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Exercising Your Dog: Are You Ready to “Rally?”

Reviewed by Robert M. DuFort, DVM, DACVIM on Friday, October 14, 2016
Posted October 27, 2016 in Dog Behavior

If you’re looking for a fun sport to engage in with your dog that’s physically easy and emphasizes building a strong relationship with a positive spin, Rally may be the event for you!  

Rally comes in many forms and is offered by several venues but most operate along the same general principles. You follow through a course with numbered signs that indicate different behavior for you and your dog to perform. As you advanced through the program, the behaviors will become more difficult and increase in number. Some typical signs you might see are heeling, making turns, walking in a figure eight pattern, and combinations of sit, down and stand. As you move up there is even some agility that involves jumps.

agility training can help dogs like this stay well behaved

Why is Rally great for dogs?
What makes Rally different from “traditional” competitive obedience is the emphasis on fun and your interaction with your dog. You cannot reward your dog with treats, toys or other items during the course, but you can talk to your dog and encourage him along the way. Another great thing about Rally is that all dogs can compete, including mixed breeds. All ages of dogs and people are encouraged as well. Many venues even allow accommodations for dogs and people with disabilities, and it’s a fairly low impact sport so you and your dog don’t need to be prime physical specimens to excel.

Sarah Filipiak, CDBC, of Best Pets Dog Training (Athens, OH), and an active Rally trainer and competitor, encourages dog guardians to give Rally a try: “Rally is a fun way to sharpen your dog's obedience skills and to practice high-stakes behaviors, like recall and stay, in a supportive environment. You don't need to invest in any expensive equipment or fancy gear to participate in Rally. You only need your dog, a collar, leash, and some treats -- a clicker is optional. My dogs are more focused on me in public, and more eager to offer appropriate behavior, as a result of our Rally training."

If you find you enjoy Rally and want to take the plunge into competition, Rally can be good option for the first-time, intimidated competitor. “Rally trials are friendly events where there is a real sense of camaraderie among competitors. Dog/handler teams can even retry exercises and still qualify, and teams can stay in any level as long as they like until they feel comfortable moving up,” says Ann Allums, Rally Coordinator for World Cynosport Rally.

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Mychelle has more than 13 years of experience in the pet health industry and is a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant as well as a valued member of IDEXX’s Pet Health Network team since 2014.

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The opinions and views expressed in this post are those of the author's and do not necessarily represent the beliefs, policies or positions of all veterinarians, Pet Health Network, IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. or its affiliates and partner companies.