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Reminder of Upcoming 2019 AGM

This year the AGM will be held on April 28th (Sunday) at 4PM EDT (2PM MDT / 1PM PDT) . 


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Participant code - 85078963#


*** This is for video only, and is NOT required. To hear anything, you MUST also join the teleconference. ****
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This is to save costs on the AGM to allow CARO to sponser two (2) trials across Canada during odd years instead of just the AGM trial. The board is pleased to be sponsoring a trial in Nanaimo BC as one of the two trials.

Clubs that are interested in having a CARO sponsored trial are encouraged to contact the board of directors ( for more information.


To see last year's AGM minutes and financial statements (which are approved at the upcoming AGM), log in, and go to My Profile > Minutes of Meetings.

We hope that you can join us!

BC/AB/NWT Regional Director

The election is complete and the new Regional Director for the BC/AB/NWT area is:

My name is Julia Schwark, and I’m a dog trainer in BC, Canada. I have loved CARO Rally since I first started training in 2014! I now share my joy for Rally with my own students and competitors at our trials. I look forward to being an even bigger part of the organization as the BC/AB/Territories Regional Director! 

Change to effective date of Working Level exercise

The change to Expert Designed Retrieve ONLY in Working will be moved to be effective January 1, 2020.

Board Positions & Election

The board of directors would like to thank the following members for allowing their nominations to stand.  No other nominations were received for the positions, so these are your new board members, starting June 1, 2019.  

Debby DaCosta – President

DaCosta looks forward to the opportunity to fill the role of president. A competitor since 2005 currently competing with 4 dogs in regular, team and working class at all levels soon to include brace, a judge since 2010, helped create the Brace Class, assisted with the Working Class, currently Rules Committee Chair, helps mentor judges and presented at multiple AGM’s. She believes members should have a voice, and wants to help CARO continue to grow across Canada. If you know Debby you know she truly loves the organization and what it stands for, she is helpful to all who compete at her facility and people she judges at other facilities. She continues to help people on Fb and other networks to help them understand and grow with the sport, a true ambassador for CARO.

Emma Bell - Director at Large

Emma is excited to join the CARO executive as Director at Large. Emma is a lawyer in the Vancouver area. She is a CARO judge, and enjoys competing in rally obedience, agility, barn hunt, and lure coursing with her three Boxers; Malcolm, Lila, and Sully.

Jennifer Oldfield - Regional Director (SK/MB)

Relatively speaking, I am someone who is fairly new to the sport of CARO. I have been a judge almost as long as I have been a member.  I love the sport for the bond it creates within the person-dog team and love seeing it grow and develop over the course of time, in the competitors.  I enjoy training my own dogs, plus I very much enjoy teaching and guiding others to improve and love the sport as much as I do.  I hope to provide a voice for my region over the course of my time as Regional Director and to help to continue to grow this great organization.

Lilian Cook - Regional Director (ON)

Now that I am recently retired from Queen's University, as an Administration Manager in Nursing, I look forward to this new position in CARO and encourage all to contact me with ideas, questions, suggestions or concerns. In the interest of CARO, it is best to have open dialogue for the best communication among all involved in this sport. I started competing in CARO in 2010 to work in a fun way with my rescue golden, who needed and gained tons of confidence and excelled in this fun sport. I am now a CARO judge, enjoying helping others to be successful in this fun sport of Rally and continue competing with my other dogs as well.  I look forward to representing others in the Ontario Region to have a voice in the continued growth of CARO.


There will be an election for the position of Regional Director (AB/BC/Territories).  More information will be provided to voting members in the related region, and results will be announced after the election.

On behalf of the board, I thank you very much for your enthusiasm, and I look forward to working with you over the next two years in the role of past president!                   

                                                                                                      - Sarah-Jane Petti

New Working Level Handbook now available

The board of directors is pleased to bring you an updated Working Level Handbook.  This is the first major update that has been introduced to the Working Levels.  The board would like to thank Debby DaCosta and Marilyn Fraser for their time reviewing and proofreading.

The document may be found on the Publicatin page:


Emails have gone out to the members for the 2019 Elections.  If you did not receive an email please contact Jeanne Shaw.  The following positions for the Board of Directors are up for Election this year:

Executive: 1) President (4 year term), 2) Director at Large (4 year term)

Regional Directors (all are 3 year terms): 1) BC/AB/Territories, 2) SK/MB, 3) ON, 4) QC/NB/NS/PEI/NF


Nomination deadline is February 15th and can be emailed to Jennifer Oldfield, Chair of the Nominating Committee.

Please note: A person must be a Professional Member to run for any position.  Regional Directors can only run in their region and must be nominated (or seconded) by a member within the same region.

Descriptions of the positions can be found in the bylaws.

Survey Responses

The Board of Directors would like to thank everyone that participated in the first CARO survey!

Here are the full results, unedited (with the exception of removing email addresses).  
We look forward to what these ideas and suggestions hold for the future!

New Course Design Template

A new template for course design has been uploaded to the site.  Find it here.  The following are the changes that have been made:

1. Fixed up the barrel racing for ALL levels
2. Removed the slide for WPT
3. Added in the new Versatility signs into the list for the legend
4. Moved the Moving Side Step Left symbol into the Versatility Excellent section
5. Added Halt-Side Step Left - Halt symbol into the Versatility section.

As an added note: newer versions of PowerPoint / Windows have restored the more intuitive rotate and move for the symbols.

Clarification - Moving Down Walk Around

Additional cues for the down in the Moving Down exercise are scored the same as for all additional cues.

Page 17
3- 5 point deductions
Remove “ Handler gives 2nd cue in moving down (5 points)”
Page 97
Appendix L
Remove “ 2nd additional cue -5”

Halt Side Step Right Halt Clarification

Clarification to match the information in Appendix J

Page 31 – Exercise #22 – Halt-Side Step Right – Halt

1 to A 2 point deduction shall incur for dogs that do not remain in heel position (parallel to the handler) on the side step.

Effective Immediately - New Judge's Class

Trial hosts may allow the judge to enter a class they are judging.  The course must be judged by a second qualified CARO judge.  Scores earned in the judge's class will not be for placement ribbons or special awards, but count towards titles being earned. Qualifying scores will receive qualifying ribbons. The class may be run before or at the last reset of the class.  The trial host may decide whether judge's classes runs that result in a new title will receive new title ribbons, if they are available.  The trial host will decide the amount to charge the judge to enter this class.


Ownership Restrictions

Effective Immediately: All restrictions regarding ownership of the dog and who may handle the dog in competition have been removed.

Rule Clarification - Barrel Racing in Working Handbook

The following is for immediate implementation in the Working Level handbook:

Barrel Racing (all levels):

Clarification:  For consistency, the dog must sit when returning to the handler after all cones have been circled.  Now all exercises where the dog returns to the handler requires a sit for completion. 


Rule Clarification - Physical Praise in Working Level

The following is for immediate implementation:

Addition:  Upon completion of an exercise, whether successful or not, the owner may choose to briefly pet or touch the dog as a reward.  If the owner touches the dog mid exercise (for example, after the dog completes one cone in Round the Clock), the judge shall  tell the competitor to “move on” to the next attempt at the exercise or to the next exercise after the second attempt, or in Expert.

Physical praise is allowed as the teams move between exercises, for example, in the form of hand targeting.

Touching the dog to put it into a position (Sit, Down, Stand), or guiding the dog between exercises by the collar is considered to be a physical correction and will result in an NQ. This will result in the loss of all Passes already accumulated in the round.

AGM/Sponsored Trials

- In even number years, the AGM be held in conjunction with a CARO sponsored trial.
- In odd number years, the AGM be held only by teleconference (and video conference when possible).  CARO will sponsor 2 trials during the year.

For a CARO sponsored trial:

- a judge's clinic will be held, free to members, judges and potential
- shadow judging will be available, done by the clinician outside of the ring as per the MGH
- clubs may submit requests to the board of directors to host a CARO trial and may request a clinician, but the final word on the clinician / judge working with shadow judges will be up to the discretion of the board
- CARO will attempt to distribute the sponsored trials across the various regions of the country
- CARO will reimburse the host club $4 / run as per standing resolution
- CARO will reimburse travel and hotel costs for the clinician / judge working with shadow judges, including meals (to a maximum of $75 per day)
- CARO will receive any funds from non-members attending the judge's clinic
- CARO will provide a $25/level stipend to the clinician/judge working with the shadow judges, as per the standing motions


Election Results

Thanks very much to Tanya for acting as our election committee and doing a great job of monitoring the election.

An even bigger thanks to both Debby and Judy for letting your names be put forward for the election.  It shows your engagement and commitment to continuing to make CARO a great organization.
The election closed as scheduled and Judy has been elected to the role of vice-president.

New Master General Handbook available!

Thanks to the hard work of the board of directors and other volunteers, a new Master General Handbook is available for all competitors.  Previously announced changes will continue to be in effect, with other changes, particularly in the Versatility levels come into effect April 1, 2018.

The new publication is located:  

New Versatility signs are located:
If you have any questions, please contact

Rule update - effective immediately

Working level will no longer have any pre-requisites.

Team, brace and regular levels may all be entered concurrently, as per #4 in the Eligibility section of the Master General Handbook.
Team and brace no longer require individual titles as a pre-requisite to competition.

Membership information on CARO website

Dear members:
The board was notified earlier this week that member information was incorrectly showing on the CARO website.  This issue was quickly investigated and it was found that the original website programming incorrectly showed all Professional member information regardless of whether the opted in / out of displaying their information when they joined.  We had a fix to this issue within a day of the report and recognize that our member's information needs to be handled sensitively.
We kindly request that all members take a moment to check the website under Professional and Regular member listings, and see if their information is either hidden or shown based on their wishes.  If it is not, please contact for this to be resolved as soon as possible.
We apologize for this issue and understand that it is an important matter.
Thank you,
Sarah-Jane on behalf of

Change to Judging Requirements

Effective immediately the judging requirement for judging Novice, Advanced, and Excellent Team has changed to:

A minimum of 10 teams in a minimum of 2 rounds of any combination of Novice, Advanced and Excellent.

Wording clarifications for Sign 43

Please note the additional clarification within the rule changes to Sign 43:

The team comes to a halt and the dog sits in heel position at the Station sign.

The 5’ line  should be indicated by markers on either side of the path of travel so that it does not interfere with the handler or It may be tape or other markers.

There is currently an upload issue so the publication for Sign 43 in the publications has not been updated to include the 2 items listed. 

Form for Tracking Rally-O Titles

Thank you to Barb Burgess, who created a pdf form to use to track your Q's and titles through all the various levels of CARO Rally-O.  The form can be found here.   Alternatively just click the "Dogs" link at the top of the page to also get to the new form.

Gold & Master Supreme Titles

As per the July motion that was passed by the board: Versatility Excellent C stream qualifying scores now count towards Gold and Master Supreme titles.

If you believe you should have a title based on this new clarification, please contact

Change to Team Titles


It will no longer be required for a handler/dog pair to achieve their individual title before entering the team ring at any level.  The rule still stands that the team rounds may not be entered concurrently.  

For example: a handler/dog pair achieve their Novice Team title, they can now go directly into Advanced Team without first achieving their individual Advanced title.  

A handler/dog pair may not enter both Novice Team and Advanced Team at the same trial in hopes that they will acheive their Novice Team title.  The CNT must be achieved prior to entering Advanced, and so forth.

Change to Sign 43

Halt Call Front While Running:

There are changes to the criteria of Sign 43 that will be EFFECTIVE August 1, 2017.  Please see the document in Publications for details.

FEO Runs

FEO runs are offered at the discretion of the hosting club.  CARO does not collect fees for these runs, and the judge is not required to score the runs.  The club may charge whatever fee they wish.  Clubs may determine the rules for their FEO runs, with the exceptions that: dogs must have a Novice title in order to run off leash in the ring and all dogs must enter and exit the ring on leash and under control.

New Versatility Sign

A new start sign is available for use in Versatilty classes.  The orange start sign will help competitors remember they are starting the course with their dog on the right-hand side.  The sign may be downloaded on the Signs page. Thanks to Anthea Young MIller for the suggestion!

Stand for Exam

Please see this document for the changes to the Stand for Exam.  The rule is effective July 1, 2017

Minor Change to Score Sheets

Please note there has been a minor change to the Score Sheets - the change is to correct the bottom portion where deductions are listed for scoring recues in the various levels.  The new forms are up on the Trial Forms page.


Summary of Rule Changes

There is now a PDF file on the Rules - Publications page.  This file is a summary of the rule changes from 2015.  A new Master Handbook will not be printed for 2016.  

Trial Applications

There are only two ways to apply for a trial date:

Complete the form manually and mail to the Trial Approver with the appropriate payment.
Complete the online application form and submit payment through PayPal.

Any applications received in any other manner will be returned (for example - submitting an application manually and paying separately through PayPal).


Dog Bites

There has been one reported incident of a dog biting a judge. Effective immediately the following rules comes into effect.

The safety of our judges is paramount and to that end, effective immediately, judges have the right to refuse to examine a dog if the judge feels uncomfortable doing the examination.

A new form has been uploaded to the web site which MUST be completed and sent with the trial results to the CARO office whether or not any incident has occured at a trial. Trial secretaries will be advised of the form.

Shadow Judging

Effective immediately the rules for Shadow Judging for the Versatility levels are changed to:

Must shadow judge under an approved CARO judge for four (4) courses from the Versatility and/or Versatility Excellent and/or Versatility Team to a total of 10 dogs.

Change to the Requirements for the Rally Event Ring

The RallyO Event Ring shall be a minimum of approximately  30’ x 50’ (1,500 square feet).

Omitted from the Brace document

One of the dogs in the Brace must be owned by the handler. The other dog can be owned by another person, not necessarily a family member.

Replacement Judges

If a Judge is unable to get to a trial due to inclement weather, sickness or other unavoidable situation and the club is able to obtain the services of another Judge to fill in, then the courses approved for the trial may be used by the replacement Judge.  The replacement judge will sign the score sheets and trial record sheetsQualifying scores will be listed with the originally scheduled and advertised Judge.  The club could also cancel the trial (should they feel that the entrants cannot attend) and apply for another date if they so choose. If the club is unable to procure the services of another Judge they may apply for a date change in which case the 60 day rule for trial date approval would be waived provided that the same Judge is utilized and the same approved courses are used


Changes - Judging of the Brace Class

Page 1

Allotted time for Novice is 5 minutes all other levels have 4 minutes.

Page 2

Twelve inches (12”) extra spacing will be added between cones for the weave once, figure 8 and spiral exercises. Additional space may be added at the judge's discretion. (Brace Class)