Judging heelwork to music

Lady stands up with arms making a circle while dog jumps through arms
Yulia Titovets © / The Kennel Club

Judges at The Kennel Club's licensed heelwork to music competitions are expected to maintain and abide by the highest standards.

Heelwork to music judges must adhere to The Kennel Club's Heelwork to Music (L) Regulations and the Judges' Code of Best Practice, which can be found in the helpful Guide for Heelwork to Music Judges.

There must be a minimum of two and a maximum of three judges for each class, one of whom is appointed as lead (head) judge.

Becoming a heelwork to music judge

Judges are invited by the society which is staging a heelwork to music competition (it is not acceptable for judges to solicit for appointments). Before inviting a judge, the society must be satisfied that the judge is suitably qualified, and before accepting an appointment judges should ensure they meet the minimum criteria:

  • Judges should have qualified a dog out of starters class in either heelwork to music or freestyle classes
  • They should have a minimum of two years' experience competing in standard classes at a minimum of six heelwork to music competitions licensed by The Kennel Club
  • They must demonstrate a good knowledge of the discipline and a thorough understanding of the rules of the discipline
  • They must have attended one of The Kennel Club's heelwork to music regulations and judging procedure seminars and passed the regulations and judging procedure examination. All judges must have attended a regulations and judging procedure seminar every four years since passing the regulations and judging procedure examination, however taking the exam again is not required
  • Wherever possible, all judges for a class should have competed at the level of that class
  • Any judge's first three appointments for competitions must be restricted to starters and novice
  • From 1 January 2022, all judges will be required to have attended a regulations and judging procedure seminar, and must have passed the examination, every five years since passing the regulations and judging procedure examination
Heelwork to music seminars and accredited trainers
Judging seminars are most usually hosted by registered clubs and societies, but any individual or group is welcome to organise and host a seminar. The seminar content must be presented by an officially appointed Kennel Club accredited trainer.

Societies, individuals or groups organising a seminar should contact one of the accredited trainers to invite them to conduct the seminar and arrange a suitable venue. Details of upcoming heelwork to music regulations and judging procedure seminars can be found in the seminar diary, or you can contact an accredited trainer for further information.
First appointments

Once you are ready to judge and meet the criteria outlined above, you can then take on your first appointment. 

All judging appointments at The Kennel Club's licensed heelwork to music competitions must be underpinned by a contract between the society and the judge. Forming a contract requires three stages:

  • The society must invite the judge in writing, including the wording required in the heelwork to music regulations, and request a written acceptance
  • The judge should return a written acceptance of the judging appointment
  • The society should then confirm the judging appointment, again in writing

Three-part contracts should always be in place, even for emergency replacement judges. In the event of a judge or society being in breach of their contract, and unable to provide a satisfactory explanation of the breach, the board of The Kennel Club may impose a fine.

Progressing as a heelwork to music judge

Judges appointed to judge advanced classes in heelwork to music or freestyle must meet more stringent criteria:

  • Judges must demonstrate a good knowledge of the discipline and a thorough understanding of Kennel Club Heelwork to Music (L) Regulations
  • They must have a minimum of two years' experience of competing at Kennel Club licensed heelwork to music competitions
  • They must have a minimum of one year's experience of judging at Kennel Club licensed heelwork to music competitions
  • They must have judged a minimum of 15 licensed heelwork to music/freestyle classes
  • They must have judged a minimum of five classes at intermediate level in either category

Heelwork to music handlers may judge freestyle classes at the level they are approved to judge and vice versa.

Additional resources

There are a number of resources which you can purchase to help assist you with your judging. 

Find all the publications you need in our online shop:

Other useful resources which are free and you can take a look at are: