Dog Rally Obedience
What is it?
Rally is a type of obedience competition in which a course is designed by the judge of the competition. The course is completed by the team (dog and handler), at their own pace, and according to the rules of rally obedience. Rally is the first step of competition after basic obedience is learned by the dog and the handler.
Rally is a fairly new dog sport and was invented by Charles “Bud” Kramer around 2000. In 2005 it was officially named an AKC titled event and has grown rapidly ever since.
Rally is a sport where the dog handler team goes through a course of 10 to 20 signs or stations. Each sign tells the handler what the exercise consists of. The team starts with 100 and has points deducted according to the judge’s discretion. The handler is allowed to talk to and signal their dog but cannot touch the dog. There are three levels of competition novice, advanced and excellent. Novice class competitors perform their exercises on lead with 10 to 15 of the 30 novice level signs on the course. Advanced is performed off lead with 12 to 17 signs chosen from all the rally signs and excellent is 15 to 20 signs with only verbal communication between the handler and the dog allowed. Both pure bred and mixed breeds can compete in rally and compete at the same levels according to their skills. The teams must advance through the three levels. In other words you must title in novice first then you can move on to advanced and excellent as you earn your titles.
How to get involved with your dog
If you are lucky enough to have an obedience club in your area this is the best place to start. Most larger metropolitan areas have obedience clubs that will offer classes. If not there may be individual dog trainers that offer lessons in obedience and rally. You must be registered with the particular sanctioned body to compete in their trials. So if it is AKC rally competition you must be registered with the AKC either through their pure bred registration or canine partner program which registers mixed breed for competition.
Rally is loads of fun for you and your dog. It is the first progression in competition towards competing in obedience trials but you can make a career out of just rally.