Rally: What is it? Who can play? How do you get involved? So many questions answered right here!
Rally, often referred to as Rally Obedience and sometimes Rally-O is a fun and relatively new sport in the world of dogdom. One might refer to it as a hybrid sport. If traditional Obedience and Agility had a child, that child might look something like Rally.
A Rally course consists of a collection of signs. Each sign is a station that gives direction about the skills that need to be performed. The Canadian Kennel Club has 95 possible signs that are spread out over 4 levels: Novice, Advanced, Excellent and Masters. The different levels include tasks that the dog has to perform. Dogs must complete all stations successfully in order to receive a qualifying score.
With the exception of Novice, all levels are completed off-leash and dogs must be under control. Some skills include turns to the right or left, halts with a sit at your side, weaving through a set of cones, or you may have to have your dog sit as you walk around them in a circle before heading off to the next station. Advanced and Excellent levels of Rally also include jumping skills.
Rally is intended to be fun and is typically more casual than traditional obedience competition. Handlers are encouraged to use praise and interaction with their dogs while they are in the ring.
The Masters level of Rally is brand new in 2018 and is set up to be more like a traditional obedience class. Judges are looking for precision with one command and the skills are quite advanced.
Who Can Play?
There are two main organizations in Canada that offer Rally Obedience competitions: CARO (Canadian Association of Rally Obedience) and CKC (Canadian Kennel Club). CARO is a Registry for Rally Obedience only, whereas CKC is the Registering body for Pure bred dogs in Canada and runs the gambit as far as venues and competitions ranging from Conformation events to Lure Coursing and everything in between.
Anyone can compete in CARO once they've registered with the organization and now that CKC allows Mixed-Breed dogs to compete in performance events, it's open to all dogs as well. Both organizations are similar, but there are a few differences in titles, classes, criteria, etc. It's important to note that the organizations do not recognize one-another.
How Can You Get Involved?
My first suggestion is always to go out and watch. Whether you find a local trial or a dog training school that offers Rally classes, go out and see what it's all about. Get caught up in the fun of Rally! If you like it, get out and start playing. You can find details online or join a local class to learn all about it.
As always, Happy Training!