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Rally and the Seasoned Dog

The Newfoundland Club of America—responsible for the preservation, protection and welfare of the Newfoundland Dog in America since 1930.


Rally is a great sport to use at different levels of a dog's training and age. For young dogs this is a great event to get that young dog into the ring and compete. It gives you ring time. But the great thing about the ring time is that you can talk with your dog the whole time you are in the ring. But what about those older dogs that you have "retired"? Not all dogs need to continue to work but few in my house don't. They still really want to go to events, and "retired" is not in their vocabulary. They have that great bond with you, and working with you is a habit they have had for many years. So there are dogs that have been working with you for years, and then suddenly you stop. They don't want to stop.

Well, I have had a number of dogs that would get upset when we would leave them at home to go to various dog events. If I was gone overnight, they wouldn't eat much and would mope around the house. So as a compromise, I would take them and leave them in the car. Then, if you went to the car to check on them, they would get all excited and think it was their turn which it wasn't. It was very sad all the way around. How could you say no when they were so excited and wanted to show you that they could still do it? So I entered them in rally. When we would work on RAE (Rally Advanced Excellent) legs, the dog would be very happy as if telling me "yes, I am in the building and I am strutting my stuff". Think of the Newfoundland version of the Snoopy dance.

Many times that dog would be so ready to work with you that our scores were high and times were great. And as the age advanced and they were not as spry, the times would slow down. So what? This is a time to connect with your old and faithful friend doing what the two of you enjoy ! It is just the two of you in the ring, and your companion is so happy to be with you. You have trained and worked together their whole life. This is what they think their life is and showing you that they can still do it. At the NCA National 2014 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, our Brite at one month short of her tenth birthday placed second in Rally Excellent B and first in Advanced B.

Why not let them come to training once in awhile with you and that new young whippersnapper? They can show that youngster a thing or two. Then, let them compete. They have earned it.

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