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Tripawds Can Compete in Virtual AKC Obedience

Have you heard the news? Tripawds can compete virtually (online) in AKC obedience games now! And it’s all because of one woman’s determination to make that happen.

Tripawds Can Compete in AKC
Tripawd Ari leads the way for amputee dogs!

Are Tripawds Too Weak to Compete?

Change often happens slowly, but not this time. It started in mid-2020. Carolyn Baynes and Ari were on a mission to reverse American Kennel Club (AKC) rules that banned Tripawds from competing in Obedience games. When we inquired with the AKC about why this rule existed, Diane Schultz, American Kennel Club Sr. Executive Field Representative in Obedience & Rally, explained:

Can you explain which AKC events prevent Tripawds from competing, and why?

To be clear, AKCโ€™s rules, regulations and policies have not zeroed in on amputee dogs. The primary focus has always been about the safety and welfare of the dogs.

AKC has a long standing policy that a dog which is lame may not compete in events. Lame is defined as irregularity or impairment of the function of locomotion, irrespective of the cause or how slight or severe it is. Lameness was considered a sign of pain.

As we know, it hasnโ€™t been until recent years that veterinarians suggested amputation of limbs. I think it is important to understand the history of the overall concept as we move forward. — Diane Schultz, AKC representative 

If you think that trying to get a rule changed in a giant organization like the AKC is impossible, you haven’t met Carolyn. 

Now, Tripawds Can Compete in AKC Obedience (Virtually)

Take a few minutes to catch this 100th episode of Tripawd Talk Radio. You’ll learn about how the AKC ruling was changed when we share the story of how a determined Florida Tripawd mom conducted a successful campaign to allow amputee dogs to compete in virtual (recorded at-home) AKC events.

Tripawds can compete in AKC Rally and Obedience
Ari earns AKC Canine Good Citizen Title at 6mos.

Join us on Tripawd Talk Radio with Ari’s mom Carolyn, along with Diane Schultz, American Kennel Club Sr. Executive Field Representative, Obedience & Rally. 

As a result of Carolyn’s efforts, Tripawds can show the AKC community that they are capable and strong. When the pandemic is over, it’s possible Tripawds may be able to compete in person too. 

And according to Diane Schultz, Tripawds can also compete in Scentwork and Tracking at this time.

“Beginning March 1 we will begin offering Virtual Obedience which will include Virtual Beginner Novice and Virtual Novice and tripawds may participate in those classes.” — Diane Schultz, AKC representative

More Recommended Reading

Meet Maggie the Agile Cow Dog, the first Tripawds member who introduced us to rally and obedience games, and the namesake of the Maggie Moo Fund for Tripawd Rehab.

Sharing is Caring!

10 thoughts on “Tripawds Can Compete in Virtual AKC Obedience”

  1. Hi Mary! Such good news that Coda is kicking serious butt!! lol!!! AKC is dragging their heels for some reason with Rally & Obedience! They have just a few months ago allowed 3 legged dogs to compete in AGILITY with no restrictions..leaving it literally up to the owner to decide if their dog is fit and competent enough to compete with NO RESTRICTIONS! However, still only Virtual Obedience Novice. I have been at this for 3 years and there has been many tripod owners wanting to compete in Rally/Obedience. Please contact Mari-Beth O’Neill Sr VP of Sport Services, 919 816 3789 and/or and ask her why she lifted Agility restrictions in a matter of 24 hours and will still not allow Rally/Obedience! None of this makes any sense…even Agility Judges are confounded about it and Rally Judges are furious!

    • Ari is training in Advanced/Excellent Level in Rally and could easily Title in both! We are ready to go when they so go, if ever! I finally bought a set of World Cynosport Rally Cards and are going to start working with those cards and find a few trials. World Cynosport as well as C-WAGS welcomes tripawds. It just so happens that I have quite a few clubs within 45 min who sponsor AKC Rally/Obedience. But still working on AKC!! The more folks contact them the better!!! If you need any more info, please contact me…..I’d be happy to assist!!

  2. I want to sincerely thank the individual efforts to get this going. We are now 4 years into a rear amputation and Coda has shown me time and time again that this is possible. Her gait is “different” but with swim therapy, and careful repetitive approach she can out do my other dogs. I’m reading the info here as Novice, and Virtual only. Will Open and Utility be available down the line, and in-person competition> Does one jump at “preferred height” or normal height. Is any of this written up in the rule books as I am not finding it. Thank you so much for this step forward.

    • Mary, keep an eye on Tripawds news this week, we are publishing an update to this story. I’m going to let Carolyn know you commented here. Stay tuned and thanks for all you do to give Coda a great life!

  3. Just a heads up, tripods are only allowed to compete virtually in obedience. We are not allowed to compete in person. I just got an email back from the AKC Sr Events Coordinator.. ๐Ÿ™ I just asked if virtual shows count towards titles and if tripods would be allowed to title.

  4. thank you michelle! Ari is a true inspiration to all 3 legged and 4 legged dogs and human with challenges as well! Never did I imagine the path this little pup would lead me down as she healed!!! Our most rewarding is our Therapy Dog work! The smiles when they see Ari smiling, as she hops over to them and shares her love is incredible!

  5. Being a dogmom of a tri-pod (rear leg amputated November 9th, 2020) that wants nothing more than to “work”, this is fantastic news!! I am just starting the process, but I seriously want to change the AKC eligibility requirements for FAST CAT….our Wrigley LOVES to run. If anyone can give me pointers on how to get started, please reach out!


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