Rally Obedience is a relatively new sport intended to promote positive relationships between dogs and owners based on trust and respect. The sport is available to all dogs of stable temperament. While some Rally organizations encourage participation of both purebred or mixed breed dogs, pets and titled champions, as well as physically challenged dogs and/or handlers, others accept only registered purebred dogs. It is designed so that dogs of all levels may participate. As the dogs gain skill, more difficult courses are laid out to improve both the handler and the dog’s performance levels and confidence.
In Rally Obedience dogs and their owners/handlers use directional signs to run through a numbered course. Uninterrupted by orders from the judge, it demands a sustained communication between the dog and handler. The handler may talk, encourage and give hand and body signals to his or her dog throughout the performance.
Rally Obedience goes beyond basic heeling by interspersing over 40 obedience movements with sits, turns and paces of traditional heeling. A rally course includes 10 to 20 stations, depending on the level. Scoring is not as rigorous as traditional obedience. Communication between handler and dog is encouraged and perfect heel position is not required, however, there should be a sense of teamwork between the dog and handler.
Rally requires a brisk pace, positive attitude and happy demeanor. The chief objective is to provide a fast-moving and motivational activity that demonstrates a handler and dog’s competency in basic obedience exercises without requiring exact precision for success. Dogs should show willingness and enjoyment while handlers may use praise, encouragement and petting throughout the rally course.
Rally Obedience classes are available in all levels and are both fun and invigorating for dog and owner.