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Provisions for the Physically Challenged


Physically challenged handlers and dogs are encouraged to compete. Modifications of the course for both handler and dog are permitted, at the judge's discretion.
It is at the judge’s discretion whether or not a dog will be allowed to compete. If the handler has any concerns regarding the judge’s decision, or wishes to challenge it, the handler should be prepared to present a "letter" from a veterinarian stating that the dog is fit to compete. The judge will then consider this in his/her final decision. As all injuries are not always obvious or consistent, the judge shall have the final discretion at the day of the trial.

All requests for modifications to a course must accompany the Entry Form (Registration Form) for the trial. The request should be in writing and should explain the handicap and the modification(s) requested. The trial secretary is required to forward any letters regarding the physically challenged dog/handler team and the proposed modifications as a result of these physical challenges, to the judge (s) for their approval at least a week prior to the trial to enable the judge(s) to make modifications to the course in advance of the trial.

Senior Dogs

Senior dogs may have modifications made to the course because of their age without requiring a letter from a veterinarian. However should the dog have any physical handicap then the requirements under Provisions for Physically Challenged will apply.

Particular Situations

Novice level of rally obedience includes these signs: Call Dog Front—Forward Right and Call Dog Front— Finish Right. These exercises require that the handler pass the dog around his/her back from the right hand to the left hand. Any handler with the use of only one arm would be unable to do so and should be allowed to perform these exercises in a manner suited to the handler’s physical challenge. This would also apply to anyone that used an aid to walk such as a crutch, cane. A handler using a wheelchair should be able to perform these exercises. Anyone unable to use both arms should be allowed to attach a lead to their belt around the waist. The exercise would then be performed to the left.
The exercise Moving Side Step Right is impossible to be performed by someone using a wheel chair. Therefore the following is suggested. The team comes to a Halt, and the dog is placed in a Sit Stay. The handler then makes the circle to the right and comes to a halt directly to the right of the dog and then the dog is called into heel position.
Generally, the judge should use common sense and make any reasonable provisions that will enable the physically challenged to complete the course.