Rally promotes a positive relationship between the dog and its owner, and it is a great way for the beginner to start trialing with their dog. Rally was designed as a way to introduce people who are working through their obedience levels into the world of dog sports and for everyone, whether they are seasoned triallers or not, to simply just have fun with their dog. Rally O provides an environment where the handler can encourage their dog by talking and rewarding by voice, but not handling the dog in any way.
Rally is often described as a combination of Agility and Obedience. A Rally course is set out with numbered stations including a start and finish. Handlers have the opportunity to walk the course to become familiar with it before competing. Dog and handler then navigate the course by following the numbers and carrying out the exercise shown on the sign positioned at each of the numbered stations. Dogs work in the “Heel” position between exercises.
At the entry level of Novice, dogs negotiate a course and work on a lead during the test. The signs available to be placed on a Rally course gradually increase in complexity as the level of Rally becomes higher. The higher levels of Rally, Advanced, Excellent, and Master many more signs, increase in complexity, and the dog is required to navigate the course with the handler off the lead. Encouragement by the use of word rewards and hand signals is permitted, but you are not permitted to touch the dog in any way.
In Rally, competitors complete the course on their own whilst a Judge scores the round but the Judge does not give voice commands or offer assistance. Rally has a far more relaxed atmosphere than other dog sports and each run is a different series of exercises and you never know what the course will be until you do the preliminary walkthrough.
♦ Rules for the conduct of Rally Trials can be found HERE > (under Obedience)