Rally is an exciting new sport, which was developed by Charles "Bud" Kramer, the man who brought agility to the US.
Rally was designed with several goals in mind:
- To bring new people into the sport of obedience
- To provide a venue for green dogs to compete who might not be ready for traditional obedience
- To add elements that made agility interesting to traditional obedience.
Rally combines pieces of traditional obedience exercises and puts them into an agility style course with numbered signs. The judge gives one command and then the team goes through the course, following the numbers in sequence and completing the exercise required at each station. The course may have several turns, cones, diagonals, angles and even double back upon the path. Just like agility, competitors can walk the course ahead of their run and there is a map of the course path.
Exhibitors may talk to their dogs, praise their dogs during the run and retry exercises they perform incorrectly. Unlike traditional obedience, a Rally exhibitor does not automatically NQ if a dog fails to come on the first command because the exercise can be retied, although with a substantial point deduction.
Rally offers 4 titling classes.
- RN (Rally Novice is done on–leash)
- RA (Rally Advanced is off-leash with a jump required)
- RE (Rally Excellent is off-leash with 2 jumps and an honor required)
- RAE (Rally Advanced Excellent and requires 10 double Q’s in advanced and excellent levels)
Each title requires qualifying scores or legs. A qualifying score is a minimum of 70 points out of a total of 100. The RN, RA and RE each require 3 legs and the RAE requires 10 legs. Two legs can be earned under the same judge.
There are 50 signs in Rally that may be used on courses depending upon the level. The Rally exercises, which are called stations, can be broken into the following groups:
- Heeling Exercises with no change of direction,
- Heeling exercises with a change of direction,
- Stationary exercises involving at least one halt,
- Call front exercises,
- Turns and Pivots
- Cone exercises,
- Jumping (advanced and excellent only)
- Honor (stay on leash while another team runs the course) Excellent level only
A rally course may be 10-15 stations in Novice, 12-17 stations in Advanced with one jump and 15-20 stations in excellent with a minimum of 2 jumps and the honor required.
Rally requires certain skills of both the handler and the dog. Since Rally’s foundation is obedience, a dog must know basic obedience commands and be able to heel, come, down, sit and stand on command, finish in either direction, and stay in position when commanded. In addition, the team must also know how to do a schutzhund style about turn, called a left about turn in Rally, and be able to pivot, move in a sidestep with the handler and back up in heel position if an RAE is the ultimate goal.
Currently AKC offers Rally trials only in conjunction with obedience. The Canadian Association of Rally Obedience (CARO) offers trials separately from obedience. In January, 2007 the Canadian Kennel Club will begin offering Rally (using AKC style signs and rules) as a titling sport. The American Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT) has offered Rally as a titling sport separate from obedience for several years. The rules are quite different from AKC’s and in many respects harder than AKC at present.
This course was designed by Lyn and shows an example of an advanced course