Get there early. Bring a light folding chair, her crate if allowed. Give her plenty of opportunity to potty in an appropriate spot. I do not give them a ton of water before going into the ring if we are showing outside. Inside is less of a problem as they are house trained.
If it is a warm day, bring her dish and water from home.
Enjoy watching the other classes. (It's ok to think "We can do that")
If you are there alone, Crate your dog either near the ring, or park near enough to the ring to crate her during the walk through.
If you have a buddy, bring them along and have them hold her while you do the walk through. Do the walk through until they kick you out of the ring. Ok, just keep going until the judge says that they will be starting, three times minimum. You should have 10 minutes for the walk-through, so you should get through it 3 times easy.
Ask the judge if you have a question. They can't really teach you how to do the signs, but they will tell you what they prefer. The judges in AKC Rally are all really nice for the most part. They are there to help you, not to NQ you.
If you are using a prong or a halti or a harness, remove it before you enter the grounds. They are not allowed on the dog at the show.
If your collar has tags on it, remove it. I use a special light leather martingale and leash for showing. Collars with license and rabies tags are nice, but they cannot dangle from your dog. So unless yours are screwed onto the collar itself, use a different collar for ring-time.
Be more concerned with getting the signs right than how fast you are going. The dog will probably do a little better if you are going at a good clip, but it is more important to not miss anything than time. Time is only considered in the event of a tie.
Praise your dog and have fun. This isn't the end of the world no matter what happens. You will probably be better prepared with a better trained dog than a lot of people there. Try not to over-think anything.
I NQ'd on my first try because I blew by a sign. I was not the only one to NQ and I did great with the second dog that was showing, but I was nervous and flustered, and the judge told me I couldn't have tags on the dog's collar so I had to run back to the car and get another collar, and while I was going through the ring with the one, I was thinking how I would have to do that with the other as well, and I blew by a sign. That probably wouldn't have happened if I did the walk through more than once, but I was the first person to do a run.
Again, have fun. Praise your dog. Rally is great, and there are a lot of fun people doing Rally.
Heidi Ho, Odie
Joy-Joy, Bear Cub, Hepsi-Pepsi
Cujo2, Karma Chameleon
Ramona the Pest, Kojak -- who loves you baby?
Tiny Tinnie, Susie's Uzzi, Kaiah -- The Baby Monster.