KC clarifies HTM moves

Created: 22/08/2012

THE KENNEL Club says it does not have a list of banned heelwork to music (HTM) moves and that the ‘fun and safe’ routines used by Ashleigh Butler and Pudsey make the pair great ambassadors for the sport.

  The KC made this clear on Monday after national newspapers described several HTM moves which, they said, were causing the KC concern, and suggested they had been inspired by Ashlegh and Pudsey’s triumph on Britain’s Got Talent.

  Watching the pair has inspired the nation, it seems, as the popularity of heelwork to music rose 20 per cent in the wake of their success.

  Ashleigh responded to the debate this week, sayng: "I’m pleased the KC has reasserted how important training is for the good of dogs. As our experience shows, you have to work extremely hard as a dog owner to make sure the dog enjoys the performances.

  "The dog’s safety and happiness is paramount.”

  Last week the KC had announced that it was banning ‘extreme or unnatural’ heelwork to music moves which carry a risk of injury to dogs after concern was expressed by competitors. And following a proposal by the HTM working party, the KC approved amendments to the regulations clarifying rules relating to activities in routines which could cause injuries.

  These will take effect in January.

  The KC is reminding exhibitors that the existing regulations require competitors to safeguard their dog’s health and, therefore, has advised them ‘to observe the spirit of the new regulation with immediate effect’. It said it wanted to make things clear in order to prevent newcomers to the sport practising moves which were too advanced for them.

  "There is no list of banned moves, as the safety of a move depends entirely on the skill of the owner and the dog involved,” said spokesman Caroline Kisko. "The decision about how safe a move is rests with the judge at KC events, who is given training and who will have extensive experience.
  "We want new people to enjoy HTM but this is a common-sense precaution to prevent novices from trying moves that they are not skilled enough to perform.

  "Ashleigh clearly always puts the safety of Pudsey first as she has had years of practice, having started out as a Young Kennel Club member many years ago. 

  "HTM is essentially a dog training activity that is great for the bond between dog and owner, which we would encourage dog owners to try.”

   Mrs Kisko went on Jeremy Vine’s radio show on Monday to explain the KC’s actions. Arguing against HTM was Animal Aid’s Andrew Tyler who called it unnatural and said dogs could be frightened into performing unnatural moves. Mrs Kisko defending it, saying dogs enjoyed doing it and that no one could get the best of their dog – whether in heelwork to music, obedience or showing – if the dog is not happy. She said the KC was only asking people to use their common sense.

  Elimination under the new regulations will be acceptable only if all the judges come to the same conclusion. If eliminated, the dog and handler will be required to leave the ring immediately, the KC said, ‘in order to avoid the possibility of any further extreme or unnatural moves’.

  Competitors, judges and organisers are also being asked to note a separate amendment to the regulations which defines the role of the timekeeper with more precision than previously. The rule now states that the timekeeper should only advise judges of the length of a routine in cases where there has been an over-run of the time allowed for that class.

  Judges should not deduct marks from a routine solely on the grounds that it has not used all the time permitted for the relevant class.

The amendments to the Heelwork to Music Regulations are detailed below:

Regulation L10j


  1. No activity shall be conducted which may be injurious to the dog.


j.          No activity shall be conducted which may be injurious to the dog.  Extreme or unnatural moves which are not beneficial to the dog’s structure and conformation and which may be degrading, harmful or injurious to the dog must be avoided and if used will result in the dog’s elimination from the ring.

(Amendment underlined).

Regulation L17i


i.          Any activity that may be injurious to the dog will result in an elimination.

(Deletion underlined)


i.          Any moves not permitted by virtue of regulation L10j or any activity that may be injurious to the dog must be penalised by immediate elimination from the ring.

(Amendment underlined)

Regulation L13.g. (relating to the responsibilities of the timekeeper).


All routines must be timed by an official timekeeper appointed by the Organising Society who will advise the judges of the duration of each routine. The routine starts when the music begins and ends when the music finishes.

(Deletion underlined)


All routines must be timed by an official timekeeper appointed by the organising society which will record the duration of each routine and advise judges of any over-run. The routine starts when the music begins and ends when the music finishes.

(Amendment underlined)