Upcoming Trial Rule Changes

Bob Dorn and Sara took first place in the Nov. 1, 2014 Gun Dog Stakes

Bob Dorn and Sara took first place in the Nov. 1, 2014 Gun Dog Stakes

Wow, it’s been a long time since the inception of the TBDA trial rules by Dennis Drullinger. They have served us well, but so many things have changed and what we found over the last year or so is that many of the rules we currently enforce are not written down anywhere. Unspoken rules were leading to muddy interpretations and new members who often felt intimidated or confused by judgements in the trials.

So, with clarity in mind, the board has spent the last month going over the rules with a fine-toothed comb. We updated a few things here and there, defined some very important things and wrote down a lot of rules that only existed in folklore but were regularly enforced. For instance, the Puppy Trial rules were never written down! We also changed some rules that will simplify judging, like the rule about scored on birds. There was also a healthy updating of the safety rules.

Here are a few of the changes:


1. The unwritten rule about being in front of the dog when the bird is flushed has been replaced with a rule that basically says the handler must flush the bird and the dog must remain steady until the bird is flushed.

2. GPS tracking units without e-collar capability are now allowed in trials, receivers will be held by judges and only used to locate a lost (and disqualified) dog.

3. After a back has been established, the backing dog will be collared and moved to another location to continue the brace. You need not wait until the pointing dog has finished working his bird.

4. Scored on birds that are not shot and retrieved are now treated the same as any other bird. After three minutes, they are fair game if they are in bounds.

5. Anyone, not just the disabled, may use a dedicated gunner instead of shooting for themselves. There are plenty of other changes and updates too, but nothing earth shattering.

You can read the new proposed rules in full here: TBDA Field Trial Rules.  And you can find the original rules here for comparison. I really hope you’ll take a minute to read them over.

We feel like this update in rules stays within the original spirit of the rules while clarifying some issues. We hope you agree. The adoption of the rules will be voted on at the next meeting on Jan 27th and will be in force for the beginning of the 2015 trial season.


Shane Bevel

TBDA President



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