Updated date:

The Pleasure & Benefits of Rally Training

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

Melanie Reynnells with wA VN GCh Top Shelf's Hit and Run, CDX, RE, WRD, DD3, TDD in Rally Advanced B at the 2009 National Specialty

Melanie Reynnells with wA VN GCh Top Shelf's Hit and Run, CDX, RE, WRD, DD3, TDD in Rally Advanced B at the 2009 National Specialty

Rally, like all performance events, is an evolving sport with multiple and various benefits to offer for you nd your dog. Training and competing in Rally can greatly increase the level of teamwork between you and your dog. Rally can also have a significant impact on future partnership with your dog, expanding your dog's repertoire with skills that apply to so many other sports and activities of daily living. The sport is wonderful for impacting and improving communication with your dog and building your relationship with your dog.

There is practically unlimited communication with your dog allowed in Rally, with a wide variety of communication tools for your use, with very few restrictions. This makes Rally an ideal venue for shy or timid dogs, offering fairly low stress situations in which your dog can gain confidence. You may give repeated commands and talk to or praise your dog throughout your Rally run, although pleading with your dog, or slowness by your dog in responding to your command or direction is penalized. "Pleading" in Rally is defined as repeated urgent commands and/or signals to elicit the proper behavior from the dog while the dog remains unresponsive to handler's commands and/or signals. Most of us who have lived with dogs call that selective hearing!

During Rally competition you may use hand signals and even body movement to aid or influence your dogs performance, however "luring" is penalized. "Luring" is defined as the appearance of having a reward in hand, e.g. holding the thumb and first two fingers together as if holding a treat. Food may never be brought into a Rally ring. You may clap your hands or pat your leg unless you are working at the excellent level and then neither is allowed. You may even make kissing or clicking noises for your dog, however whistling, as in all AKC venues, is never allowed. Loud or intimidating commands are penalized.

Melanie Reynnells & Twister competing in Rally Novice B

Melanie Reynnells & Twister competing in Rally Novice B

Rally is a low impact sport which is very amenable to aging dogs or dogs who may be recovering from injury. There is no jumping in the novice level of rally, and jumps are set at a maximum of 16" at the advanced and excellent level. One jump is performed in the advanced level. Two jumps are preformed in the excellent level. Failure to jump is an "IP" or "Incorrectly Performed" error which is 10 points off, but not a non-qualifying error.

Rally is a great way to introduce a new or young dog to the competition atmosphere, or to continue having fun with a veteran dog that enjoys going out and about and strutting their stuff" It is a great sport for keeping your dog active during down time between the more weather sensitive activities like water training! Those of us living in the colder parts of the country appreciate an indoor activity that can be trained during the long winters.

A challenging Rally course is exciting and fun. I always wish my dog and I could run the course again once we are finished! My dogs have always trained and shown in Rally with apparent, obvious enjoyment. What a great feeling! Rally training and competition is a very positive experience for us both, myself and my dog, and aids in building a responsive and cooperative partnership in all the things we do together.

The dogs training and showing in Rally show a high level of engagement and willingness to work together with their handlers.

A smooth, happy partnership performance is a joy to watch! If you haven't yet had the chance to try Rally, I encourage you
to give it a try!

Rally Information from the AKC