Rally Obedience Preparing Your Dog

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Rally Obedience Preparing Your Dog

by Michael Russell

It used to be when you participated in an A.K.C. Obedience Trial there was a set pattern that you followed. This pattern has never allowed for a positive reward experience for your dog while in the ring. The new sport of Rally Obedience now allows for the handler to speak to the dog, clap, whistle, or otherwise encourage the dog as long as the handler does not physically touch the dog or give him treats. Just this fact alone has helped to reduce the tension that often precedes a performance and the exhibitor feels more relaxed. Furthermore the courses may be set up differently at each show, thus training for the event is not as boring for the dog.

The basic exercises must still be performed by the dog but the rules are less stringent. The course consists of over a dozen options of exercises which are designated by signs at various "stations" within the ring. Each "station" requires a different performance on the part of the handler and the dog. Each exercise will allow some leeway for performance of the exercise, as long as it is performed within a certain distance from the sign.

The handler and dog must have a knowledge of the basic obedience exercises to participate in the beginning levels. At the beginning levels these exercises may be performed on leash. The dog needs to know "Sit" and a verbal command may be used. The Sit must be performed at the handlers left side and also the Sit will be used in front when the dog is called to the front position. The Dog must know "Heel". Here again, this may be verbally commanded. The dog must be able to walk in the Heel position at a slow pace and a fast pace. Various performances at the stations may require a series of heeling patterns around cones or in between posts. Some agility types of exercises may be required. Some of the stations will require that the dog know the command for "Stay" either in the sit or down position and there are also exercises which require the left turn, the right turn and the about turn. The exercises progress to higher levels of difficulty for the advanced handlers, all of these must be performed off leash.

The courses are different at each dog show and each handler may have the chance to do a walk through of the course before he competes. The handler and dog will automatically have 100 points assigned before they begin the course and points are deducted for missed performances or exercises that are done incorrectly. Although the exercises all combine the standard obedience exercises which have always been required at A.K.C. Obedience Trials, the vast majority of people who have entered a Rally Obedience Trial have found that the event is much more rewarding than the standard exercises. The reason for this is that the handler may speak to the dog and use voice tones for approval or disapproval. The whole event seems to be much less formalized and allows for more leeway and the exhibitors who have participated have almost always had nothing but good things to say about their experience.

Michael Russell
Your Independent guide to Dog Training

Michael Russell - EzineArticles Expert Author

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