Rally obedience (also known as Rally or Rally-O) is a dog sport based on obedience. It was originally devised by Charles L. "Bud" Kramer from the obedience practice of "doodling" - doing a variety of interesting warmup and freestyle exercises.

Rally obedience is already a successful sport in the US.  It is an event devised to both test and motivate handlers and their dogs in performing the basic skills required in obedience training.  Moreover, spectators may easily understand what is required and enjoy watching the performance of handlers and their dogs.

In rally events, handler and dog go past a series of stations, consisting of coloured signs providing instructions about each skill that must be performed.  Judges vary the content and order of stations for every event according to the rules and requirements.  Several levels of tests increase the expertise required of handlers and dogs, finally progressing to off leash work at close range.  Titles are awarded for completing tests at each level.

Rally is designed for both new and experienced dog owners.  It provides a link between the Canine Good Neighbour Test and obedience or agility competition. Like obedience, rally requires the performance of skills useful for both handler and dog in real life.  To demonstrate the skills, each handler and dog move in a continuous, natural manner through each station, uninterrupted by the judge.  Perfect heeling is not required, but the handler must maintain a loose leash at all times.  Handler and dog proceed naturally, using praise and petting as desired to keep the performance keen and willing.

Rally obedience is what may be termed a “mastery” event.  It consists of the small skills needed to manage a dog successfully in everyday life, especially around the home and in urban areas.  It is expected that most handlers and dogs should be able to pass readily with adequate preparation.  While it is hoped that handlers and their dogs may be motivated to carry over the training skills of rally into other training endeavours, the skills achieved are valuable of themselves.  In more advanced events, handlers and dogs fluent in the skills of rally have a decided advantage in training and competition of all types, not just obedience.

Most important of all, rally is intended to create fun and a positive attitude toward obedience training.  Both novice and experienced handlers may use it to encourage and involve their dogs in interacting with them.  As in real life, if needed, a handler may attempt a station a second or third time, and still achieve success.  The performance is also timed, which lends the excitement and fun of a race for the more accomplished participants and their dogs.   While only winning scores are divided according to times, the best handlers and dogs enjoy seeing how quickly and accurately they can carry out the assigned tasks.  The enthusiasm created motivates handlers and dogs to cooperate with each other, and is especially valuable for participants in more demanding and complex training.

Bringing Canadian Kennel Club Rally Obedience into existence should assist the CKC in promoting the advantages of dog training to the public and all dog owners.

 

Used with permission by the Rally Obedience Committee

With thanks to Norma Hamilton

 


 

To view a Rally A competitor, used with permission, please click here.