AKC Retriever Hunting Test Advisory Committee (RHTAC) Report
Presented by President Jack D. Combs at the MNRC Annual Event
October 18, 2019 DeLoach Center at Coker College
Hartsville, South Carolina
Mr. Bill Teague has served as chair of this Committee for almost nine years. Unfortunately his health issues have reduced the number of times he could train, run his dog and judge, he felt he should resign. Bill has shown his love of the sport over nearly 20 years. He has given his time and energy as a judge at weekend tests as well as the Master National. He has served on the Board of the MNRC and as President. He is in every way a Champion and ambassador of our sport and I hope each of you will keep him in your thoughts and prayers. The next time you see Bill please take the time to thank him.
On behalf of this committee, I express our thanks to MNRC and American Kennel Club for the opportunity to make this report. There are copies of the charge, responsibility and authority for the committee, its membership and this report available for you here today at the “Check In” table and we encourage you to communicate your ideas on how to improve the retriever hunting test program to any member of the committee. It is not designed to be a ‘gripe’ session but rather tries to look at the overall benefits of any potential change to the entire program. The committee has operated mostly by e-mail and conference calls this year and has received an abundance of submissions. I know this info is “old hat” to some of you but it is included here for new participants in the sport that might be here for the first time.
At this time, I’m honored to introduce the committee members who are listed on the roster distributed here today. I’m asking each of those in attendance to stand. (Introduce each as listed on the May 14, 2019 Roster)
You’ll note this committee is annually appointed by the AKC’s Executive Vice President for Sports & Events, Mr. Doug Ljungren in consultation with AKC
Field Director, Retrievers Sporting Group, Mr. Russ Reavis. The AKC has also appointed additional field representatives: Jerry Mann, Joe Reinhardt, Kevin Bunnell, Trish Jagoda, and Greg Lister, so the good news is that we’ll be seeing more AKC reps in the field at our events. We applaud these appointments and welcome each of our friends from the AKC.
The committee will address submissions by any individual involved in the retriever hunting test program, any club that holds licensed AKC events or from the AKC. We’ve tried to keep everyone who submitted items up to speed on the results of their submissions, but if you’ve submitted something and haven’t heard from the committee, please accept our apology and let us know; your submission will be addressed and you will get a response. Only written submissions to the committee are accepted to reduce the chance of misinterpretations.
The submissions are discussed in detail and a committee decision is reached. The decision may be by ‘consensus’ (all five agree) or by ‘majority’ (4-1, or 3-2 vote). Once the committee has agreed on a recommendation, it is sent to AKC. AKC can accept, reject, or modify the recommendations. Additionally, the AKC can implement changes in the regulations and guidelines without consulting the committee. The committee has operated openly and sincerely appreciated each submission.
Since this committee has served under two Chairs this year, this report is divided into two segments; those submissions before May 14, 2019 & those submitted after that date.
I know our time on the program is limited, so if you have questions, any member of the committee will be happy to discuss them with you later.
Since our report last year, the Committee has reviewed multiple submissions and recommended only one change in the Regulations.
NOTE: It is expected the regulations will be used in good faith, good sportsmanship, with the intent of the regulation fulfilled and not abused or used as not intended.
Since the last report and prior to May 14, 2019, the committee has reviewed or is reviewing many issues submitted that requested the regulations be reviewed and/or revised. Samplings of issues include:
- Difficulty in entering master tests (Committee concurs with issue & AKC & Committee are working on it; see proposed changes below)
- No talking to honor dog at Master (Committee has recommended regulations be changed to implement this, awaiting AKC decision)
- AKC develop a ‘new regulations’ area on their website allowing judges and participants to see all ‘new regulations’
- Clarify the AKC Event Entry Service Fee regulation
- Review the ‘15’ minute regulation for a dog that does not ‘show’ at a hunting test (Committee has made no recommendations to change regulations)
- Allow one set of judges to judge both a senior test on one day and another senior test on the 2nd day (Committee agreed some change should be made & AKC sent new Regs to clubs October 9, 2018 allowing one judge to judge both)
- Find a way to allow dogs on EE’s ‘wait list’ to be entered into the test if vacancies occur after the test closes (Committee concurs w/the suggestion & AKC is working on it)
- Establish an AKC Forum on the website where participants can get responses from AKC reps
- Review eligibility requirements to become a judge, specifically seminars & tests (Committee concurs it should be easier & AKC is working on it)
- Concern over excessive passing rates & quality of judging on master dogs at hunting tests (Committee concurs & is working on it as is AKC; new addition of Field Reps will really help)
- Find a way for Amateur handlers to enter master tests easier (relates to first item)
- Increase worker’s codes (Committee has made no recommendations to change regulations)
- After Event Assessment program (Committee has made no recommendation)
- Peer review program designed to improve judging (Committee has made no recommendations to change regulations; felt w/new reps the goal could be accomplished)
Since May 14, 2019, the committee is/has reviewed several submissions. A sample of them is:
- Increase the entry limit for 2 day Master Hunter tests from 60 to 66, and a 3 day test from 90 to 100. (Committee has recommended the adoption of this change.)
- Elimination of the EE $25 scratch fee prior closing. (Committee has recommended the adoption of this change.)
- An individual that handles more than 12 dogs in a hunting test (all testing levels combined) is asked to bring an assistant to the event. (Committee has recommended the adoption of this change.)
- Online entry services shall implement security provisions (i.e. human verification) during the online entry process to prevent the use of computer programs to enter a test. (Committee has recommended the adoption of this change.)
- In order that all participants have a reasonably equal opportunity to enter a MH test prior to the test reaching its limit, the online entry services shall limit entries to three per online transaction. After three entries, the online entry system shall require the user to logout and log back in to enter additional dogs. (Committee has recommended the adoption of this change.)
- Change handlers with more than three dogs in a Master test a higher entry fee. (Committee will not recommended this suggestion to the AKC.)
Please note that with the exceptions noted above, these are samples of issues submitted to the committee, so please don’t leave here saying they are new regulations. Each is being reviewed and is being discussed but no decisions have been made on them!
I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to each of my colleagues on the committee. They have diligently addressed each submission with the goal of improving the retriever hunting test program, and I’m honored to serve with them.
I would like to thank each of the submitters for their interest in improving the retriever hunting test program; the vast majority were well thought out and presented well. We also express our deep appreciation to Doug Ljungren, Russ Reavis and Caroline Murphy at AKC for their superb collaboration on difficult challenges. Without exception, each has been open minded, progressive in their thoughts and strongly supportive of changes that will improve the program.
The AKC notifies the Club ‘secretary of record’ of AKC decisions on new/revised regulations via e-mail. Please insure your club’s records are updated with the AKC. Please insure the AKC has current contact info on your club secretary. The committee reminds you that any regulation change implemented will be carefully monitored and, if deemed appropriate, additional recommendations will be made.
Thank you again for listening and we wish you and your dog the very best in the week ahead.
Members of the RHTAC:
Keith Maready, Eastern Time Zone
Carol Hynes, Central Time Zone
Dave Coffey, Mountain Time Zone
Patricia “Patty” Polish, Pacific Time Zone
Bill Teague, Chairman, Texas (to May 14, 2019)
Jack Combs, Chair, Florida (May 14, 2019 forward)
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the RHTAC by Bill Teague