Dog Obedience Clubs of Florida (DOCOF) was created in the late 60’s as a “Calendar Club”. It was intended that, once a year, all the member Clubs would assemble and compare dates for their events so that there would be no conflicts. It was 7 or 8 years before the first State Obedience Tournament was organized by DOCOF (pronounced Dock Off) and presented in 1975. The idea of a State Tournament was presented to DOCOF by Obedience Judge Jon Mett, who thought Florida would benefit from an event similar to one he knew about in California. The first competition had something like 13 teams entered, and the Tournament has been going strong every since.
Many of Florida’s Obedience competitors and probably all of the Florida based AKC judges have represented a Club at DOCOF at some point over the years. The Tournament may even be considered THE event of the year as far as Obedience is concerned in Florida. Exhibitors cannot enter individually, but must represent an organization that is a member of DOCOF. They must also be members of their team’s organization for at least 6 months in order to be eligible to compete for them.
DOCOF is more than just a Tournament to most Florida Obedience competitors. It is a gathering of folks whose lives are centered around our sport. Although to some groups the goal is to win the event, to a large number of regular competitors it is definitely a weekend not to be missed no matter how one does in competition. Each Club or School has it’s own method of selecting a team. Some choose by scores earned at recent trials. Some have try-outs to select their team or teams. Some choose by dedication to the organization – the folks who work hardest for the Club are chosen to represent them. Typically 30 – 35 teams compete.
Each new Exhibitor gets a DOCOF pin, and each Exhibitor gets a year bar to add to that pin every year. The weekend begins with setup, a day of practice and the annual meeting and Sunday is the competition. Out of state judges are always hired since most Florida judges want to compete. Everything is neatened up and made ready for the Tournament, which begins early Sunday morning, Labor Day Weekend.