Rally obedience is a dog sport where handler and dog work together as a team to navigate a course with different obedience stations. In rally obedience extra commands are not penalized and you are allowed to pat your leg, praise, talk to, and encourage your dog throughout the entire routine.
The rally course is designed by the rally judge. Depending on what level of rally the dog and handler team are entered in will determine the number of exercise stations that the course will include and can be anywhere between 10-20. Sits, downs, heeling, stays, jumps, and turns are all part of different rally stations. After the judge gives the order “Forward” the handler and dog work at their own pace. Precise heel position is not required in rally, but the dog does need to demonstrate the ability to walk with their handler within approximately a two foot area to the left of the handler.
The rally signs are numbered to make it easy to move from station to station without confusion. For most exercises the sign is placed to the right hand side of where the handler is to perform the station. For exercises that require the handler to change direction the sign is placed directly in the handler’s path. For example a “Right Turn” sign would be placed directly in the path of the handler and you would perform the right turn directly in front of the sign.
Scoring is not at rigorous as it is in traditional obedience and overall rally is a much more relaxed atmosphere. Rally was designed with the traditional pet owner in mind, but it also offers higher levels of competition to those who are more serious about the sport. The main objective of rally is to produce dogs that have been trained to behave in the home, in public places, and in the presence of other dogs, in a manner that will reflect positively on the sport of rally at all times and under all conditions.
Who can compete?
-Any handler who can physically handle the dog
-Dog must be 6 months or older
-Must be registered or have an alternative registration such as PALS
If you are looking for something fun to get out and do with your dog then definitely give rally a chance. There are lots of great trials and matches where you can get out and get involved in the dog community.