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agility trials
obedience training
many different types
dog shows
high scores
rest of the world
How To Train A Dog For Rally Competition
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How to Train a Dog for Rally Competition

There are many different types of competitions that you can enter with your dog. Some dogs excel at their breed standard and are entered in Dog Shows, others have very high drive and do well at the agility trials. Some dogs like to jump or retrieve, Air Dog competition works well for these dogs. I would like to discuss a little know sport called Rally Obedience and how to train a dog for Rally Competition.

AKC Rally is obedience training for the rest of the world. It is not as difficult to train your dog for Rally, the novice level is all done on lead so you can give Rally a try without a perfect dog. Rally Competition is designed to be fun for you and the dog. Standard obedience Trials require your dog to be the best of the best. The trials are designed so that any infraction of the rigorous rules are severely scored. If your dog isn't absolutely solid in the behaviors and works like a robot Obedience trials are over most peoples training level.

Rally Obedience ( Rally-O) is much easier. Yes there are penalties for your dog not doing a perfect job but the penalties are much less severe. The novice level is done on lead, when you qualify ( a score over 70%) a ribbon is awarded. For the precise dogs with the high scores, time to complete the course is used as a tiebreaker.

Rally-O is a course that is set up with signs at each station telling you what it is that is needed. The behaviors vary from a Right turn or a 270 degree turn to more advanced behaviors like Halt, Down your dog, walk around it, sit your dog and move on. The more complicated behavior chains are reserved for the intermediate and Advanced levels. Talking to your dog is encouraged and you can use any signals you want. The only things that are prohibited are treats on the course and forcing your dog into position.

To train for this competition download a set of signs from the AKC website, find some like minded trainers and walk through the various behaviors until your dog has seen most of them. When training use treats liberally and lure the dog through the behaviors that are on the signs. Eventually, you will want to set up a sample course of five or six signs in a row and walk the course without treats. Reward liberally after the dog completes the course. This way it won't expect treats on the course.

Rally competition is a wonderful way to spend time with your dog, engage its mind in a non-threatening way. It is not difficult to learn how to train a dog to do Rally Obedience. Give it a try and I bet you too will be hooked.


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