Who’s Ready to Rally?

This last past weekend, All Dawgs students and trainers, including myself, competed at an obedience and Rally trial … actually, it was a four-day cluster trial. This begins a four-blog series about various dog sports — Rally Obedience (or Rally), Competition Obedience, Agility and Freestyle. Dog sport competitions, in any of its forms, shows you exactly what you have and have not trained your dog to do. You are not allowed to use treats or toys when you and your dog step into the ring. It’s all about your dog’s training!

Of course, I didn’t get into dog training initially to compete. All I wanted in my first dog, Tiger, was a dog that would sit, down, come when called, stay and walk on a loose leash. I ended up in the competition classes because we had done everything else — and I was having such a good time training my dog. A friend kept suggesting I compete and once I did, I was hooked!

Rally Obedience, or Rally, is a great sport for new exhibitors to enter. You are allowed unlimited communication (both verbal and hand signals) with your dog.  At the novice level, there are about 35 signs that can make up the Rally course  and the judge designs a course of about 10-12 stations. In the 10 years I have competing in Rally Obedience, I have never had the exact course twice!

In last weekend’s courses, the dog that I was competing with and I navigated signs such as turning 360-degrees in a circle both to the right and left, weaving through cones and sit and down stays as I walked around the dog. The event is timed but it is only used to break a tie. A perfect score in Rally is 100 and the dog and handler needs at least a 70 in order to qualify. Qualify three times and your dog earns his Rally Novice (RN) title that goes at the end of his AKC-registered name. After Rally Novice, there is Rally Advanced (the intermediate level) and Rally Excellent (the most advanced level), which are performed off leash.

This weekend, I saw breeds such as Golden Retrievers and Border Collies as well as Siberian Huskies, Boxers, Great Danes and I was showing a Giant Schnauzer. Mix breeds are also allowed to compete! Here are some links to this past weekend’s Rally competitions:



So…. are you interested in competing in Rally?

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