Ring Etiquette

The Club that is hosting the trial is run completely by volunteers, the trial secretary, the trial manager, the crew in the canteen, the ring stewards, lead stewards and scribes. Like you they do this for the love of dogs and can only do what they can from the information they are given.

Over time we hope to have video of ring etiquette but in the mean time we will try and explain as best we can. Hopefully when you go to a trial you will get a chance to watch other competitors before your turn comes up. If you can why not come and watch a trial or volunteer as a steward before you start competing, it will give you a great idea of what is what with out the stress of running too.


A Ring Steward will assemble and call for the next 2 or 3 dogs on the running order (in the Catalog you picked up at vetting), they will most likely not know who you are and will simply call out numbers. Therefore you need to know which ring you are in and how far down the list you are. When your number is called acknowledge the Ring Steward they will no doubt tell you how many dogs are in front of you. 

You may want to play with your dog prior to the run do so without getting in any ones space, there may not be a great deal of room. If you are treating your dog make sure that you leave your treat bag and any food away from the ring before you enter. No food or toys allowed in the ring.  

Timing, if you are running in an Agility ring and the judge has given you a course time of 60 secs and you know that your dog is the 15th dog in the running order then you can estimate that you need to be near the ring 10 minutes after the start of the class. Remember some dogs will do it in half the time, others will do it in twice the time, young dogs play games of zoomie and need to be caught. So keep an eye on the ring but try not to go too early, it will only bore you and your dog unless you want to watch how others are handling the course. Jumping times will be less and these rings progress faster than Agility RIngs.

Entering the ring: 

When your turns comes the Ring Steward will ask you to move into the ring, they will announce your number to the scribes. The Lead Steward will accompany you and stand back from you waiting for the judge to tell you to remove your lead and to hand it to the steward. Alternatively some judges will request that competitors are ready waiting in the ring while the previous competitors completes the final obstacles therefore: you will be at the start line in the ring and if possible with the dog's lead etc removed and handed to the steward.  If you keep your dog's collar on, you must ensure that it has no tags on it and is not a check or half check ie it is a smooth collar with no attachments. 

Commencing your run: 

The Judge will ask if you are ready - this means that you are ready to start and as such that you are not touching your dog. If you are not ready then say so - do not be rushed. When you are ready indicate to the judge that you are - this can be done verbally or by indicating with a hand up in the air.


You may then proceed to pass the start line, for your lead out or to start running with your dog.


You may want to return to your dog because they have stood up from a sit wait or they have wandered off. It is your choice but if you go back over the start line it's a DQ. You can however give your dog a command to sit or stay from the position you are in without incurring a DQ.  

If you are DQed you can still run the course it will be good practice.

Running the course:

When running the course you can give your dog any command that you wish. However harsh handling will not be accepted and you may be asked to leave the ring and you may be reported to the Club, this could result in a 6 month ban from all Competitions. Harsh handling can be anything from shouting at your dog, calling them an unsporting name, grabbing them or physically harming them. But you will not be doing anything like that. 

When you have finished your run the judge will tell you/scribes the results i.e 'Clear round, no course faults no time faults, congratulations' or Clear Round, no course faults, please check with the scribes for the time' This will happen when automatic timing gates are used. If the scribes say 'in time' then the judge will congratulate you on a Qualification. All this may also be signalled by the judge through the use of sign language the judge will make a circle by connecting their thumbs and index fingers together. 

If you have had some faults on the course the judge will say 'course finished with (the number of faults)' If you complete the course with no course faults but over time the judge will say, 'course finished, no course faults but (the number of time faults) .

You must have your dog under control at the end of the course and put their collar and lead back on before you leave the ring, failure to do so can mean a Disqualification and after all that hard work it would be a shame to miss out.  

Once out of the ring celebrate with your dog, give them their reward, Make sure they have access to water and enjoy the moment.  


At the conclusion of the trial, the club will hold presentations, usually at the club house. Anybody can attend presentations and it is often a nice time to congratulate your fellow competitors on their achievements, even if you did not qualify yourself. If you achieved a qualification you will receive a card to acknowledge this at presentations. It is important that you keep this card as you will need it in the future. 

Contact Details

State Agility Committee
Gold Coast, QLD, Australia
Email : [email protected]