Yes, There’s a Competitive Sport for Traditional Pet Owners!
Have you heard the good news? The American Kennel Club has introduced a new category of competition geared to traditional pet owners. Welcome to the exciting new world of Rally!
According to the AKC, Rally offers both the dogs and handlers an experience that is fun and energizing. The canine team moves at their own pace, very similar to rally-style auto racing. Rally was designed with the traditional pet owner in mind, but it can still be very challenging for those who enjoy higher levels of competition.
And here’s more good news… Fort Mill dog trainer Mariah Hinds offers Rally Obedience Training! With Mariah’s in home dog training, your dog will develop the focus and reliability that’s important in the rally ring – and at home. Most dogs also become enthusiastic about training. It’s an opportunity for them to work with you, their favorite person! The training also offers the kind of stimulation that dogs enjoy.
The AKC has laid out specific rules and regulations for rally competition, so you won’t have to worry about any sneaky surprises. An official AKC rally course includes 10 to 20 stations, depending on the level. The scoring in this sport is not as rigorous as it is in traditional obedience competitions. They encourage communication between the handler (that’s you!) and the dog. You don’t have to worry about making your dog maintain a perfect heel position, the important thing is for you and your dog to demonstrate a sense of teamwork.
So, what exactly is rally? Well, according to AKC, it’s a sport in which the dog and handler complete a course that has been designed by the rally judge. The judge tells the handler to begin, and the dog and handler proceed at their own pace through a course of designated stations (10 – 20, depending on the level). Each of these stations has a sign providing instructions regarding the next skill that is to be performed. The AKC assures us that scoring for rally is not as rigorous as it is for traditional obedience.
According to the AKC, here’s what the judges look for:
The team of dog and handler moves continuously at a brisk, but normal, pace with the dog under control at the handler’s left side. There should be a sense of teamwork between the dog and handler both during the numbered exercises and between the exercise signs; however, perfect “heel position” is not required. Any faults in traditional obedience that would be evaluated and scored as a one-point deduction or more should be scored the same in Rally, unless otherwise mentioned in the Rally Regulations. After the judge’s “Forward” order, the team is on its own to complete the entire sequence of numbered signs correctly.
Unlimited communication from the handler to the dog is to be encouraged and not penalized. Unless otherwise specified in these Regulations, handlers are permitted to talk, praise, encourage, clap their hands, pat their legs, or use any verbal means of encouragement. Multiple commands and/or signals using one or both arms and hands are allowed; the handler’s arms need not be maintained in any particular position at any time. The handler may not touch the dog or make physical corrections. At any time during the performance, loud or harsh commands or intimidating signals will be penalized.
For more information about rally obedience training, schedule a free phone consultation with Rock Hill dog trainer Mariah Hinds, a certified dog trainer who bases her work on positive reinforcement. Mariah will help you train your dog by teaching you how to reward actions and behaviors you want in a fun and effective way.