Rally Obedience, or "Rally-O", is one of the latest activities you can do with your dog. 

Great Introduction to Obedience

 Rally-O is a wonderful introduction to the sport of obedience, for dogs and owners, and an opportunity for veteran dogs to remain active, and a chance for shy or anti-social dogs to get ring experience without worrying about being examined by a judge. 

No marching around in silence

 Many dogs enjoy this change from the usual silent heeling of traditional obedience as their handlers can clap hands, talk, whistle (even sing!) to them throughout the entire course without penalty. Those who participate in agility trials will recognize the pre-class "walk-throughs" and the challenge of working with their dog partners in an almost dance-like flow from one station to another. 

Rally-O combines characteristics of sports car racing, dog agility, and traditional obedience into a new fun sport. It is yet to be fully recognised by the Australian canine body, but given its adoption in a number of Countries, Australia is sure to follow. 

Features of Rally-O 

  • Each team is timed
  • includes 12-20 stations depending on the level of participation, and
  • is scored by a judge who watches for a smooth performance as well as skill in following the directions at each station. 

Levels of difficulty:  

  • Novice with on-leash exercises that demonstrate the dog's understanding of basic commands such as sit, stay, down, and come and heel position; 
  • Advanced a set of exercises performed off-leash that includes at least one jump; and 
  • Excellent a more difficult off-leash course that includes at least one jump and demonstrates more precise skill and coordination between the dog and handler.

 

What is the link with Agility 

  • Courses are designed by the judge and are different in every trial.
  • Exhibitors receive a course map from the judge and can walk the course without their dogs prior to the start of the class.
  • Judges design their courses by choosing from many exercises that are put together that direct handlers and dogs to perform specific exercises in a specific order. 

Signs describe what you must do 

  • A sign at each station gives instructions to the dog and handler (known as a team).
  • Each team must execute the station's particular task within two-to-four feet of the sign.
  • Once the judge gives the command "forward," the dog and handler complete the course on their own without further commands from the judge.
  • Handlers may not use treats or toys in the ring, but may do anything else to encourage their dogs at the novice and advanced levels except physically touch them or make corrections with the leash.
  • Encouragement is allowed at the excellent level but handlers cannot pat their legs or clap their hands as they can in novice and advanced classes. 

Types of Signs 

  • Signs instruct teams to for example
  • go fast or
  • go slow,
  • to halt (dog must sit at heel),
  • to make turns and circles,
  • to reverse direction,
  • to do a sit-stay-recall,
  • or to follow other basic obedience exercises. 

Scoring 

  • Each team has a starting score of 100 or 200 points
  • Points are deducted for such faults as missed or incompletely performed stations, touching the dog, leash corrections, etc.
  • Team are ranked from the highest to the lowest score (i.e., fewest number of faults wins first place)
  • If two teams achieve the same score, the judge determines the placements according to the time recorded for each team's course completion.