Get an obedient dog in the fun way by trying rally obedience – one of the most popular forms of training for dogs in Denmark. Rally combines discipline with fun and strengthens the bond between you and your dog, so you get the best conditions for a long and good partnership. In a busy day, rallying is a great way to train obedience while getting exercise and fresh air.
What is rally obedience?
Rally obedience is a dog sport that trains the dog’s obedience in a fun and challenging way. Dog and owner must go through a course of exercises and obstacles, which are dictated by rally obedience signs. As an owner, you are welcome to help the dog by encouraging, praising and using body language (gesturing).
The sport combines elements of agility – completing a training course with exercises – and traditional obedience training with exercises such as deck, sit and jump. In rally obedience, it is not so much about precision, but about showing training joy and a good collaboration between dog and owner.
When must my dog start to rally obedience?
Dogs of all ages, breeds and sizes can start for rally obedience training. However, if your dog is to take part in rally competitions, he must be at least 10 months old. Before you start training in rally obedience, it is a great advantage if the dog has already learned basic commands such as “seat”, “sit”, “tire” and “stand”.
To compete in rally obedience, the dog must have the valid vaccinations against canine distemper and hepatitis. If the dog is a bitch, it must not have puppies under 8 weeks, and if it is in heat, it must start as the last.
This is how rally obedience takes place
A rally track consists of 10-20 moments – both obstacles and exercises – that the dog and owner must complete together. In the moments, one must demonstrate the dog’s joy and willingness to perform the tasks. In addition to completing the tasks, it is highly important that the dog has fun and that it can be seen. The tasks are indicated on signs around the course, which you must complete with your dog.
A rally track starts with a “Start” sign and ends with a “Goal” sign. The courses are built by the trainer and are unique, so it is not too rehearsed with the same order or the same exercises every time, but instead allows for fun and varied training. The training takes place at a leisurely pace.
The coach or event organizer must provide a course of at least 12.5 x 15 meters and preferably 18 x 25 meters on a non-slip, level surface.
When training rally obedience, it is in principle not on time. However, one can not train indefinitely as it requires a lot of concentration from the dog. At some point, most dogs get tired in the head and need a break. Club training in rally obedience can e.g. last an hour, but part of the time is also spent walking the course without a dog.
How to get points?
In rally obedience, all teams (a dog and an owner) start with 100 points, and points are deducted on an ongoing basis if mistakes are made. The winner is the team that ends up with the highest number of points. A maximum of 100 points can be obtained and it requires at least 70 points to pass. Among other things, points for excessive barking, lack of cooperation, incorrect execution, tight line, driver error, aggressive commands.
For rally competitions, the time is noted, but it is only used for judging if there is punctuality between two or more teams. The number of points is calculated based on the dog and handler’s completion of the exercises, their cooperation and the overall impression. As I said, great emphasis is placed on positivity and joy of training.
Rally obedience equipment
How much rally obedience equipment you will need depends on whether you are training at home or going to training in a club. If you want to go to rally obedience in a club (or for example with a dog trainer), it does not require much equipment to get started with this fun dog sport. All you have to do is use a line / string and a collar – the rest will make the training site available. If you train alone or privately, it requires a little more rally obedience equipment. You will need a line / string, a collar, cones, a tunnel, a jump, rally obedience signs and holders for the signs. This equipment can i.a. purchased online at dog product retailers.
It can also be a good idea to bring a blanket if it is cold for training. However, this must not be a nuisance to the dog during the passage, and its movements must still be visible. For competitions, the dog’s cover must be approved by the judge.
Rally obedience signs
As I said, a track consists of various rally obedience signs that dictate what tasks you and your dog must perform. An example of a task on a sign could be “right around”, “single slalom” or “dog turns around”.
On the Danish Kennel Club’s website you can see and download all rally obedience signs. Then you can e.g. print them out and make your own rally tracks, or just get an overview of the tasks before you and your dog start training. On the link you can also find descriptions of the rally exercises so you can understand the signs.
Rally obedience Beginner, Practice, Expert and Champion
Regardless of size, the dogs are on an equal footing with each other in the rally, as they are instead divided by level (difficulty). There are 4 different classes: Rally obedience beginner, experienced, expert and champion.
For training, the tasks are divided into these four levels of difficulty, and it is also these classes that are competed in. If you participate in an “open class” at a rally obedience competition, the tasks are a mixture of the different levels of difficulty.
If you rally obedience begins, you and your dog must complete 10-15 tasks where the dog is led on a leash. In the other classes, the dog must be led on a leash to and from the track, but the tasks themselves are carried out without. In the advanced class there are 12-17 tasks, in the expert class there are 15-20, and in the champion class there are 18-20 tasks.
In rally obedience beginner and the experienced class, unlimited communication with the dog is allowed, while in the higher classes it is only allowed to encourage and praise, but i.a. not to snap or pat.
The courses and the individual classes are based on the level of the students, and for the first training sessions the various rally obedience signs will be reviewed, so you have the best conditions to understand and complete the exercises.
If you want to train rally obedience with your dog, it may be a good idea to find a club. The clubs have equipment, different teams and experienced coaches, so you can get off to a good start. In addition, it is an opportunity to socialize with other dogs and their owners in a cozy environment.
There are rally clubs and training all over the country, so it’s just about getting started.
Fresh and healthy dog food for the active dog
An active dog needs the right fuel, and here the diet plays an important role. With fresh dog food from MÆT , you can make sure that your dog has energy for the training and that it gets the necessary nutrition for a healthy and long life.
MÆT fresh dog food is made from Nordic meat and vegetables, which are cooked mildly (sous vide). The food is less processed than traditional dog food and contains no preservatives, but plenty of healthy proteins, vitamins, minerals and fiber.
Your dog gets a delicious taste experience, a stable energy level and a better digestion.
Questions and answers