Working trials secretary information

Dog laying down in the field with owner looking at dog
Barrie James © / The Kennel Club

Working trials are licensed by The Kennel Club and run by registered clubs and societies.

Before running a championship working trial, at which Working Trial Certificates ('tickets') are given out, the society must have applied to and been approved by The Kennel Club for championship status.

Register as a working trials club

How to run your event

How to run a working trial

Societies setting up and running trials need to address a number of main tasks:

  • Working trials managers guidance
  • Nominate a working trial manager and deputy
  • Decide on a date, a venue and the stakes to be run. Most societies run their trials in the same week in each year. To avoid date clashes, a list of trials can be obtained by emailing our society and show services team, or by phoning 01296 318540 (ext. 207)
  • Provisionally book the intended trials base and seek outline permission from landowners for the land intended to be used
How do I apply for a licence?
  • Obtain a licence: first apply in writing on headed paper or by applying online in the club profile (i.e. 18 months in advance of the trial date in question)
  • Once the date has been checked and agreed, a licence application will be issued to the club, which must be returned with the fee no later than 60 days before the date of the trial
  • Confirm the land to be used with the landowners as far as possible
  • Timetable the nosework and the control and agility rounds for each stake
  • The licence must be displayed at the trial
How do I select a judge?

You will need to identify suitably qualified and experienced judges for each stake.

Championship trials

  • Nomination forms must be with The Kennel Club nine months prior to the date of the working trial
  • All first time appointments must be applied for 18 months prior to the date of the trial
  • For first time championship TD and PD appointments, nominations should be sent to The Kennel Club, and should be accompanied by a completed judges' questionnaire

Open trials

  • The Kennel Club does not need to approve open level judging appointments. However, the trial committee must be satisfied that the person is qualified in accordance with The Kennel Club (I) Regulations
  • Judges should be invited in writing, and asked to accept in writing. The club should then confirm the appointment in writing to form a three-part contract, except in championship PD and TD stakes where The Kennel Club's approval must be obtained first
How do I get approval of championship TD and PD judges?

Societies are required to obtain Kennel Club approval for all championship working trial judges for TD and PD stakes. Societies must submit their nominations to The Kennel Club at least nine months before the appointment (but at least 18 months ahead in the case of first-time championship judges) using the official working trials nomination form.

Nominations of 'first time' judges (who have not previously been approved to judge that stake at a championship trial) must be accompanied by a completed questionnaire for proposed championship working trial judges. First-time working trials judges will be assessed at a judging appointment before being considered for approval by the board.

Please note: although the deadline for nominations of first-time judges is 18 months, it is in the interests of the society and the judge to submit nominations, with the judge's completed questionnaire, as far ahead as possible. This allows time for the assessment to take place and the nomination to be considered and approved well before the date of the trial.

How do I prepare my schedule?

Prepare and distribute a schedule, using the appropriate championship or open trial specimen schedule as a basis. 

What should I do for health and safety?
What should I do before the trial?
  • Prepare a catalogue for the trial including details of the trial manager, trial base details and directions, details of competitors and their dogs, and judges for each stake
  • Conduct a draw for the order of working tracks, and notify all competitors by post of the draw and their report times
What should I do during the trial?

Ensure copies of the regulations, all entry forms, catalogues, the competition licence, insurance certificate, awards, equipment and an incident book are with you at the trial.

What do I do after the trial?

Within seven days of the end of the trial, send to The Kennel Club:

  • a fully completed copy of the catalogue, with all awards marked (for championship trials)
  • the judge's certification

Within two weeks, report to The Kennel Club if there were any incidents requiring a report, for example biting/aggression incidents, formal objections/complaints, changes of judging arrangements, cancellation or abandonment. Read more about incidents at events.

What should I do if I have to cancel/postpone my event?

It is important that the society and show services department is informed of a cancellation in writing by completing the cancellation of shows form as soon as this decision is made, giving the reason for the cancellation. It should not be assumed that because the licence application form is not returned to The Kennel Club by the due date, that the trial will be removed from the show diary. 

If the cancellation is notified far enough in advance, this could free up a date for use by other clubs and societies, and in other instances it will prevent the office assuming the event is going ahead and therefore sending out unnecessary reminder letters for schedules and/or catalogues. 

Read further information about cancellation of events.

What should I do for insurance?

Society committees must ensure that they have adequate cover for all the society's activities. The Kennel Club Insurance cover is specifically designed for canine clubs or societies, including public and products liability and directors' and officers' liability insurance at a competitive price.

What administration should I do before the show?

Societies are required to consider government advice, including DEFRA, in place at the time when planning an event. It is also worth noting that often advice is different for different parts of the United Kingdom and this needs to be taken into account when planning the event both in relation to the venue and expected participants.

Do I need insurance cover?

One of the main concerns for societies is whether there will be adequate insurance cover. Kennel Club show regulations stipulate that insurance is required – otherwise the show licence is invalid. It is always best to check with the society’s own insurance provider in terms of the amount of and heads of cover. We have partnered with Pet Business Insurance (PBI) to provide specifically designed insurance cover for canine clubs or societies, including public and products liability insurance at a competitive price. It is unlikely that any Covid-19-specific insurance will be available but general public liability will be available.

You can contact them on 01284 736874 or visit their website.

A society should make best efforts to ensure that the venue/ground is Covid-19 safe, in line with government advice available at the time (including risk assessments). This will then help in demonstrating that the society has discharged its duty of care to participants and visitors. It is not possible to guarantee a no Covid-19 risk scenario, and there will be an element of assumption of risk by the participant/visitor. The society’s job is to minimise that risk. As always in the context of health and safety, there should be clearly documented instructions and role descriptions defining the clear delegation of responsibilities for the range of health and safety issues at the event.

A statement must be included in all schedules to state that if an exhibitor, or anyone in their household, has Covid-19-related symptoms or has tested positive for Covid-19, they must not attend the event.


Working trials specimen schedules

The working trials regulations specify that trials must issue a schedule which conforms to the current specimen schedule issued by The Kennel Club. These are regularly updated to take account of changes to the regulations or policy, and trials managers are advised to download the most recent version of the specimen schedule before preparing any schedules.

General data protection regulation (GDPR)
Schedule of events

It is not necessary for any activity to schedule a full range of classes and therefore societies should consider carefully which classes/stakes to schedule to ensure the event is of a manageable size, taking into consideration any additional health and safety requirements. A statement must be included in all schedules to state that if a competitor, or anyone in their household, has Covid-19-related symptoms or has tested positive for Covid-19, they must not attend the event.

Officials' meals
Hospitality and catering arrangements for judges, officials and stewards should be reviewed in line with relevant Covid-19 and food safety guidelines. If meals are being served, appropriate PPE should be worn by those serving.

If a judge has been contracted for a future show/event and is no longer willing to officiate due to concerns relating to Covid-19, their age or health, the contract should be cancelled and a new judge appointed. It must be acknowledged that everyone’s circumstances are different and therefore The Kennel Club will not take any action against a judge not fulfilling their appointment in these circumstances.

Incidents at events

Anything that occurs at an event that is ‘out of the ordinary’ should be considered an incident and logged in the incident book even if those involved do not wish to take any action. Read more about incidents at events.

Risk assessment

Every society must undertake its own individual risk assessment for every event.

Any particular measures or conditions that competitors need to be aware of prior to the event must be included within the schedule.


Written guidance should be sought from the venue hirer regarding any special measures the show committee must undertake during their hiring period.

Veterinary cover

For those events that do not have on-site veterinary cover, liaison must be undertaken with the on-call veterinary practice to ensure it is able to provide the required cover.

Running a judging seminar

Clubs and societies are encourage to run seminars on working trial regulations and judging procedure seminar. Below is a checklist of what to do.

Checklist of things to do to run a seminar
  • 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 trainers
  • 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. They can then advertise the seminar to attract sufficient attendees. The organisers charge attendees reasonable fees at their discretion and should arrange for payment of the accredited trainer's expenses with the trainer. Trainers will usually bring relevant literature (such as regulation books, judges' guides and judges' record books) to the seminar for purchase by the candidates - in some cases the cost may be included in the seminar fee
  • Anyone who is holding a working-trial-related seminar this year is invited to email the details to The Kennel Club's governance and education team so that the seminar can be listed on this page
Working trial accredited trainers and presenters
Name and email address Area Phone number
Mr Barry Gilbert

Goxhill, Lincs

01469 531301

Allyson Elizabeth Tohme

Calne, Wiltshire


John Wykes

Rugby, Northampton


Les Theobald

Colchester, Essex


Len Newman

Butlers Cross, Aylesbury