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International Trick Dog Competition- behind the scenes

Updated: Feb 26

International Trick Dog Competition (ITDC) is an annual high profile event. It traditionally attracts top trick teams worldwide and is a highlight of the annual competition calendar for many trick dog trainers.

What makes this competition different from other online events and challenges is:

  • It's scale! in 2023 we had nearly 90 teams from 8 different countries taking part!

  • It is designed as a progressive training event, where with personal detailed feedback from the judges, each team boosts their trick and performance skills over the period of 3 months.

  • It's an amazing opportunity to meet other likeminded people worldwide, learn from each other, share ideas and make life-long friends.

It takes a huge amount of time and effort to run the international event like that, and we wanted to give you a little behind the scenes tour.

The ITDC launches in October, but we start working on preparing for it from around June. It all starts with discussing the focus of this year's competition as each year we focus on different aspects of training in response from the feedback from the previous year.

Overall the ITDC management tasks fall into the following main categories:

Marketing/social media/talent identification:

In addition to publicising the competition widely we also scout for and personally invite handpicked teams. These are not just well established teams who already compete and are well known. We always also proactively look for emerging talent who with some support, training and encouragement can develop and bloom into the bright international stars.


Each of the task of the competition is planned in advance, builds on the lessons from the previous tasks and always has a specific training objective in mind.

We always have several options planed for each task. We don't follow a rigid structure, but instead select the option for the task which would suit best as the next step depending on the actual progress demonstrated by the teams taking part in the competition.


Consistent judging, insightful, practical and supportive feedback is one of the absolute core elements of the competition. We take a great care and thought in selecting the judges for the competition. Only the best judges with positive attitude to training dogs, wide experience with different breeds and understanding of importance of team dynamic, communication and bond are invited to judge the classes. Often judges come from different counties and in many cases we have to translate the judges feedback into English before sending it over to participants.

With the new judges we always have a virtual or face to face briefing that includes some training with the explanation of the judging process, criteria and provide an ongoing feedback and support if necessary. The class or classes are allocated according to the judges's experience, specialisation and avoiding any conflicts of interests.

We would like to use the opportunity to thank all of the judges who supported the competition over the years giving their time, expertise and a lot of thought into judging each single entry.


There is a huge list of administrative tasks that goes behind the scenes during the competition.

When entry is received it is checked, including the submission form, payment and all links etc. We then e-mail each participant individually confirming the receipt. This is all done by hand by a real person, rather than automatically.

The judging lists are compiled for each of the judges and e-mailed to them.

The feedback from the judges when received is put back in the judging master list which is used in announcing the results and keeping the track of all competition points, places and scores.

We then generate the certificates, which are again done one at a time by a person. We then send individual e-mails with the certificates and the individual feedback compiled from all of the judges to each of the participants for each of the dogs, for each of the classes.

We then also e-mail individually winners of each class and ask for their permission to share their winning video before posting it to others to see. Not everyone wants their video to shared publicly and we respect that.

Admin also include all of the website development and all software updates which can be mind boggling at times.

Designing the rosettes ordering and posting them is another huge time-consuming but super important task and we want the rosettes to be special, something that will help to remind and celebrate the huge achievements by each of the teams.


After each task there is always some debriefing to the judges and feedback or follow up feedback and suggestions to the participants.

Overall it is a hugely time-consuming but also deeply rewarding event which is subsidised by the DTA and is kindly supported by KONG company and others over several years.

It is amazing for us to look back at the teams taking part in the competition to see how much personal growth, bond building and progress everyone makes during the competition.

The time invested by each of the teams, effort, your focus, creativity and enthusiasm really pays off! We would like to thank you for trusting us to support you on your very personal journey!

For more information about the International Trick Dog Competition see:


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