Obedience TEAM Rules

Official Rules & Exercise Descriptions for each Level


Check out our FAQ Section

Judging and Scoring

Because TEAM is a video titling organization, judging is handled slightly differently than it may be for many other competition dog sports. The TEAM program also has made deliberate choices to encourage competitors by seeking to be kind to dog-and-handler teams.

Information on Our Judges

Our judges are all individuals who have titled at high levels of competition in their own country, and/or are very familiar with training behaviors using small and measured increases in criteria. Most of our judges are also instructors at Fenzi Dog Sports Academy (FDSA).

Judge selection is anonymous — that is to say, you will not know which judge has reviewed your video. Videos are assigned acccording to workload, but in a random fashion.

Processes and Rules for Judging and Scoring

After submitting your video, it will be randomly assigned to an anonymous judge based on their workload; on average, it will take them 5-7 days before you will receive your results. However, occasionally it may take up to two weeks.

In addition to receiving information on whether you have earned your title, you also will receive feedback on your video. In particular, if an exercise is judged “questionable” or “not yet,” the judge will provide you with helpful comments that you can incorporate into your future video submissions.

Pass/Not Yet on Video Submissions

Each video submission will be rated overall as either “pass” or as “not yet.”

Our program is designed to measure the handler’s ability to achieve excellence in training, not a minimum level of acceptability. All exercises in all levels must be performed correctly and according to criteria, and all exercises must be attempted. One “not yet” on an individual exercise per submission is allowed; two “questionable” exercises are considered equivalent to one “not yet.” (Please see the general FAQs for information regarding dogs and handlers who are differently-abled.) Criteria are stated in the detailed exercise pages for each level.

In Levels 1–3, accurate heeling and pivots and straight sits will be judged as part of the criteria — in other words, behaviors that would be judged as minor deductions in other organizations will be evaluated. For Level 4 and above, the emphasis is on behavior chains.  Here, the same level of precision is not required, and the handlers can decide whether or not to maintain their own personal criteria.

The pre-levels are an exception. The exercises for each pre-level are the same as for the first three levels of TEAM (Ex: Pre-Level 1 is the same as TEAM1, Pre-Level 2 is the same as TEAM2, etc.), but the competitors may attempt as few as six of the exercises and must pass five. Criteria for a pass for each exercise remains the same.

There are no appeals for non-qualifying attempts. Videos are scored carefully using clear criteria for passing/not yet designations.

Pass/Questionable/Not Yet on Individual Exercises

In addition to rating the video as a whole as a “pass” or as a “not yet,” each exercise will also be rated. Individual exercises will be given one of three ratings: “pass,” “questionable,” or “not yet.”

When it comes to criteria, we try to be as black and white as possible, but realistically, that won’t always happen. Was that a 2-foot back up or 1.5 feet? Was that sit within 30 degrees or closer to 45? Did the handler make a minor error that did not affect the exercise? Because we recognize that criteria can be hard to judge, we allow judges to consider an exercise as “questionable.”

Two questionable exercises are considered the same as one not yet. So if you get two questionables and everything else is a clear pass, then you’ll earn your title! If you have three questionables, or a questionable and a not yet, then your video will be judged as a not yet for that title.

Please note that while each level lists some of the most common ways a dog may achieve a “not yet” on a given exercise, there is no way we can specify all of the reasons possible. Focus on performing each exercise as described in the written section and according to the sample video.

When in doubt, don’t make the judge think! If you want to do an exercise differently than the sample video demonstrates, each judge will decide for him or herself if the exercise is correct and meets passing criteria. If you follow the sample video, then you will know that you have performed the exercise correctly according to the spirit intended for that exercise.

The exception is a legitimate reason for being unable to do the exercise as demonstrated in the video. For example, the handler has a specific disability which needs to be accommodated. In that instance, please contact us in advance for an acceptable alternative arrangement.

Information on Multiple Attempts

Please note that while you may attempt a level as many times as you wish until you receive a “pass” and earn your title, you can save yourself some money and all of us some heartbreak by making every effort to only submit passing videos!

You will need to pay for EACH video you submit, so please review criteria for each skill and level carefully BEFORE submitting. Only submit videos that meet criteria so you will earn a passing score! Each video submission is judged; that is what the fee covers. If  you receive a “not yet” on a submission and choose to submit another video, you also will need to submit another entry fee.

While we allow you to attempt each level as many times as you wish, there is only one pass per title. We ask that you do not re-submit a second video for a level you have already passed. This will allow us to ensure we can review as many videos as possible. Once you have passed a level, train for the next level or work toward your Plus or Honors titles!