Rally Obedience: A Great Test of Teamwork for You and Your Dog

Posted by Allie Layos
Husky dog at owner's feet
Morgan Hill Dog Sports

If you want to enjoy a fun and relaxed sport with your dog, rally obedience might be for you.

Also called Rally or Rally-O, Rally Obedience is a dog sport based on obedience, known for its focus on fun and teamwork between dog and handler.

Devised by Charles L. "Bud" Kramer, the sport originates from the warm-up exercises handlers and dogs would utilize before obedience competition.

The sport differs from traditional obedience in a variety of ways. Instead of waiting for the judge's instructions, Rally competitors proceed through 10-20 designated stations and perform various maneuvers in the rally course, which can include sitting, staying, following the dog owner in the heel position, and more.

Dog weaving through cones
Manu Dog Camp

Though handlers are not allowed to touch their dog, they are allowed to talk to and encourage their dog through voice or hand motions as much as needed, called rally signs, making the sport both relaxed and interactive.

There are currently multiple sanctioning bodies for Rally Obedience in the United States, including the American Kennel Club, World Cynosport, Canine Work and Games, and Canines and Humans United.

In AKC Rally, which is open to both AKC breeds and mixed breed dogs, each team starts with 100 points, and points are deducted for mistakes. After qualifying three times under two different judges, the dog earns a special title, which appears after the dog's registered name.

Black Lab sitting
Rogue Retrievers

There are three levels in AKC Rally: Novice, where dogs compete on leash; Advanced, where they compete off-leash; and the Excellent level, for dogs at the highest level of training, who have already earned their advanced title. Dogs can also earn the Rally Advanced Excellent title by qualifying in both Advanced and Excellent in ten trials.

If you're looking for a new way to have fun with your canine best friend, Rally may just be the answer. Check out some Rally classes and Rally events near you!

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Rally Obedience: A Great Test of Teamwork for You and Your Dog