Rally Obedience

Rally is a sport in which the dog and handler complete a course that has been designed by the rally judge. The dog and handler proceed at their own pace through a course of 10-20 designated stations  (on-leash or off leash – depending on the level). All stations has a sign with instructions about the next skill that is to be performed. It is truly a team effort. Both the handler and the dog must perform all stations correctly to get the maximum score. The good news is that the handler can talk to the dog throughout the course. The bad news is that touching the dog or using treats as motivation is not allowed.

The stations are a combination of the basics most dogs and their owners know well: walking on a leash in heel position, sits, downs and stays. Sounds easy, but when you have a scent hound in the ring, things get interesting.

In Rally Novice the dog in is on a leash which eliminates the possibility of you and the dog leaving the ring separately. When we started Rally training, I underestimated the challenge. After all, the girls performed excellent at our classes and in the training ring. Reality kicked in at our first Rally trial. Three dogs entered the ring.   They completed one sit and one down command! Walking on the leash was a punishment, eye contact was almost out of question and at the end of the day we were all mentally and physically exhausted. But failure was not an option! We went back to school. I changed my approach.  We continued classes with all girls, but focused our trial preparation on one at a time and slowly eliminated food rewards while in the ring.  Ultimately all Blue Fairy girls got their Rally Novice titles. I was just more stubborn than an Otterhound 😉

If you are interested in Rally obedience, here is the link to the AKC web site:
Companion Events: AKC Rally

Below are a couple of videos of our Otterhound friends in action: Kiri with her breeder/owner Bev Biren at a Rally Novice course and Roger with his owner Dian at Rally Advanced course. Enjoy!

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