Monday, August 12, 2013

Savi rocks the Rally-O ring

Thirteen weeks after whelping a litter of seven pups, Savi was back in action, making her debut in the Rally ring.  Honestly, we have never trained for rally and even though I winged it over 5 years ago and put a Rally Novice title on Trixie, in a weekend with 3 2nd placements, Rally is alien to me and a lot has changed since we last did it.  I've been practicing obedience with Savi, hoping to finish her CD title and thought the since we were going to the Harrisburg cluster of shows, entering her in rally would be a fun way to get her back into a show ring.  The other competitors and the judge were terrific and very helpful in explaining the meaning of some of the signs that I had questions about.  I knew she would qualify as she has the skills to do well in Rally Novice (the lowest level) but what a pleasant surprise to hear that she was in 2nd place with a terrific score of 98 (out of 100).  Very proud of my girl!  She just needs two more qualifying legs to earn her Rally Novice (RN) title.

For those who are unfamiliar with Rally, here is an explanation from the AKC:

Getting Started in Rally

Rally is a sport in which the dog and handler complete a course that has been designed by the rally judge. The judge tells the handler to begin, and the dog and handler proceed at their own pace through a course of designated stations (10 - 20, depending on the level). Each of these stations has a sign providing instructions regarding the next skill that is to be performed. Scoring is not as rigorous as traditional obedience.
The team of dog and handler moves continuously at a brisk, but normal, pace with the dog under control at the handler's left side. There should be a sense of teamwork between the dog and handler both during the numbered exercises and between the exercise signs; however, perfect "heel position" is not required. Any faults in traditional obedience that would be evaluated and scored as a one-point deduction or more should be scored the same in Rally, unless otherwise mentioned in the Rally Regulations. After the judge's "Forward" order, the team is on its own to complete the entire sequence of numbered signs correctly.
Unlimited communication from the handler to the dog is to be encouraged and not penalized. Unless otherwise specified in these Regulations, handlers are permitted to talk, praise, encourage, clap their hands, pat their legs, or use any verbal means of encouragement. Multiple commands and/or signals using one or both arms and hands are allowed; the handler's arms need not be maintained in any particular position at any time. The handler may not touch the dog or make physical corrections. At any time during the performance, loud or harsh commands or intimidating signals will be penalized.
Rally provides a link from the Canine Good Citizen® (CGC) program to obedience or agility competition, both for dogs and handlers. In addition, rally promotes fun and enjoyment for dogs at all levels of competition.

What is Rally?

AKC Rally is the new dog sport that is taking the nation by storm, a successful stepping stone from the AKC Canine Good Citizen® program to the world of obedience or agility. Rally offers both the dogs and handlers an experience that is fun and energizing. The canine team moves at their own pace, very similar to rally-style auto racing. Rally was designed with the traditional pet owner in mind, but it can still be very challenging for those who enjoy higher levels of competition.
A rally course includes 10 to 20 stations, depending on the level. Scoring is not as rigorous as traditional obedience. Communication between handler and dog is encouraged and perfect heel position is not required, but there should be a sense of teamwork between the dog and handler. The main objective of rally is to produce dogs that have been trained to behave in the home, in public places, and in the presence of other dogs, in a manner that will reflect positively on the sport of rally at all times and under all conditions.

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