

Control - (50 marks – 35 to qualify)

Heelwork on lead:

Recall: Dog left in a sit off lead recall to front of handler

Retrieve: Handler’s own article

Sendaway: Handler’s own toy, mat or marker at a minimum distance of 20 yards.

Stays – A down stay of 2 minutes off lead

Agility - (20 marks – 14 to qualify) Handlers may send their dogs over or through the obstacles in their own time. Obstacles will be done in the order specified by the judge, and when each obstacle is completed the steward will instruct the handler to join their dog and inform them when the exercise is over. There is no specific distance from which the dogs must be sent forward to negotiate the obstacles but handlers are expected to judge what is safe for their dogs. Handlers must not go beyond the start of the obstacle until instructed to do so by the steward.

Clear jump 2ft – Dogs under 15ins 1ft

Tunnel - Dogs to be under control and sent through on handler’s command

A Frame - Dogs to be under control and sent over on handler’s command

Novice Level

Open to dogs and that have not competed in any other competitive dog sport other than Working Trials Special/Introductory Stakes, Obedience Pre- Beginners/ Beginners or Agility Grade 1

Search - (30 marks - 16 to qualify) A 20 pace search square, 4 articles.

Control - (60 marks – 45 to qualify) A toy may be carried out of sight of dog and only used to reward between exercises or at the end of test. However, play should be brief and not hold up the round unduly. No food to be carried. Extra commands and praise allowed except in stays. Heel on lead and Heel Free:. The object of this exercise it to introduce off lead heelwork so the amount of combined heelwork will not be excessive

Recall: Dogs to be left in a sit

Retrieve: A Dumbbell

Sendaway: The Dog will be sent according to the steward’s instructions to a point which will have some sort of marker (Minimum 30 yards) Speak: Dog will be on the lead at Handlers’ side and will be required to “speak” on one command. Three barks are required

Stay: a Down Stay of 3 minutes with handler away from the dog

Agility (20 marks _14 to qualify) Handlers may send their dogs over or through the obstacles in their own time. Obstacles will be done in the order specified by the judge, and when each obstacle is completed the steward will instruct the handler to join their dog and inform them when the exercise is over. There is no specific distance from which the dogs must be sent forward to negotiate the obstacles but handlers are expected to judge what is safe for their dogs. Handlers must not go beyond the start of the obstacle until instructed to do so by the steward.

Clear jump 2ft – Dogs under 15ins 1ft

Tunnel - Dogs to be under control and sent through on handler’s command

A Frame - Dog to be under control and sent over on handler’s command

Intermediate Level

Open to all dogs and handlers Search - (30 marks - 16 to qualify) A 25 x 25 pace search square, 4 articles. Control - (60 marks – 45 to qualify) No food or toys to be given or carried. Minimal extra commands will be allowed, but constant encouragement or any handling of the dog will be penalised. Heel Free at all three paces (normal, slow and fast) with all three turns (right, left and about) Recall: Dogs to sit and wait and handler will leave dog on steward’s command and walk a minimum of 30 paces

Retrieve: A Dumbbell

Sendaway: The Dog will be sent according to the steward’s instructions to a point (minimum 50 yards)

Speak: Dog will be at handler’s side off the lead. Five barks on one command and a Quiet are required

Stay: Down Stay of 5 minutes with handler out of sight.

Agility - (20 marks _14 to qualify) Handlers may send their dogs over or through the obstacles in their own time. Obstacles will be done in the order specified by the judge, and when each obstacle is completed the steward will instruct the handler to join their dog and inform them when the exercise is over. There is no specific distance from which the dogs must be sent forward to negotiate the obstacles but handlers are expected to judge what is safe for their dogs. Handlers must not go beyond the start of the obstacle until instructed to do so by the steward.

Clear jump 2ft Dogs under 15ins 1ft

Tunnel - Dogs to be under control and sent through on handler’s command

A Frame - Dog to be under control and sent over on handler’s command

Advanced Level

Open to dogs and handlers that have qualified UKDS Intermediate level

Search - (30 marks - 16 to qualify) A 25 x 25 pace search square, 4 articles. Control (60 marks – 45 to qualify) No food or toys to be given or carried. No extra commands in any exercise other than the search Heel Free at all three paces (normal, slow and fast) with all three turns (right, left and about) Recall: Handler will leave their dog in a position of their choice, and on steward’s instruction will walk where directed to include at least one turn. The dog will be called to heel and continue

heelwork as directed.

Retrieve: The retrieve article to be supplied by the judge.

Sendaway and Redirect: The Dog will be sent (minimum 70 yards) stop and remain until redirected.

Speak: According to Judge’s instruction

Stay: a Down Stay of 10 minutes with handler out of sight.

Agility - (20 marks _14 to qualify) Handlers may send their dogs over or through the obstacles in their own time, but will be directed by the steward when to recall them. Obstacles will be done in the order specified by the judge, and when each obstacle is completed the steward will instruct the handler to join their dog and inform them when the exercise is over. There is no specific distance from which the dogs must be sent forward to negotiate the obstacles but handlers are expected to judge what is safe for their dogs. Handlers must not go beyond the start of the obstacle until instructed to do so by the steward.

Clear jump and retrieve a dumbbell 2ft –Dogs under 15ins 1ft

Tunnel Dogs to be under control and sent through the tunnel, wait and then recall back through the tunnel.

A frame - Dog to go over on command, wait and then recall over

Expert Level

Open to dogs and handlers that have qualified UKDS Advanced level Control (60 marks – 45 to qualify) No food or toys to be given or carried. No extra commands in any exercise other than the search

Heel Free at all three paces with all three turns

Recall: Handler will leave their dog in a position of their choice, and will walk where directed to include at least one turn. The dog will be recalled to heel and continue heelwork.

Retrieve: The Retrieve article to be supplied by the judge.

Sendaway and Redirect: The Dog will be sent (minimum 70 yards) stop and redirect as instructed

Speak: According to Judge’s instruction

Stay: A Down Stay of 10 minutes with handler out of sight.

Agility - (20 marks _14 to qualify) Handlers may send their dogs over or through the obstacles in their own time, but will be directed by the steward when to recall them. Obstacles will be done in the order specified by the judge, and when each obstacle is completed the steward will instruct the handler to join their dog and inform them when the exercise is over. There is no specific distance from which the dogs must be sent forward to negotiate the obstacles but handlers are expected to judge what is safe for their dogs. Handlers must not go beyond the start of the obstacle until instructed to do so by the steward.

Clear jump and retrieve a dumbbell 2ft –Dogs under 15ins 1ft

Tunnel Dogs to be under control and sent through the tunnel, wait and then recall back through the tunnel.

A frame - Dog to go over on command, wait and then recall over

Search and Rescue and Detection Dog (50 marks – 35 to qualify)

Property Search - A 10 x 10 pace search square, 1 article

Detection In a marked area of 15 x 15 yards 12 terracotta flowerpots will be evenly spaced. Dogs will be sent to find and indicate a tennis ball located under one of the flower pots.

Search and Rescue The dog is sent to find hidden missing/vulnerable person/s in an area that may or may not include hides, vehicles, or other hiding places. The handler will help the vulnerable person back to the start with dog attentive but not interfering during distraction.
Once you begin competing in UK Dog Sport you can work towards gaining qualifications and you will be able to add the following to your dog’s name
  • Foundation Dog Qualified (FDQ) and Foundation Dog Excellent (FDEX)
  • Beginner Dog Qualified (BDQ) and Beginner Dog Excellent (BDEX)
  • Novice Dog Qualified (NDQ) and Novice Dog Excellent (NDEX)
  • Intermediate Dog Qualified (IDQ) and Intermediate Dog Excellent (IDEX)
  • Advanced Dog Qualified (ADQ) and Advanced Dog Excellent (ADEX)
  • Expert Dog Qualified (EDQ) and Expert Dog Excellent (EDEX)

FOUNDATION

Total marks achievable 100. Marks needed to qualify 75-85 FDQ 86-100 FDEX

BEGINNER

Total marks achievable 100. Marks needed to qualify 75-85 BDQ 86-100 BDEX

NOVICE

Total marks achievable 110. Marks needed to qualify 85-95 NDQ 96-110 NDEX

INTERMEDIATE

Total marks achievable 110. Marks needed to qualify 85-95 IDQ 96-110 IDEX

ADVANCED

Total marks achievable 110. Marks needed to qualify 85-95 ADQ 96-110 ADEX

EXPERT

Total marks achievable 160. Marks needed to qualify 125-135 EDQ 136-160 EDEX

Once dogs have reached the Advanced and Expert Levels they will be eligible to compete for the title of -

Advanced Dog Supreme

Expert Dog Supreme

Dogs/Bitches under 12 months of age, in season or suffering from* any ill health, injury or lameness are not eligible to take part at any level. (*other than those certified as fit to compete by a Vet)Dogs may only compete at one level at any UKDS event but handlers may work more than one dog.

Dogs must be worked in a flat collar which should be worn throughout all tests. For on lead work the lead must be a clip on type of at least 4ft long.

NFC or “Training Rounds” will not be permitted at any level. However, if a handler decides during their work to help their dog and forfeit their marks for a particular exercise that is their choice. They are nevertheless expected to start the test with the intention of completing all exercises according to the Regulations.

Judges are required to ensure that the round they set at whatever level they are judging has been properly risk assessed and consideration has been given to the safety of all people and dogs involved.

Organisers must ensure that insurance cover is in place for their event and provide UKSD with a copy of the insurance certificate before the date of their event.

Entry Fees will be set by the organiser of the event at a level to cover all expenses, and any payments to judges, helpers or organisers. Entries will be restricted by the size of the venue and the number it can accommodate. If restriction is necessary this will be done by the organiser by means of an anonymous ballot.

Venues

Organisers of any UKDS events must ensure that the venue that they have available is large enough to accommodate the following facilities:
  • Adequate parking off the highway
  • Toilet/ handwashing facilities
  • Secure fencing/gates
These are the minimum requirements and such things as cover, refreshments, seating would be seen as a welcome bonus. However, it may be that organisers will wish to provide a more hospitable event, involving village halls or other type of base. This will be entirely down to those putting on the event and is not a requirement.

Judging

Judges may be invited to judge one or more levels by the organisers of the event. Criteria for judges at this point will be that they have judged at similar levels in working trials. However for the foundation level a judge may be given their first appointment based on the organisers’ knowledge of their experience in competition. As the new sport grows, judges may qualify to judge each level by having judged the level below. Judges and Helpers will be paid all reasonable expenses, and if entries allow some sort of honorarium/payment may be given. However it is anticipated that these event will be one day only, and organisers will try to ensure that judges do not have too far to travel, so accommodation expenses should not be incurred. Judges for the Expert Level will be expected to supply their own helpers for the SAR part of the test.

At all levels Judging will be done on the basis of an overall impression and not individually deducted marks. Judges may use lost marks to assist with their mental calculations but their final award of marks will be based on the overall impression of the exercise being judged. A dog may only be awarded zero marks for any exercise where it has done absolutely nothing.

Eligibility

Foundation Level: Open to dogs and handlers that have not competed in any competitive dog sport

Beginner Level: Open to dogs and handlers that have not competed in any competitive dog sport

The above two levels are designed to encourage participation by those with no experience of dog sport, and should be within the capabilities of any breed. Smaller dogs will have the clear jump reduced (see Agility section) and no qualification is required to enter these two levels, but it is expected that dogs will be of good temperament and under control.

Novice Level: Open to dogs that have not competed in any dog sport above Working Trials Special/Introductory Stake, Obedience Pre Beginners/ Beginners or Agility Grade 1.

This is a basic stake and should be judged as such, with the emphasis on practical happy working partnerships.

Intermediate Level: Open to all dogs and handlers

Advanced Level: Open to dogs and handlers that have qualified Intermediate level in UKDS

Both the Intermediate and Advanced Levels are set at a progressively higher standard to encourage participation by serious dog sport enthusiasts.

Expert Level: Open to Dogs that have qualified Advanced level UKDS

It is envisaged that this level will prove challenging, exciting and fun for those handlers that have qualified the other levels and are looking for something new to do with their dogs.

Exercises

Search Square: The area for the search will have been heavily walked over prior to the competition starting. If land is short it may not be possible to give each dog a fresh search square although this would be the ideal. However, there must be enough space to move the square if any dog fouls it or it becomes poached, downtrodden or overused. Articles must be suitable for the level being worked and the terrain, as well as appropriate for all breeds and sizes of dog, and non-injurious if swallowed. There must be a separate clean set of articles for each dog, which must not include food or toys. Handlers are free to work their dogs as they wish, but must not enter the search area, and unnecessary or constant commands will be penalised. Handlers will not be permitted to watch the detection exercise or any of the searches for either articles or the hidden person, of the level they are working prior to working their own dog. If a handler is working two dogs at the same level, the placement of articles/detection pots or the position of the hidden person will be changed for one of them.

Heelwork: On or off lead: Dogs should walk close to the handler’s left hand side, at heel and sit when the handler halts. Dogs should be neat and attentive whilst remaining happy and natural, and Handlers should walk or run in a natural manner, following steward’s commands as accurately as possible to give an overall impression of unison and teamwork.

Recall: Whether recalling to a front present or heel position the dog should come smartly without undue deviation. In the front present Recall handlers will leave their dog in the sit position but in the Recall to heel exercise handlers may leave their dog in a position of their own choice and follow the steward’s directions whilst maintaining the same pace both before and after calling the dog. Retrieve- at all levels the object of this exercise is for the dog to bring the article to the handler and this will carry the bulk of the marks. However some marks will be deducted for lack of accuracy or precision.

Sendaway: Must at all times be practical, and while no maximum distance is stipulated dogs must be sent a realistic distance and stopped (there is a minimum distance for all levels). There may be one or two redirections but not multiples, and handlers should be allowed to work their dogs to achieve their marks. However, too many commands or commands that are ignored or misinterpreted should be penalised.

Speak: Perfection at all levels is for the dog to begin speaking on one command and continue until stopped, again on one command. It is not a stay exercise so change of position and minor movement will not be marked. However other than speak on the move, marks will be deducted for dogs that do not remain in the vicinity of where they started.

Stays: Consideration must be given to safety when setting up a stay test and no test should be carried out in an area that has open exit points out of the venue. Handlers should be close enough to their dogs during this exercise to take charge in case of any problems, and if no suitable out of sight area is available close at hand, vehicles, windbreaks, blinds etc., may be utilised as alternative cover.

Agility

It should be noted that all equipment must be in good condition and safe for dogs to use.

The ideal size for the A Frame in accordance with Agility regulations is a minimum 3ft (91.4m) wide, 9ft (2.74m) ramps and 5ft. 7in (1.7m) at the Apex

The tunnel must be a minimum of 2ft (600mm) high and 9ft.10 (3m) long.

However it is recognised there may be some slight variation to these according to what people have available, but common sense and avoidance of extremes is expected and the minimum measurements must be adhered to.

Although on the A Frame strict adherence to contact points will not be required, dogs should go up one side and down the other, and not jump off the top, which will be considered a fault and marked accordingly.

The Tunnel should be held firmly in place by pegs, straps or sand bags and may be straight or with a bend according to the level being worked and the length of tunnel available.

The clear jump or hurdle should be of standard type as used in working trials, with adjustable height and a solid lower bar. Where the dog is required to retrieve a dumbbell over the clear jump, if the dog knocks the top bar off but returns back to the handler with the dumbbell, either over the lower bar of the jump or without jumping, some marks will be awarded.

Clear Jump height will be 2ft (60cm) with a reduction to 1ft (30CM) for dogs under 15 inches.

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