Rally Dogs at Sweetbay
Rally takes the various elements of formal obedience and arranges them individually along a course. Dog and handler begin at the start line and heel forward, performing each task as they encounter it, until they reach the finish line.The introductory (novice) level is performed entirely on lead. To further encourage novice handlers to participate, rally allows full communication. Handlers can talk to their dogs and give multiple commands. Helpful body English such as patting one’s leg or clapping one’s hands is also allowed at the novice level.
Running a rally course, the dog and handler will encounter such moves as right and left turns, serpentines, modified recalls, weaving, down-stays, pivots and finishes. Each level of rally adds new tasks to be learned. By the time the dog is competing in rally excellent, he has learned fifty behaviors. He will encounter a different mix of twenty or so on each excellent course.
When the sport was introduced, trainers began teaching their dogs the work – and they discovered a wonderful bonus. Rally is quick, fun, and energizing. It is also a great way to learn the various elements you’ll need if you go on to regular AKC obedience. Even better, it’s a very low-stress way to give both dog and handler ring experience and exposure to the distractions that happen at any dog show or trial.
There are three levels in Rally: novice,
advanced, and excellent. The dog must earn three legs in
one level, earning that title, before he is allowed to
move on and compete in the next.
For more information about the Adlers’ dogs:
Sweetbay’s Darby AmCanCD RA TD WD AmCanDD, OFA NF-6811, EL-1205
Rally rules allow the handler to talk to his dog and
encourage him as they work, and that makes it extra fun
for the dog. Darby has a smile on her face as owner Judi
Adler heels her up to the next station.
Sweetbay’s Fiona AmCanCD RA TD WRD AmCanDD, EL-1924
For the “moving stand” exercise, the dog
and handler heel along together. Then the handler
continues moving but gives the dog a “stop and stay”
command. The dog freezes while the handler continues
walking, and the dog remains in that stand until the owner
has circled and returned to heel position. Fiona learned
to “stop and stay” during draft training, so it came very
easily to her in rally, and she performs it beautifully
for her owner, Judi Adler.
Sweetbay’s Nova RN TD WRD CanWRDX TDD CanDD, OFA NF-8113, EL-2111
There are many different variations of recalls in rally.
Here, Jean Ochsner and Nova perform the “call dog front
1-2-3” exercise. It’s actually four very short recalls
done sequentially in rapid order. Nova gives Jean her full
attention and does them well.
Sweetbay’s Sonnet U-CD RN TD AmCanWRD, OFA NF-8250, EL-2224
Novice rally is performed on lead, and the judge’s
interaction is confined to an introductory “Are you ready?
Forward.” After that, the handler and dog go through the
course on their own, performing each station. There’s
always a happy sense of anticipation as you wait at the
“start” cone for the judge to send you off. Both Sharon
Marcus and Sonnet look eager to get started!
Sweetbay’s Brody WD TDD CanDD (NF-8266, EL-2238)
There are three rally exercises that involve weaving or circling around traffic cones in various patterns. Mark Ochsner and Brody perform a serpentine through a series of four cones.
VN Ch Sweetbay’s Benson CDX RE WRDX TDD (NF-7511, EL-1666)
Benson was one of Sweetbay’s first rally excellent titlists. His owner, Patti Pigeon, tried rally thinking it would be an entertaining break from regular obedience. Benson excelled, and in short order they had earned all three rally titles.
Sweetbay’s Fiona AmCanCD RA TD WRD AmCanDD (EL-1924)
Playful, social dogs are perfect candidates for rally. Judi and Ellis Adler’s Fiona loved the sport from the get-go.
SpCH Sweetbay’s Lyric CD TDX RE WRD OAP OJP OFP (VCD1) OACV EGCV OJCV TNE TGO WVN UAG1 CSL3F (NF 7437, EL 1624)
Lyric has abundant energy and enthusiasm, and she loves learning new tricks, whicj made rally a natural for her. Lois Apfel, her owner, found the exercises were a wonderful boost to better obedience work.