Why do we compete in the sport of rally? What motivates us? How is it different than traditional obedience?
For those of you who may not know, Rally is relatively new to the dog show circuit. It is a sport in which you no longer have to wait for the judge’s orders. Instead, dog and handler move around a course with 10-20 signs that instruct the team what to do.
Many people feel that rally is much more FUN than traditional obedience. Personally, I think these people may not have been to a good obedience class in while, because any type of obedience can be fun! The training for both rally and regular obedience is exactly the same.
Simply put, rally IS obedience… with a TWIST!
Before learning the rally signs and how they are performed, your dog will need the basics; reliable stays, both the swing and around finishes, attention heeling, as well as some other creative exercises. Rally may look easy, but to do it well requires the same commitment to training as traditional obedience. Rally is a great training tool before you enter the Novice ring. Here, we can help our young dogs if they are lagging or forging. We can remind them to stay as we walk around them. They get the exposure to a new venue with us there to assist them.
There are many new and fun ideas incorporated into our training methods. Fun, positive ways to teach the same exercises that make learning exciting for both our dogs and ourselves. If you are attending a class that does not include play, toys, or food, it might be time to start looking for a new class!
One of the disadvantages (or what I would call “the trap”), are handlers that talk TOO much to their dogs. In traditional obedience, the actual commands you can give your dog are limited. In transitioning between rally and obedience becomes difficult if you used your voice instead of your body to c communicate commands with your dog. Remember, English is their second language, so use their FIRST language to communicate with them… even in Rally.
I love Rally as a prelude to the obedience ring. Since it began, I have put all my young dogs through their rally titles in order to prepare them for their Novice title!