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Rally

Let’s get ready to R……R……R……R……RALLY

Give it a try!!!! Your dog doesn’t have to heel perfectly! In fact your dog doesn’t even have to heel at all! And, you can TALK to your dog, constantly if you want! You can clap and pat your leg too! Enthusiasm is allowed.

OK, you’ll have to follow a set course, but hey, you’ll be given a map (sorry, no one can walk next to you and read the directions, but there are signs along the way). If your dog can sit and down, you’ve got most of it covered. Yeah, you’ll have to do a little training, but there is no better way to build a bond between you and your dog.

On January 1, 2005 Rally Obedience became an official titling event. It’s not obedience as we currently think of obedience and it’s not agility either but it does have courses and course maps. It is scored like both events but scoring is not as rigorous as obedience and like agility you can talk to your dog (touching them is still a no-no). The AKC rules can be found at: http://www.akc.org/events/rally/index.cfm

The AKC defines Rally as a sport in which the dog and handler complete a course that has been designed by the rally judge. The handler and dog begin when instructed by the judge and proceed at their own pace through a course of designed stations (10-20 depending on the level). Each station has a sign that gives instructions as to the exercise that is to be performed at that station. There are 50 exercises that the AKC has defined (including start and finish). You can find a description of these exercises on the AKC web site at: http://www.akc.org/events/rally/descriptions_and_signs.cfm

Rally is a scored competition. A perfect score is 100 points with 70 points the minimum required to qualify. You must earn three legs under at least two judges for each of three titles: Rally Novice (RN), Rally Advanced (RA), and Rally Excellent (RE).

The Rally Novice class is done entirely on leash. The leash can be made of fabric or leather and only needs to be long enough to provide enough slack. The course will have between 10 and 15 stations (not including start and finish).

Rally Advanced will be done entirely off leash, but the dogs must enter and leave the ring on leash. It will consist of 12-17 stations. There must be one jump used in this class and can be any jump used as standard equipment in obedience. The height the dog must jump is based on the height of the dog at its withers.

In Rally Excellent the dogs will again be off leash (but must enter and leave on leash). There will be between 15 and 20 stations. At this level the handlers will not be allowed to pat their legs or clap their hands – but verbal encouragement, multiple commands, and/or inaudible signals using one or both arms and hands are allowed. Two jumps are required to be used in this class (as used in obedience).

Like obedience each exercise is judged. Unlike obedience precision is not necessary. For example in the Halt-Sit exercise you can tell your dog to sit when you halt without any penalty. If the dog sits in a fashion that would be at least a 1-point deduction in obedience then a 1-point deduction will be assessed. The rules and regulations define the deductions that the judges are to make.

If all this leaves you feeling confused, you may be able to find classes that will help you to understand the rules and regulations and what is expected of your dog. Come on, don’t sit back, get out there and experience something new! You may like it!!


Rally Obedience

Question 1: What is the latest sport to gain AKC approval that isn’t obedience and isn’t agility?

Question 2: In what AKC titling performance event is unlimited communications from the handler to the dog encouraged and not penalized and where handlers are permitted to talk, praise, encourage, clap their hands, pat their legs, or use any verbal means of encouragement while performing things like sits, downs, and about-turns, and still qualify?

Answer: Rally Obedience

On January 1, 2005 Rally Obedience will become an official titling event. It’s not obedience as we currently think of obedience and it’s not agility either but it does have courses and course maps. It is scored like both events but scoring is not as rigorous as obedience and like agility you can talk to your dog (touching them is still a no-no).

The AKC defines Rally as a sport in which the dog and handler complete a course that has been designed by the rally judge. The handler and dog begin when instructed by the judge and proceed at their own pace through a course of designed stations (10-20 depending on the level). Each station has a sign that gives instructions as to the exercise that is to be performed at that station. There are 50 exercises that the AKC has defined (including start and finish).

The AKC considers Rally as a link from the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) program to obedience or agility competition, both for dogs and handlers.

Rally is a scored competition. A perfect score is 100 points with 70 points the minimum required to qualify. You must earn three legs under at least two judges for each of three titles: Rally Novice (RN), Rally Advanced (RA), and Rally Excellent (RE). As in obedience and agility each class is split into A and B classes. Rally also has a title equivalent to the UDX, Rally Advanced Excellent (RAE), where the team must qualify 10 times (from the B classes) in both Advanced and Excellent. The team can continue to compete in the Advanced and Excellent B classes and a numeric designation is used to indicate the number of times they have met the RAE requirements, i.e. RAE2, RAE3, etc. Unlike agility there is no course time but all dogs are timed. Time is used only to break ties among the top 4 scoring dogs in each class.

The Rally Novice class is done entirely on leash. The leash can be made of fabric or leather and only needs to be long enough to provide enough slack. The course will have between 10 and 15 stations (not including start and finish) with a maximum of 5 stationary exercises. (A stationary exercise is one that has a “Halt” in it or no forward motion – these types of stations are so indicated in the AKC rules describing the stations.)

Rally Advanced will be done entirely off leash, but the dogs must enter and leave the ring on leash. It will consist of 12-17 stations and have no more than 7 stationary exercises. There must be one jump used in this class and can be any jump used as standard equipment in obedience. The height the dog must jump is based on the height of the dog at its withers.

In Rally Excellent the dogs will again be off leash (but must enter and leave on leash). There will be between 15 and 20 stations with no more than 7 stationary exercises. At this level the handlers will not be allowed to pat their legs or clap their hands – but verbal encouragement, multiple commands, and/or inaudible signals using one or both arms and hands are allowed. Two jumps are required to be used in this class (as used in obedience).

Like obedience each exercise is judged. Unlike obedience precision is not necessary. For example in the Halt-Sit exercise you can tell your dog to sit when you halt without any penalty. If the dog sits in a fashion that would be at least a 1-point deduction in obedience then a 1-point deduction will be assessed. The rules and regulations define the deductions that the judges are to make. They range from 1 to 10 points with no half-point deductions (as found in classic Obedience). There are also non-qualifying events defined. The following is from the AKC regulations:

1-point deduction for each of the following:
·· tight leash
·· dog interfering with handler’s forward motion
·· poor sits
·· slow, delay, or resistance to respond
·· touching or ticking a jump, pylon, post or person
·· out of position

3-point deduction for each of the following:
·· repeat of a station
·· pylon/post knocked over (on Figure Eight, Spiral, and Serpentine)
·· lack of control
·· loud command or intimidating signal
·· excessive barking
·· handler error

10-point deduction for each of the following:
·· incorrectly performed station
·· hitting the jump
·· handler error

1- to 10-point deduction:
·· lack of teamwork

Non-qualifying (NQ) scores shall be given for:
·· minimum requirements not met
·· dog unmanageable
·· station not attempted
·· consistently tight lead
·· substantially out of position/not completing the honor exercise
·· elimination in the ring during judging
·· bar knocked off the uprights/using a jump as an aid in going over
·· handler error

All Rally courses will begin with START and end with FINISH. The timing will start when the judge says “forward” and will stop when the team passes the finish sign. In between these two signs will be 10-20 different stations. Each station will have a number and a sign. For complete information on these exercises you can go to the AKC web site at: http://www.akc.org/events/rally/descriptions_and_signs.cfm

Here is an example of a few of the exercises from the web site:

3. HALT – Sit. While heeling, the handler halts and the dog comes to a sit in heel position. The team then moves forward toward the next exercise sign (station), with the dog in heel position. (Stationary exercise)4. HALT – Sit – Down. While heeling, the handler halts and the dog comes to a sit. The handler then commands the dog to down, followed by the command to heel forward from the down position. (Stationary exercise)5. * Right Turn. Performed as a 90ºº turn to the right, as in traditional obedience. 6. * Left Turn. Performed as a 90ºº turn to the left, as in traditional obedience. 7. *About Turn – Right. While heeling, the team makes a 180ºº about turn to the handler’s rightt.8. * About “U” Turn. While heeling, the team makes a 180ºº about turn to the handler’s left.

For more information on Rally you can go to the AKC web site at: http://www.akc.org/events/rally/index.cfm.

When I first heard about Rally, I wasn’t very enthusiastic about it. Having participated in both classic Obedience and Agility for years, I just didn’t see the appeal. This year I entered a number of Rally events (it has been offered as a non-regular class in conjunction with Obedience trials). I was surprised at how much fun I had. I really enjoyed being able to talk to my dog and encourage his performance. If you have the chance to enter a non-regular Rally event or the chance to watch one, I would encourage it. For those that find the stuffiness and precision found in obedience to be a “turn-off”, I think they may find Rally fun and enjoyable.