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.
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, but there should be a sense of teamwork between the dog and handler. The main objective of rally is to produce dogs that have been trained to behave in the home, in public places, and in the presence of other dogs, in a manner that will reflect positively on the sport of rally at all times and under all conditions.
Levels of Competition
This is the first level for those just getting started in competition. All exercises are performed with the dog on leash. There is a requirement of 10-15 stations to complete with no more than five stationary exercises. The exercises performed vary from turning 360 degrees to changing paces during the course. Exhibitors at this level may clap their hands and pat their legs through the course.
This is an optional class to enter as an introduction to the Advanced class signs, with the exception that all of the exercises are performed on-leash and there are no jumps at this class level.
All exercises are performed with the dog on-leash. There is a requirement of 12 to 17 signs (stations) to complete, with a maximum of seven stationary signs. Handler may clap their hands, talk to the dog and, pat their legs throughout the course. This class is not required to move from Novice to the Advanced class in trialing, but is optional to enter if the dog is not ready to work off-leash.
This level includes more difficult exercises throughout the course and requires a dog to jump once on the course. All exercises are performed off-leash. There is a requirement of 12 to 17 stations with no more than seven stationary exercises. Exercises include a jump as well as calling your dog to the front of you instead of to a heel position. Handlers may clap their hands, talk to the dog and pat their legs throughout the course.
This level of AKC Rally is very challenging. Exercises are performed off-leash. There is a requirement of 15 to 20 stations, with no more than 7 stationary exercises and 2 required jumps on the course. Handlers are only allowed to encouraged their dogs verbally. Physical encouragement is not allowed at this class.
This is the fifth and highest level of AKC Rally. All exercises are performed with the dog off-leash. There is a minimum of 15 to 20 stations to complete, with a maximum of seven stationary signs. One jump is required in this class. Handlers are only allowed to encourage their dogs verbally in Masters.
The Winnegamie Dog Club offers Rally Classes on a regular basis. The trainers have titled their dogs in this fun sport and have lots to offer for handlers and their dogs whether or not competition is in the future.
Free K9Rally app for Android phones: https://goo.gl/UvZ9ce
Pocket Rally for iPhones is available for a small fee from iTunes