Aims & Rules Clinic Leader Application Process

The Aims & Rules Clinic is an educational tool developed by NAVHDA to educate aspiring judges, handlers and other NAVHDA members. The clinic provides a comprehensive overview of the NAVHDA testing and scoring system.  Clinic Leaders conduct classroom style training and lead and guide discussions in the field when evaluating a dog’s performance.  The Clinic Leader is responsible for providing insight, definitions, and specific scoring criteria for NAVHDA judging and test mechanics.  A clinic leader must also be able to explain the score card and how numbers are assigned to a dog’s performance in each facet of the test.  Clinic Leaders may also be asked for tips and help in handling dog’s in NAVHDA tests.  Clinic Leaders are chosen not only on their experience in judging and testing dog’s, but also on their ability to discuss and explain the NAVHDA judging and testing system in a teaching or classroom style environment.

Qualification criteria and process:

  • An applicant must be a NAVHDA Senior Judge.
  • An applicant must have been a Senior Judge judging at least 20 days of NAVHDA tests.
    • Half of those testing days must have included testing UPT and UT dogs.
  • An applicant must be current on all judging requirements and must have prized a dog in the IT or UT within the previous 4 years.
  • An applicant must complete the Clinic Leader application form.
  • An applicant must submit a letter of application to the Director of Judge development stating why the applicant wants to be a clinic leader.
  • The letter of application should be accompanied by at least two letters of recommendation from judges who have judged with the applicant.
    • The Director of Judge Development may then conduct an in person or virtual interview of the applicant. The applicant may then be approved as an Apprentice Clinic Leader.
  • An applicant that is approved to apprentice at an Aims and Rules clinic by the Director of Judge Development must attend and participate in both days of the clinic. Expenses to attend and participate as an Apprentice Clinic Leader will not be reimbursed.
  • Applicants will have a written evaluation of their performance submitted to the Director of Judge Development.


Clinic Leader responsibility when assigned an Apprentice Clinic Leader:

  • Ensure that the Apprentice Clinic Leader is included in correspondence with the chapter hosting the clinic.
  • Discuss with the Apprentice Clinic Leader the logistics, classroom and field format, including selection of dogs for test demonstration.
  • Discuss how scoring discussions will be handled in the field.
  • Assign the Apprentice Clinic Leader specific responsibilities to lead parts of the classroom discussion.
  • Discuss with the Apprentice Clinic Leader how coaching in the score discussions will be handled both in the field and in the classroom.
  • Review with the Apprentice Clinic Leader the Apprentice Clinic Leader evaluation sheet and discuss any particular areas that may need emphasis (note, the Apprentice Clinic Leader will print out a copy of the evaluation sheet and bring it to the clinic).
  • Provide a verbal and written evaluation of the Apprentice Clinic Leader using the Apprentice Clinic Leader evaluation form at the end of each day.
  • At the end of the clinic, the Clinic Leader will mail a copy of each day’s evaluation of the Apprentice Clinic Leader to the Director of Judge development.


If the Apprentice Clinic Leader is recommended for approval at the completion of the apprenticeship, the Director of Judge Development, after reviewing all the above materials, will submit the Apprentice Clinic Leader and his or her qualifications and the evaluations to the Judging and Testing committee for a vote on approval.

New Clinic Leaders will not be assigned an Apprentice Clinic Leader until they have completed at least two clinics after being approved.

Are you interested in applying to become an Aims & Rules Clinic Leader? You can find the application form here.