Rally is a fun obedience competition based on competitors following a course of signs set by a judge. Each sign indicates a different exercise for the handler to perform with their dog, for example, “fast pace” or “sit – stand” at Level 1. The handler moves around the course from sign to sign at a brisk walk without any other instructions from the judge.
There are 6 levels of Rally competition with Level 1 being the easiest. Levels 1 and 2 are performed on lead, while Levels 3 and above are off-lead. Higher level signs may include small jumps or distractions. Each competitor starts with 200 points and the judge deducts points for any “faults” (e.g. tight lead, distracted). To gain further points there is an optional bonus sign. As well as competing against each other, competitors aim for a “qualifying” score or an “excellent” score at each level. Progress up the levels is achieved by gaining qualifying scores.
If you enjoy training your Smooth Collie you will probably enjoy rally! At the lower levels you should aim for good basic obedience and a loose lead walk to gain good marks. Verbal praise is permitted in Rally competitions which may help your Smooth Collie to maintain concentration and enthusiasm!
Personal experience of Rally
We bought our first Smooth Collie (Echo) almost 3 years ago, and two years later an adult Smooth Collie (Storm) joined our family. I started Good Citizen classes with Storm and he progressed quickly proving to be a bright, responsive dog so I decided to try Rally.
Unfortunately I could not attend the local rally classes regularly but I managed to attend one class before our first competition which enabled me to ask lots of questions and practice on a small course. As the competition approached I posted a question on the Rally Facebook page and was amazed to receive responses from lots of very friendly fellow competitors willing to help and give advice.
On the day I was greeted by two other members of the Rough and Smooth Collie Training Association (RSCTA) who provided invaluable help to a newcomer – holding my dog while I walked the course, helpfully pointing out that I had the wrong type of collar and even lending me an appropriate collar for my class! I was thrilled with Storm’s mark in his first competition – 206 points – which was an “excellent” score . He came 5th in his class. Storm had definitely proved he had Rally potential!
I enjoy setting aims for our training and hope to progress with Storm up the levels and start competing with Echo too.
Frances & Storm