Changes to Heelwork to Music regulations 2024

The Kennel Club has approved the following changes to the regulations for heelwork to music.

The below regulation has been created to provide guidance to the heelwork to music community and to emphasize that training rounds would be at the discretion of the judges. It was intended to detail what was acceptable during a training round.

New Regulation L13 


New Regulation L13 Practice rounds.

Practice rounds are permitted at the judges’ discretion and the judges’ decision is final, provided their main purpose is to aid the dog’s or handler’s confidence and their experience of the working ring, and subject to the following:

  1. Where practice rounds are allowed, they must be available for all competitors in that class and must comply with the division entered.
  2. The time taken must not exceed the duration for routines at the relevant level.
  3. The use of toys which emit any noise, and the use of food are not permitted.
  4. The usual rules and etiquette for those who compete must be followed except that the handler may use as many cues as necessary to aid the dog, and may touch the dog in a non-harmful and nonintimidating manner.
  5. Excessive exuberance from the handler or dog will not be permitted if the judge considers that it could interfere with the chances of winning of other dogs and handlers.

(Insertion in bold)

(Effective 1 January 2024)

The below regulation has been amended to ensure judges are reminded that they must be up to date with the relevant regulations at the date of the appointment.

Amendment to Regulation L18.b.


‘In accepting this invitation you agree to be bound by Kennel Club Rules and Regulations and the Kennel Club Code of Best Practice for Judges, and confirm that you are qualified to judge in accordance with Heelwork to Music Regulation L16. In addition, you will familiarise yourself with the Kennel Club L Regulations which are current at the date of the judging appointment. In doing so you also recognise that you are obliged to notify us in writing of any change in personal circumstances which will may affect your ability to fulfil this judging appointment. You should note that we reserve the right to cancel the contract before the date of the appointment if there is such a change in your circumstances, which in our reasonable opinion would adversely affect your ability to fulfil the appointment. Clubs may cancel a judging appointment where there is clear evidence that the judge's ability to fulfil the appointment has been adversely affected, or in consultation with the judge.’

(Insertions in bold. Deletion struck through)

(Effective 1 January 2024)

The following wording has been added to the ‘Penalties’ regulation to allow for The Kennel Club to address unacceptable behaviour at Kennel Club licensed events and on social media (in the context of licensed events). Further information can be found in the November 2023 issue of The Kennel Club Journal.

Amendment to Regulation L30 


For complaints of conduct whether at a licensed event or on social media, in addition to a warning issued - a short term fixed period of refusal of entry/attendance at Kennel Club licensed events may also be imposed in accordance with procedures to be published from time to time to implement this regulation.

(Insertion in bold.)

(Effective 1 November 2023)