Rally Obedience

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What Is Rally Obedience

Rally Obedience or Rally-O is a fun sport for you and your dog combining traditional training and agility.    Regular competitions rely on a judge to announce what to do; however, in rally obedience the participants perform the course on their own in a heel position.  The Rally-O consists of 10-20 stations with signs that alert the handler and dog what to do. Unlike other dog sporting competitions, the handler and dog work as a team.  The handler is permitted to encourage the dog throughout the course by clapping, praising, talking, or leg slapping.

Sanctioning Organizations

There are five sanctioning organizations in the United States.  They include: the American Kennel Club (AKC); the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT); the Canine rally obedienceWork and Games (C-Wags) and Canines and Humans United (CHU). The United Kennel Club (UKC) and the Swedish Working Dog Club (SBK) recently added Rally Obedience in the last few years.  The AKC starts a team with points, usually 100 and deducts points for errors as they proceed throughout the course.  The Rally-O is not breed specific, so mixed breeds as well as purebred dogs can excel. There are several levels of Rally-O training ranging from Novice to Excellent.  The Novice level is performed with the dog on leash and the commands are relatively simple.  The Advanced level is performed off leash and includes a jump.  The Excellent level is the most challenging with the dog off leash, the commands more complex, and the encouragement from the handler limited.

Finding a Rally-O event should be relatively easy as there are numerous competitions held nationwide.  One good website for information is Rallydogs.com.  This site can help you prepare for a competition by familiarizing you with what to expect in a competition and how to train for it.

Training Your Dog for Rally Obedience

Training your dog for the Rally-O sport is relatively simple and not costly. There is no fancy equipment to purchase. The commands your dog will learn to perform are the typical cues you will be training him for normally. You are actually starting your dog in Rally Obedience training the first day you introduce your dog to your home. The main objective of training your dog for Rally Obedience it to have a dog that behaves in the home as well as in public. Cues such as “sit,” “stay,” “roll over,” “sit and walk around,” “turn right,” and “turn left” are some of the typical stations of a Rally-O.  Some dogs get bored when being trained for traditional obedience.  Mixing up the training for rally obedience can help with that, keeping your dog’s interest peaked.

Safety

Rally Obedience competition and training holds no great health or safety concerns for your dog.  The cues performed at each station should be normal, everyday cues that don’t require any jarring leaps or bounds that would affect joints.  The training encourages your dog to remain alert.  As long as your pet is in good health, participating in this sport should cause no problems.  This sport helps maintain the bond between you and your dog.

Photo: Thinkstock

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