- Terri Everwine
What is Rally?
In 2005, the American Kennel Club introduced a new sport they called “Rally Obedience”. It was designed to use pieces and parts of typical obedience training, something many trainers refer to as “noodling”. These pieces are strung together in a numbered course, with signs depicting the exercise to be performed at each station. Like obedience, the dog works from heel position throughout most of the exercises, but Rally does not demand the level of precision that one finds in the Obedience ring. Unlike the lengthy patterns often seen in the obedience ring, the quick moving Rally courses help keep dogs engaged. Because of this, many people consider Rally to be more “fun” for themselves and their dogs.
There are 5 levels of Rally competition. At Novice and Intermediate levels, dogs are on leash. At the Advanced, Excellent and Master levels, dogs work off lead. At all levels, handlers may talk their dogs through the exercises. A judge scores each exercise, and each run is timed. Each course is worth 100 points. Errors by the dog or handler can result in the loss of points. In order to qualify, a dog/handler team must score at least 70 of the 100 points available. To earn a title the team must qualify at three different trials in their level. When deciding placements in a class, any tied scores are broken by time, and the fastest runs will place higher. Rally has gained so much in popularity in recent years that there are now Rally Championships and a National Rally competition.