Rally Obedience (Rally O)
What is Rally O?
The best description is probably the one given in the official rules. To quote:
The chief objective of Rally is to provide a fast-moving and motivational sport for both handler and dog that demonstrates a handler and dog’s competency in basic obedience exercises without requiring exact precision for success. Dogs in Rally should demonstrate willingness and enjoyment. To that end, handlers may use verbal and physical praise and encouragement throughout the Rally course.
A Rally course consists of between ten and twenty numbered stations (depending on the level) which the handler and dog must complete in order and in their own time. Each "station" is marked with a sign which prompts the handler. All the stations are made up of exercises that are a part of traditional obedience but which, unlike a heel routine, do not require prolonged concentration on the dog's part. The dog can also receive positive feedback throughout the course and such communication is encouraged.
Each dog and handler begins with one hundred points, and points are deducted for errors. A final score of seventy or more is a pass.
Novice Rally O is performed on lead and requires the dog to be trained to approximately CCD level and conditioned to work in the presence of other dogs. However, commands and signals can be given for all actions (including sit at heel) and may be repeated. While dogs are expected to heel between stations, strict heel position is not required.
Rally Advanced and Rally Excellent require a dog to be trained to approximately Novice (CD) obedience since the stations are performed off lead. These classes also contain more difficult exercises. In all classes there is a strong emphasis on teamwork and a positive relationship between handler and dog.
The rules which govern Rally classes in Trials can be found on the ANKC website at http://ankc.org.au/media/1094/12250rallyo_rules_feb_14.pdf.
Training for Rally O takes place most Sundays as part of advanced training and requires a dog to be at least at class 2A level to take part. Most handlers spend about half the session at Rally and the rest of the session at their usual class.