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SCRATCHING YOUR DOG AT A FIELD TRIAL Question: I am at a field trial and because of one reason or another (concerns over the safety of the test, need to be somewhere else, etc.) do not wish to continue competing in a particular stake. What do I need to do?

The Pertinent Rule:

SECTION 12: Any dog entered and present at a field trial must compete in all stakes in which it is entered, unless excused by the Field Trial Committee at that trial after consultation with the judges.

My Response:

First, as a practical matter, I am unaware of any incident where a competitor who decided for one reason or another to leave a Field Trial was written up for misconduct - absent some other actionable behavior (mistreatment of dog, cursing at judges and/or competitors, etc.). So, I am not certain what practical role this rule plays at a field trial.

Second, if I did not want to run in a stake and I was concerned about the impact of the rule, I would inform the marshal that I wished to scratch my dog from the stake. If later challenged, I would take the position that my dog was no longer “entered” within the meaning of Section 12. If I want to be even more secure in my position, I would ask a member of the Field Trial Committee - after having scratched - if I could leave the stake.

Again, this situation has - to my knowledge - never come up in real life. That is, I am unaware of any situation where a contestant has left a stake without securing the permission of the Field Trial Committee and the Judges. So, this is really uncharted waters. Still, I have a difficult time believing a competitor would be written up for misconduct - particularly, if the competitor scratches in advance.

Darn! First I couldn’t recognize an agility tube, then I broke all sorts of rules by telling the marshal to scratch my entries and simply going home. Good or bad, I seem to learn every time.
Bob Rehmet (Email) - 14 03 05 - 07:16

This helpful comment was posted on RTF.


Being new to field trials, and hearing the local gossip regarding unsafe
field trials, can you tell me what is the proper way to remove your dog
from a particular stake?

While the rule book states:

“SECTION 12: Any dog entered and present at a field trial must compete
in all stakes in which it is entered, unless excused by the Field Trial
Committee at that trial after consultation with the judges.”

So is going to the marshall enough, or must you hook up with a member of
the field trial committee? Will anyone on the committee do? I’m just
basicaly asking for proper procedure. Some have said just walk to line,
once the birds go down, say No heel, but this seems as if it’s putting
the workers through unncessary work…...

If it makes a difference, if I felt the test was unsafe, I would not be
looking for any money back. I would just want to finish running the
other stakes I was invoved in.

Can you please clarifiy.

Thank you.


First, I would hope the Field Trial Committee or least a member was available during set up so that a determination as to the validity of the test (safe or unsafe – not the requirements or design) could be made. That is the time intervention of the Committee should take place to determine the factor in question, not after the test has begun.

The Rule quoted is pretty specific and straightforward in regards to the scratching of a dog. I would hope if many requests to scratch dogs from a specific test were made, the Committee would revisit the issue to assure the right decision had been made to allow the test to be run. If the Committee determines there is no hazzard and allows the test to continue, then the participants have an obligation to follow the Rules. At this point, the participant has an option as to what he/she wishes to do, approach the Committee with a request to scratch the dog or, as you indicated, take the dog to the line and pick it up after the birds are all down. (The workers are not at issue as they get paid (?) the same whether they throw one of one hundred birds.)

Scratching in one stake should have no effect on the running of other stakes.

I hope this helps with your question!


Jerry D. Mann
Field Director
Sporting Breeds
Ted (Email) - 14 03 05 - 08:56

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