Rally (previously known as Rally Obedience or Rally-O) is a dog sport based on obedience trialling. It was originally devised by Charles L. "Bud" Kramer from the obedience practice of "doodling" - doing a variety of interesting warm up and freestyle exercises.
Unlike regular obedience, instead of waiting for the judge's orders, the competitors proceed around a course of designated stations with the dog in heel position. The course consists of 10 to 24 signs that instruct the team what to do. Unlike traditional obedience, handlers are allowed to encourage their dogs during the course.
The rally course is designed by the judge and are different in every trial. Exhibitors receive a course map from the judge and can walk the course without their dogs prior to the start of the class. Judges design their courses by choosing from 76 different stations that direct handlers and dogs to perform specific exercises.
A sign at each station gives instructions to the dog-handler team, and each team must execute the station's particular task within approximately 0.5 to 1 metre of the sign. Once at the “Start” Sign the judge gives the command "forward," the dog and handler complete the course on their own without further commands from the judge. Handlers may not use treats or toys in the ring. Dogs in Rally events should demonstrate willingness and enjoyment. To that end, Handlers may use verbal praise and encouragement of the dog on the Rally course.
Call Front - Forward Left: the handler stops his forward motion and calls the dog to the front position, then moves forward while commanding the dog to move left into heel position falling into step with the handler.
Halt - 1, 2, 3 Steps Forward: After a halt, the handler takes one step forward, halts, 2 steps, halts, 3 steps and halts. The dog heels with the handler and sits each time the handler halts.
Spiral Right: The handler, with dog in heel, makes a sequence of right turns around a line of 3-4 pylons, with the first two turns around the end pylons and each successive turn on one end getting tighter and tighter.
Signs instruct teams to go fast or slow, to halt (dog must sit at heel), to make turns and circles, to reverse direction, to do a sit-stay-recall, or to follow other basic obedience exercises.
There are 76 different signs which might be seen in a Rally course, primarily variations on basic heel exercises and other Novice Obedience skills. Many of the stations involve activities you are probably familiar with; such as Slow/Normal/Fast Pace Heel, Halt, Left/Right/About Turn, and Finish Right/Left. Others are simple extensions, such as 270° and 360° Right/Left Turns, Straight Figure Eight, and Send over Jumps.
- Call Front - Forward Left: the handler stops his forward motion and calls the dog to the front position, then moves forward while commanding the dog to move left into heel position falling into step with the handler.
- Halt - 1, 2, 3 Steps Forward: After a halt, the handler takes one step forward, halts, 2 steps, halts, 3 steps and halts. The dog heels with the handler and sits each time the handler halts.
- Spiral Right - The handler, with dog in heel, makes a sequence of right turns around a line of 3-4 pylons, with the first two turns around the end pylons and each successive turn on one end getting tighter and tighter.
In Rally, the team starts with 100 points, and the judge deducts points for mistakes. After qualifying the required number of times (varies at each level) the dog earns a title which appears after the dog's registered name. Each qualifying trial earned is known as a "leg."
If two teams achieve the same score, the judge determines the placements according to the time recorded for each team's course completion
There are four levels in Rally:
- Novice, the beginner's class. The dog is on leash and there are 10 to 15 stations, the title is Rally Novice.
- Advanced, for dogs who have completed their Rally Novice title. Dogs are judged off leash, there are 12 to 17 stations including 1 jump, and the title is Rally Advanced.
- Excellent, for dogs who have earned their Advanced title. 15 to 20 stations, including 2 jumps are used in this class and the title is Rally Excellent.
- Master, for dogs who have earned their Excellent title, 18 to 24 stations, and the title is Rally Master. There are no jumps in the Rally Master Class.
Additionally, there is an optional Rally Advanced Excellent (RAE) title, in which the team has to qualify in both Advanced and Excellent in 5 trials.
There is also a Rally Championship title which the dog scores 90 points and above in the Master Level.
Link to current ANKC Rally Rules ---> Rally Rule Book 2021