I loved working on Rally courses with Bailey. It was a great way to see what commands we needed to work on, it provided treats for her (which she always loved), and allowed us more time together (which I always loved).
Rally is another registered AKC sport and any dog six months or older can participate. A Rally course is set up with 10 to 20 stations, and is set up differently by every judge. Each station has a sign with instructions on the skill that should be performed.
An example of instructions could be, “sit stay”, “call front – return to heel,” etc. The handler can use any verbal commands, hand signals, talk to their dog as much as they want, and use any means of encouragement (except treats). The handler cannot use physical corrections or touch the dog. The idea is to complete the course correctly.
I love Rally because it is a great way to work on some basic obedience skills with your dog.
Whenever you work with your dog, you are also working on building a relationship with them, so it is a great bonding experience. And who doesn’t like a dog who knows basic obedience and practices polite behavior?
Another reason I love Rally is because you can practice anywhere. You can make up a course in your house, backyard, park, etc. You can practice inside when the weather is horrible or outside when it is lovely. Even better – any dog can benefit from this sport. I love to keep dogs working. It tires them out, both physically and mentally, and gives them something more productive to do than getting into trouble.
Rally has become very popular, so it is very easy to find a program near you. Classes are fun and create a great way to meet other dog lovers and competitions are a hoot. Handlers and dogs really get into the competitions and they are a great way to spend a cold afternoon hanging out with like-minded people and their pups.
If you are interested in finding a Rally class or learning more about it, check out the official website.
Have you tried Rally? What was your experience?
Erin Schneider, CPDT-KA and owner of Touch Dog Training, is a certified professional dog trainer who employs positive reinforcement behavior modification techniques intended to deliver results while building stronger bonds between dogs and their owners. Erin practiced her craft in Chicago for many years as a Senior Trainer for AnimalSense Canine Training & Behavior. There she taught dog training classes and also conducted private, in-home lessons with pets and their owners. In March 2015, Erin relocated to Colorado and is excited to share her knowledge and expertise with dog owners in the Denver/Boulder metro area.