Rally - Guidebook Section VIII - Novice A or Novice B - Which Class Do I Enter
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Section VIII. Novice A or Novice B - Which Class Do I Enter?

If a dog has a title but the handler has never seen the inside of the ring (dog was trained and titled by daughter but is being handled in Rally by mom), would they be in Novice A or B

You would have to be in Novice B, the dog has a title.

For the daughter who has never set foot in a ring, however, showing in Rally, even in the Novice B class, would be a good confidence and experience builder before making taking a new dog in the regular Novice B class. One of those unusual situations that doesn't seem fair, I guess.

Co-owners who never went into the ring in Obedience are no longer required to enter the Novice B class. However, you are correct about the requirement about owning the dog to take it into A. I have a Boxer that I inherited from a friend of mine, now deceased, who got the only OTCH on a Boxer ever. I co-own her with the deceased former owner and was told when I started training her for her UD that I COULD show her in the Utility A class. I CHOSE to show her to her title, which we finished today, in the Utility B class in honor of her former owner. Co-owner in "name only" does not count any more. Besides, the NEW Rally definitions of A & B classes indicate that ANY DOG OR HANDLER that has gotten a Rally OR Obedience title must enter the B class. This was recommended as of April 3, 2002.

AKC Rule Book, Page 23, Chapter 3, Novice, Section 1: Novice A Class: The Novice A Class shall be for dogs that have not won the CD title and are at least 6 months old. A handler must own the dog entered, or be a member of the owner's household or immediate family, and may not have previously handled any dog that has earned an American Kennel Club obedience title.

Once they take a dog into the Obedience ring that already has a title, they automatically go into the B class. Otherwise, as you can see, there is a lot of latitude and the reference to co-owners has been removed.

OK, let me see if I understand. You co-own a dog and someone finished that CD. Then you take another NEW dog in and you DON'T have to go into B? (I feel like I am in high school doing calculus again!)

Not correct. You can only EVER go in Novice A ONCE in your lifetime. Once you get a CD on ANY dog, you must enter Novice B for the rest of your life. Novice is the only class in traditional Obedience which has that distinction. Novice A is truly for completely green, beginner dogs AND handlers.

Unless you are Canadian. Then you take your new dogs into Novice A until you have a UD.

Well, it seems fair to me. If I had my cousin co-own my Annie after her CD and she took her into Rally A, it would be an advantage over others who had to train from scratch. Now if I take a new dog into Novice (reg. ob.) I can go into "A," right? it's the dog's experience not the owners? (for regular obedience)

In Traditional Obedience, you can only EVER go into the Novice A Class ONCE. Once you get a CD, you must forever enter Novice B. HOWEVER, the same does NOT hold true for Open and Utility. Unless you have gotten an OTCH, you can enter each new DOG in the A class, until they get their title, and then you can continue to show in Open A, or Utility A, for another 60 days, or a HIT, whichever comes first. Then you must show in the B class. Rally, however, will only allow brand new dogs and handlers in the A classes. All the rest of us will be relegated to the B classes. If you EVER got a Rally OR Obedience Title, you may not enter a Rally A class. Interesting, no?

What I am reading is somewhat confusing. I asked about A or B classes earlier as what I read in AKC about Rally EVERYONE was going to go into A and I thought that was strange. Glad to see it's changed, but I am confused on the regular obedience angle...that if a dog is owned/co-owned, even if NEVER handle by the person, said person has to go into B. I can tell you I just had this conversation about 6 months ago with an AKC obedience rep at a show and it HAS been changed to benefit the handlers!! My interest was because I am showing one of our Siberians that is ONLY registered in my husband's name. He has NEVER titled as dog. I asked about IF I put a CD on her, would this then make him, with NO experience, a "B" handler. He said NO, not anymore, so long as the PERSON on the end of the leash has NEVER put a title on a dog, they are an "A" class person PERIOD!! I was very glad to hear this needless to say.

MY second confusion from the post was about the Canadian handler? Someone replied that if they where in Canada, then ALL their new dogs go into the 'A' class unless they have put a UD title on one? I show up there ALL the time, and it states VERY clearly that IF you have titled a dog you MUST go into the B class, and IF you have a dog that has a title in the states but has never shown there it is still a B dog. I do know IF you come from Canada to show under AKC, they do NOT recognize other "titles" and you would be an A dog UNLESS you have titled a dog in the AKC before. I like the idea of the Rally A being for complete beginners. Is there going to be both classes in the upper levels? And if so, will it then go to the dogs experience again like open and utility or Not??? Maybe its just sunstroke and I need to try and re-read the posts!!

If you have a dog that has an AKC Novice title you show in Novice B in Canada. If you put a CDX on your last dog but don't have an AKC or CKC UD (and don't teach obedience classes) you can show a new (titleless) dog in Novice A. Portia was eligible for Novice A in Canada (even though I had put CDX's on other dogs). I showed her once in A. I had trained her to be competitive in AKC Novice B and felt funny in the A class. I taught a Rally class last fall so am probably now ineligible for Novice A in Canada anyway. I would have to re-read their rules about Open A. The CKC UD is also their OTCH. If you have a CKC UD you can't show in Novice A anymore. I don't remember if you have to show in Open B also. I ended up in the Open B class anyway because Portia and Papageno both had AKC CDX's when they went to Canada.

I am confused also, but am I safe in assuming that since I owned and titled one dog for an AKC CD - I can take her into Level 1 "B"? And my non-titled Siberian I would also enter into "B"? I am a little confused because I have entered my dogs into some Rally's that are at AKC trails through May and did not specify "A" or "B" and the premium lists did not differentiate for Rally "A" versus "B". Should I just write it in?

That is correct. You would enter the "B" class since you have titled a dog in Obedience. While Rally is still a non-regular class, "A" & "B" classes are not being offered. They will be offered once Rally is a titling event.

If I read one of the posts correctly, it said if I have a CD on a dog that dog goes into Novice B for Rally, even though he and I are both new to Rally? Please confirm. Thanks

Yup. You are experienced, the dog is experienced. If nothing else, it's a courtesy for the ultra beginners - those who have never trained a dog, never been in a show. Look at it this way, A and B are the same. Judging standards won't be different because everyone will be new to Rally the first year. Everyone will be in Novice. Gosh, that may never happen again in my lifetime. I plan to enjoy it to the fullest! LOL I always thought the judges would be harder on the B folks but I really haven't found that to be true. For all the judge knows, every time you step into the Novice B ring, you may still only ever have trained one dog and that doesn't make you an expert. So they still give you some leeway. Now in Open - well, that's another story.

That will be the rule when Rally becomes a titling event. The intention was to keep anyone with experience in the "B" classes, and for the "A" classes to truly be for completely for new, inexperienced people.

Rally Advanced A class description reads to me as if no one can enter! Dogs must have RN title and must be handled by owner or family member - but the required handler may NOT have completed a RN title, or any obedience title.

Since "A" class is for dogs without Rally experience, I feel for quite some time there will be many (top) titled dogs entered in the "A" class. Newbies will have very little chance of every earning one of 4 available ribbons. (Also I think any obedience titled dogs should be in "B") JMHO.

I also think that a dog with any obedience title should go into Novice "B", not "A". "A" should be reserved for dogs and handlers with *no* obedience titles of any sort. I certainly would feel funny taking my almost-UDX dog into Novice "A". Although, that would put my CD dog in direct competition with my almost-UDX dog - no question who would win that match-up! In agility, once a Novice "A" dog earns either novice title (standard or jumpers), they have to then show in Novice B in the other. As far as 100 points being maximum, it is in agility. A perfect score is 100, with 85 being qualifying, but then, except for a clear NQ, the highest deduction is 5 points, not 10 like in Rally. I think max of 100 with qualifying of 70 is realistic.

As a courtesy, most people would do this. In agility, as most of you know, if you have a Novice title in any organization, it's a courtesy, if not a rule, to enter Novice B in all other organizations.

You know what...I hadn't really given this much thought... A versus B...but, I think it's an excellent point and I really agree with you on having dogs with titles (obedience or agility) participate in the B classes, regardless of our Rally experience.

It would be similar to how obedience is handled now...if you've ever put an obedience title on a dog (or even co-owned one) - every dog you begin with after your first Novice A dog...goes in Novice B. To keep encouragement high and to be fair... I agree - new people to the sport should compete with other new people...I mean, how proud would I be with my 7 year old CD "beating" out a 2 year old with a basic obedience class in the A class, simply because neither of us has "Rally" experience. Wow, big win. But, going head to head with a UD or an OTCH dog in the B class. Now, that would be something to be proud of! Maybe this is something we can pass on to the AKC too?

I absolutely agree and would like to see experienced dogs have to enter "B" classes. However, we're talking about "crossing sports" here. Agility dogs that have a title are not prohibited from Novice A Obedience, and vice versa. Since AKC doesn't recognize that ANY other organization awards titles, you can have a UKC OCH and legally enter in Novice A in AKC. Obedience and Rally are different sports, and I think it would be hard to impose prohibitions from one set of titles to the next. I expect everyone will be on the "honor system" on that point.

Would it complicate things too much to have a 'C' class? A for handlers that have never titled a dog in obedience or rally; B for dogs that haven't titled in obedience or rally; and C for dogs that have titled in either obedience or rally?

Haven't reviewed the proposed rules lately, but I seem to recall that you don't have to move up once you have titled at a lower level, and since the course is different every time - I could see where someone might be content to stay at a lower level for a long time.

You are all forgetting that the "A" classes are for the inexperienced handler. When entering a new sport we are ALL in the same boat. No matter how much ring experience the DOG has, if the handler can't read and react to the signs and trips on her dog trying to remember which is the correct entrance to the spiral, they'll flunk just as easily as the totally inexperienced team. This is all about having a fun, new experience with your best buddy. the challenge is in getting it right, not what color the ribbon is.

I'm pretty sure that once your dog receives the title in Rally Novice - either A or B...you are able to continue to compete in Novice B. Much the same as we can in Obedience.

As for those of us with CD dogs, still competing in Novice B Obedience...the ONLY reason I do it is because my dog has arthritis and began refusing the high jump in Open...no title is worth my dog's soundness, so we nixed competing in Open.

I'm thinking I may end up doing the same thing in Rally - although the 16" jump height would probably be ok - (it's probably less than from the floor to my bed - which he jumps just fine)...if I find the jumps in Advanced and Excellent are a problem.....it's Novice B for us for as long as we decide to play.

So, while there may be some people who want to stay at the lower levels just to win...there may be some of us who stay there just to be "part of the party".

Excellent point about A being for inexperienced handlers. You're right about me forgetting that completely. And, how "haughty" of me to think that because I was relatively successful in one sport - that I'd be so above the others in the A Class to need to show in B. I'd probably get knocked on my butt..by "true" B handlers. I think you're right about everyone new to Rally - needs to begin at the beginning. So, I probably will just do the A class.

My opinion is probably in the minority here, but I don't believe that just because you have an obedience title for another sport you should enter Novice B. My dog has an obedience title from Schutzhund, but I am certainly not entering Novice B for Rally or for a CD. I have never competed in AKC competition and barely know the rules. I would certainly be at a considerable disadvantage with handlers in Novice B. I work with two AKC clubs and a person who has numerous AKC titles. None of them who has experienced AKC ever suggested I compete in Novice B. The handling methods and the exercises are very different between the two sports. I have a friend who has two obedience titles in Schutzhund but is competing for her CD in Novice A. I don't believe you can make that statement across the board. Thanks for allowing me to make my opinion known.

I would have to agree. Currently in the Rally Class I am teaching, I have students that have CDX's, UD's, Open Agility Titles, Excellent Agility titles and Schutzhund titles. Rally is new to them. They are basically at the same level as the folks with no titles on their dogs. It is a new sport to them. I would have no problem competing against them in a Novice A class.

Very valid comment. It should be up to the individual to compete in whatever division (s)he feels most qualified for. Having never done Rally in competition but being an instructor and with Kandee having her CDX in AKC obedience, I feel I should be in Novice B. That is me and only me. Everyone is different and we shouldn't try to pigeonhole. I'm as guilty as the next person in doing that and it's not air.

While, in principle, I understand why someone might think that someone with an OTCH should enter B, and I am sure many will. It has also been my experience in teaching others to perform in this sport that it is a different skill. Not everyone is equally adept at reading a course and performing the exercises. Some beginners to the sport with NO previous exercise have less “baggage” on board, and may out score the “old timers” hands down, others will not. I would prefer to allow those who feel they belong in A to show there. It will quickly sort itself out, I think. I am comfortable with showing in B in this sport, but have no urge to force it on anyone. That would be judging them before I see them on the course! In performance sports, we have always prided ourselves on the ideal of NOT judging anyone before their performance, based on who they are, or their previous experience, let’s not start now!

The honor system has always worked well for us, and I see no reason it shouldn’t now. Peer pressure has always been enough to keep us all honest, and I have seen no real reason to expect it won’t continue to do so. The friendship and fun that this sport is supposed to engender would suffer a telling blow by mandating who can enter what class based on past performance in another sport. We wanted to be “different”, let us not get rigid now that we are getting closer to actual “for the records” competition.

I agree. Although I've competed in agility and obedience, I am still completely new to Rally. Having competed in obedience and agility does not give me or my dog an edge! My dog and I both still get serious ring nerves, get stressed out, goof, flub up, make terrible mistakes, etc. Maybe I'm not a nice person, but I would absolutely enter Novice A in Rally, and it would not have anything to do with getting a high placement....I feel like I deserve a chance as a newbie too. Because Rally and obedience are NOT the same sport, just like obedience and agility are not, I don't feel that obedience titles mean you'll succeed or be all the better for your obedience experience in the Rally ring. At least, I wouldn't anyway.

And, a person who's never competed in any dog sports has the choice of beginning in any of them that they choose--for me, it was agility, then obedience. I competed in obedience after having competed in agility for a long time, and that doesn't mean I shouldn't have competed in A against those who'd chosen obedience as their very first dog sport. Know what I mean? JMHO

This is an interesting question...the issue of what level one should show at. If we all start at the A level then we definitely put the new folks at a serious disadvantage competing against many dogs who have well experienced handlers and perhaps multiple OTCh's. If anyone having ANY title in traditional obedience is required to start in the B level then at least many of them will be disadvantaged by Rally being new and them not having any experience with it specifically.

Another issue comes to my mind in that many folks have never gone beyond the CD level in traditional obedience (myself included) and although I have put CD's on two dogs and have trained at both Open and Utility levels I have never shown to those titles. At least with my current dog with whom I squeaked through the CD I would not feel that I was so much more experienced or better than any of the Novice A folks that I would feel that I was putting them at undue disadvantage by competing against them. But it sounds like most folks would feel I should show in B level. I'm sure there are many folks in the same boat. If I had a dog that was clearly a superstar I might feel differently but this may be a case where some personal ethics will be needed.

You know what - maybe this is important...the issue of A versus B won't come into play until Rally is a regular, titling class. That means all of us should have ample (hopefully, anyway) opportunity to compete while Rally is a non-regular class where there will be no reason to split the classes. By the time it's a regular class, we'll all know where we belong. Thank you.

These are the things we need to discuss NOW, before everything gets "cast in stone" and we don't have time to form an opinion. I value the discussions on this list. They are stated thoughtfully, delivered politely, and accepted without criticism. I like that no one has to be afraid to voice an opinion, and that we understand that it's just that -- one person's opinion which we are free to agree with or argue opposing points. These discussions, now and in the future, will give us a gauge of how the sport is progressing, and we'll know exactly where to take it when the time comes. Never doubt that we CAN make a difference. Our Florida E-mail group for our State Obedience Tournament sent a torrent of E-mails when one of the Obedience proposals was to do away with High In Trial. You will notice that High In Trial is still awarded in Obedience, and I believe it is in large part to the efforts and voice of "us," the masses. And there is a LOT to firm up in any new sport, so keep the discussions flowing.

I have to agree about the exhibitor making the decision as to whether to enter Novice A or B according to their own proficiency. Although I've never done Rally, I have trained 2 dogs to earn a total of 5 CD's and 1 CDX from different registries. Even though I am by no means a "200" competitor, I feel that I've done enough work training that I should enter the B classes if I compete in Rally. Fair's fair! I want to encourage people to participate, get their titles and join the B classes with their next dog!!

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