Absence of Handler

The Ferris Wheel served as the distraction in New Mexico. Fairgrounds in place, complete with Merry Go Round and Ferris Wheel that actually turned.

Absence of Handle

Absence in New Mexico, at the Three Little Pigs Trial. Miss Piggy swayed in the wind...

Absence of Handler

In this photo, you can see the apparition that came out of the sky, not terribly far above the heads of the dogs. They could hear the cymbals, then could see the thing coming.

Absence of Handler

Belgium. WC 2009. This zipline extended across the entire field. Dog was placed on down, near the hay bales used for the obstacle. During the one minute, the person that you see in this photo came flying down the line, clanging cymbals and fluttering with attached streamers.

Absence of Handler

Points: 10

Account of the exercise

The dog will be placed on the ground or on a stable and fixed surface big enough for the dog at a spot indicated by the Judge, in a “down” position for Level I and II. In Level III the position (sit or down) will be determined by a drawing. The Judge may change the position during the competition according to the condition of the field and the weather.
This exercise will last 1 minute, which starts when the handler enters the designated blind. The handler must not look back when he leaves his dog on the way to the blind, nor when entering the blind. During the Absence of the Handler, a distraction occurs, to which the dog must remain indifferent, without moving or changing position. The diversion will depend on the level. It must never take the form of aggression or provocation. Interference from the Decoy is forbidden. The distance from the distraction to the dog shall be at least 10 m in Level I and II and 5 m away from the dog in Level III.

This exercise varies from trial to trial, and judge to judge. Some take advantage of the time allotted to create a ‘scenario’ using club members, field helpers, etc. Others simply set the exercise up and provide a degree of distraction appropriate to the level.

As both judge and handler, I will list a few that I have done or experienced:
All bulleted points assume that dog is placed at designated position and handler has gone into blind:

  • During trial with Alien Theme, multiple aliens were dissected at the ‘morgue’ by loud and jolly undertakers.
  • During trial with theme of Garage Sale, two club members with exceptional acting skills set up a Gucchi Purse Store.
  • During a Spring Cleaning trial, more club members conducted a loud and engaging garage sale replete with fights over various items.
  • A pair of club members, guys, danced around the 5 meter perimeter with a dummy doll. I remember this one, as my dog was on his toenails and guys were trying to decide which one was getting thrown in front of the other when my dog broke his absence. (he didn’t)
  • During a trial with a Western theme, a line of ladies were set up to do a raunchy (well, not really) dance at the dance hall.


Dog changes position during the 1 min. absence. -10
Dog changes positions when handler is going to the blind. -10
Handler looks back towards the dog while he walks to or enters the blind. -10
Dog moves without changing position (penalty per meter). -1
Dog changes position when the handler returns. -2
Handler shows himself during the exercise. -10
Any irregular or disallowed command. -10