Monday, April 4, 2011

??? Inquiring Minds ???

Before you take Fluffy into the competition obedience ring, you must remove the tags that normally hang from her collar.  Most competitors have two collars, Fluffy's everyday collar and her ring collar.

The question is why?  Why is it verboten for a dog to have dangling tags on in the ring?  I can think of one very practical reason why the tags should accompany the dog.  If the dog bolts, runs from the ring ("Loose dog! Loose dog!") and even makes it out of the show grounds without tags, she has no easily visible means of identification.  That has happened, with catastrophic results.  Some of us deal with the problem by having a flat metal plate mounted on the ring collar.

I've been in the sport more than two decades, and from time to time I've posed the question . . . why?  Oh, I've gotten a few guesses from folks who are otherwise well informed.  Twice I've been told something like this:  "Because there are people who might try to use them in some way to cheat in the ring."

To which I've responded, "How? Please tell me how to cheat using my dog's tags."  At which point the conversation ends.

Twice I've called the office of the person in charge of obedience at the American Kennel Club, seeking an answer.  And struck out.  Several years ago I talked to Curt Curtis, the assistant vice president who, among other things, oversees obedience.  He hadn't the foggiest.  But he said, "Jim Dearinger is in the office today, I'll ask him and get back to you."  Dearinger, then retired, had been on the AKC staff for 23 years.  In his final position he was vice president for obedience.

Yeah, I thought,  if anyone would know, it would be Jim.

Curtis called back that same day.  "Jim has no idea," he said.

Which is where we stand today.  We've got this strange regulation.  It's been in effect forever.  But no one knows why.

OK, out there in doggie obedience land, does anyone know?  I'm sure there are plenty of guesses, but does anyone really know.  Please share.



  1. No clue and I'm old. The only one older than me who might have known just died but I assume it's another of those arbitrary AKC things. For a while there was a big deal made of the toggle collar which sort of mimics the tags but eventually AKC allowed the toggle and other clubs allow the toggle collar EXCEPT Canada. UKC says the same thing about tags that AKC does and CKC too. Not sure about APDT. Probably just following AKCs lead. Maybe the thought is all that tag jingling would disturb other dogs doing group stays. I always train with my tag collar on plus a pinch or something so the only time my dog doesn't have his tags on is in the obedience ring or breed ring. Sort of a scary thing when going to a show like Pima County fairgrounds and so many dogs and rings are rope and rebar. Think if they all decided to take off at the same time.

  2. I imagine it's a part of the "no identifying ensignias" rule - as if a judge could see what it says on a tag without actually bending over to look. OTOH, I suppose someone could get a somewhat bigger one and have just $1000 for a 200 engraved on it. ;-)

  3. I have always heard it was the "identification" issue. Does anyone know if it's true that you can't have your name on your dumbell?

    Lynn Glickauf