General Rules & Procedures
Individual and Team
Contestants must provide all of their own equipment, including the grooming table, grooming arm, and safety loop unless provided by the show organizer. See individual show rules.
Contestants are responsible for providing bathing accommodations for competition dogs unless provided by the show organizer. See individual show rules.
Flame devices are not permitted in the competition ring, prep area, or bathing and drying area.
Hairdryers are not permitted in the competition ring unless stated by the show promoter.
Holding crates are not permitted in the competition ring.
Personal grooming tables and equipment must be removed from the ring after each class unless stated otherwise by the show promoter.
Strictly Prohibited in Competition Ring
Use of cell phones, radios, and headsets.
Smoking in the competition ring.
Standing on grooming tables.
Standing on chairs to groom or style.
Beverages NOT in spill-proof containers.
Coaching by anyone, at any time, during the competition, including “Johnnie Break.”
Visual or written grooming instructions.
Competitor Policies & Procedures
Competitors have a responsibility to keep dogs safe. Competition dogs must be properly crated and cared for, with food and water when left insecure holding area. Dogs must:
Be on safety lead when transported on the floor.
Be on the safety loop when on the competition table.
Be under control and not left unattended while on the grooming table. ·
To promote a professional competition ring, IJA competitor must dress appropriately in
professional grooming attire and shoes. Due to safety issues, no open toe shoes are
permitted. Unprofessional attire would be considered very tight clothing, very short skirts, and no shoes. Contestants who are not dressed appropriately will not be permitted to
enter the IJA competition ring. Contestants who remove their shoes during the
competition or remove clothing, thereby creating an unprofessional image, will be asked
to leave the competition ring.
Contestants must professionally conduct themselves at all times. Contestants must use professional language and exhibit a professional attitude and body language. Using unprofessional language, attitude, and body language will be considered unprofessional conduct.
Assistance During the Competition
If a competitor needs assistance during the competition, the competitor must notify the ring steward
immediately. The competitor should raise a hand to signal the ring steward or IJA team. The competitor
must avoid yelling to get the attention of the ring steward or the IJA team.
Mandatory Contest Break - “The Johnnie Break”
A fifteen-minute mandatory break will take place during the competition. The time of break will be announced at the beginning of each class.
Contestants and dogs must proceed as a group to the designated break areas.
Dogs will be offered water and given a chance to exercise at this time.
Contestants can move their own dogs or have someone else move their dogs in a designated area.
Contestants may not discuss the grooming of their competition dogs with anyone.
IJA team members will announce the time to return to the competition ring, and all contestants must proceed to the competition ring as a group.
The ringmaster will announce when the competition will resume.
The competitor should remove all hair, equipment, and products from the grooming table.
The comb should be placed on the table in front of the dog for the judge to use during technical evaluation.
The competitor may comb the dog before and after the judging panel has evaluated the dog.
The competitor should stack the dog to present to the judge or judging panel.
Judges will evaluate competition dogs from inside and outside the ring.
The judging panel will complete judging 30 minutes after the last time frame for class.
The ringmaster will announce when judging is complete to allow contestants and competition dogs to relax.
When judging is complete, the ringmaster may dismiss contestants and competition dogs until the awards ceremony.
Contestants and competition dogs must stay ringside.
Contestants must return to their table in the ring 10 minutes before the introduction and awards ceremonies.
Post-contest photos will be taken at the photo station after technical evaluation has been
completed. The competitor must take a photo ID sheet and proceed to the photo station after
Best in Show Judging
Best in Show Judging may be conducted immediately after the contest or at a different time
and location. Contestants who are finalists for Best in Show in each Level must be
present with their competition dogs for final judging to be considered for Best in Show.
Best in Show Awards Ceremony
Best in Show Awards Ceremony may be conducted immediately after the contest and final
judging or at different times and locations. Contestants who are finalists for Best in Show
in each Level must be present with their competition dog to receive an award. The show promoter publishes award times.
Conversations During the Competition
Contestants must refrain from conversing with other contestants during the competition.
Conversations between contestants may be construed as receiving coaching or attempting to distract other contestants by disrupting their concentration. Contestants may converse after the competition is over during judging procedures; however, all contestants should focus on presenting their dogs to judges during judging procedures.
Professional Styling Station
The competitor must maintain a safe and organized styling station for competition dogs at all times during the contest. Open scissors left on the table, for example, will be considered a safety issue for competition dogs and will be considered unsafe working conditions.
The competitor must practice safe and gentle handling when applying technical skills, such as brushing and hand stripping. Aggressively holding the skin on a dog and/or aggressive brushing techniques would be considered unsafe handling.
The competitor must not leave the competition dog unattended on the grooming table. A dog jumping or falling off a grooming table will be considered unsafe handling.
The competitor must not adjust the safety loop too high or attach the safety loop incorrectly and place the pet in danger. The competitor must not lift the dog by his/her tail.
Adjusting the safety loop too high or too low in an unsafe manner or lifting a competition dog by his/her tail will be considered unsafe handling.
Professional Technical Skills Application
Contestants must apply technical skills with safety. Clipper burns, nicks, and/or cuts discovered on the dog during judging procedures will be considered unsafe technical
applications. A competitor may be disqualified from class if unsafe technical skills injure his/her competition dog.
Warnings & Disqualifications
Contestants will receive a warning for their unprofessional image, unprofessional conduct,
unprofessional styling station, unprofessional handling, and/or unprofessional application
of technical skills. A second warning may result in disqualification from class. A third
warning may result in disqualification from the entire competition.
An Excellent Sportsman is a competitor who can experience a loss or defeat without
the complaint, or victory without gloating, and who treats his/her opponents, judges and
show promoters with fairness, courtesy, and respect.
Poor Sportsman is a competitor who cannot experience loss or defeat without
complaining, blaming others for his/her loss, and who treats his/her competition dog,
opponents, judges, and show promoters with disrespect or with rude, belligerent, and/or
Failure to abide by the Excellent Sportsmanship Standard may prevent the competitor
from competing in future IJA Competitions and forfeiture of any IJA Titles.
Contestants must be IJA Competitor Members. IJA Membership fees are paid to IJA.
IJA Sanctioned Competitions are qualification competitions for IJA State, Regional and National Competitions.
Registration for Competition Class
Show promoters post the number of tables available for each competition. Registrations
should be made as soon as possible to ensure space in the contest ring. Registrations must
be received before the start of the contest. Registrations may not be accepted due to space
availability in the ring.
Entry fees must be paid with registration. Entry fees are paid to Show Promoter. Entry
fees must be paid before the start of the contest.
Contest Questions, Concerns, and Suggestions
IJA and IJA Show Promoter encourages communication to create the most professional contest arena worldwide. If you have questions about competition rules, policies, and procedures, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have questions about the individual show, payment for an individual event, and hotel accommodations, please contact the individual IJA Show Promoter.
Individual(s) with a formal contest grievance must submit the grievance in writing by mail or
by email to IJA Grievance Committee at email@example.com. The grievance must be
submitted by midnight of the 7th day after the closing of the competition.
Policies for Uniforms and Logos
Level 1 - 3 Qualifying Competitions
IJA conducts Level 1 - 3 qualifying competitions to score and rank competitors for IJA Sanctioned Level 4 Competitions. To create the most professional arena in IJA Sanctioned Qualifying Competitions and to allow everyone to be recognized and considered equal, logos on grooming attire, table covers, tool kits, etc. are permitted and encouraged to promote the individual or the individual's business (salon, mobile, kennel, daycare).
The competitor, or the competitor's business or the business where the competitor works, is typically responsible for paying for uniforms, entry fees, and overall expenses and should be allowed to promote their business. For example, a salon team may compete wearing the same uniform with a salon name and logo.
IJA recognizes and presents the John Nash Professionalism Award to encourage full competition uniforms to create the most professional appearance in the contest arena and our industry.
Level 4 competition uniforms and logos are prohibited in Level 1 -3 Qualifying Competition.
Level 4 International Competitions
Level 4 competitions are the highest level of competitions offered by IJA. Competitions are designed for competitors who have qualified in Level 1 - 3 competitions and have earned a place on a Level 4 team or as a Level 4 individual competitor to compete in international competitions for a specific event or time frame.
Pet industry companies typically sponsor level 4 teams and individual competitors, and it is their responsibility to promote their sponsorships in the ring.
To create the ultimate professional image, Level 4 teams and individual competitors must be fully uniform in the competition arena. No jeans allowed!.
Level 4 competition uniforms and logos are prohibited in Level 1 - 3 Qualifying Competition.
IJA Level 4 Team and Individual Competitor Uniforms and Logos
Currently, IJA offers USA Model Dog Level 4 Team Competitions and, in 2019, will form an international Level 4 Team for live dogs. IJA feels it is important to establish rules, policies, and procedures for level 4 model dog teams and live dog teams to maintain a professional and fair competition arena.
Team members must be in a full uniform during all Level 4 Competition. No Jeans allowed. Team members of the USA Model Dog Team are encouraged to wear FULL UNIFORMS during seminars and other personal appearances and special events.
USA Model Dog Team Members are not permitted to wear the USA Model Dog Team Member Uniform in a Level 1 -3 Qualifying Competition.
Terms of Acceptance
The International Judges Association for Dog Grooming Competition, Inc., the Nash System of Pet Care Education, the show promoter, reserves the right to use photographs, slides, video, audio, digital images, and judges' comments in future educational endeavors, show coverage, advertising, websites, and promotion of future IJA events and the undersigned specifically waives any proprietary rights and any rights to the compensation he/she may have for their use.
I agree to absolve International Judges Association for Dog Grooming Competition, Inc., the Show Promoters, Contest Judges, Contest Sponsors, Show Staff Personnel and their employees for any legal claim for loss or injury which may be alleged to have been caused directly or indirectly to any person or thing thereto, and I assume all responsibility and liability for any such claim.
The International Judges Association for Dog Grooming Competition, Inc., and the Nash Academy, the show promoter, reserves the right to use photographs, slides, video, audio, digital images, and judges' comments in future educational endeavors, show coverage, advertising, websites, and promotion of future IJA events and the undersigned specifically waives any proprietary rights and any rights to the compensation he/she may have for their use.
The pet expos reserve the right to use photographs, slides, audio, videos, and digital images of contestants for show coverage and future advertising and promotion of the Show Promoter's events in books, magazines, and websites.
(remove for online competitions)
I agree to absolve International Judges Association for Dog Grooming Competition, Inc., the Nash Academy, the Show Promoters, Contest Judges, Contest Sponsors, Show Staff Personnel and the Hosting Hotel and Convention Center and their employees for any legal claim for loss or injury which may be alleged to have been caused directly or indirectly to any person or thing thereto, and I assume all responsibility and liability for any such claim.
I further agree not to hold the parties mentioned above legally responsible for any claim for loss of my entry dog(s) by disappearance, theft, death, damage or injury, to be caused by the negligence of the parties aforementioned, or due to the negligence of any other person, or any other cause or causes.