(AKC) Section 2. Standard of Perfection. The judge must carry a mental picture of the theoretically perfect performance for each exercise and score each dog and handler against this standard. This “perfect picture” must comply with these regulations and shall combine the utmost in willingness, enjoyment and precision on the part of the dog with naturalness, gentleness and smoothness on the part of the handler. Speed
alone does not necessarily indicate willingness and enjoyment. Lack of
willingness and enjoyment on the part of the dog must be penalized, as
must lack of precision in the dog’s performance. Roughness in handling,
military precision or harsh commands by the handler must also be penalized.
There shall be no penalty of less than one-half point.
Hmmm, maybe the CKC wording in particular has been revised. I believe it used to state something like .. "the judge shall give preference to a happy working dog, over a more precise working dog", or something to that effect. Same meaning I suppose, regardless. I also see that the AKC regs are somewhat open to interpretation re: the balance of elements.(CKC) 8.4.3 - The judge must look for the following in testing each dog and score accordingly:
(a) Enjoyment and willingness should be taken into consideration over a better worker that shows fear and a dislike of working.
In either case, I'm not saying that positive-only methods are the be-all end-all ticket to a steady string of HIT's, nor am I saying that all dogs who've been corrected will display unwillingness. But if this regulation might have the tendency to give the positive-only competitor a distinct advantage in the eyes of an observant judge .... well then, IMO it's probably worth the extra effort to remove anything from the training regimen that may cause a dog to display a perceivable amount of fear or 'unwillingness' in the ring.
Thoughts on this, anyone ?