Rally Newbie - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-03-2017, 09:48 PM Thread Starter
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Rally Newbie

So I am in the midst of trying all sorts of new things to do with my dogs. I have spent a ridiculous amount of my adult life doing SAR, and to be honest, I am a bit done with the responsibility. Any way, so I am trying just about everything fun the dog world has to offer.

I am training my boy in Noseworks, he has titled in Barn Hunt, and now we are in a Rally class. I am having a blast. I love the idea of doing fun things with no pressure. Yes, trialing is pressure, but noone dies of I mess up. So thats a load off my shoulders.

Tonight we went to our second Rally class and again had a great time. Nix is having fun and I am learning a lot about how I handle and some fun tricks of the "trade". Nix can be a douche to dogs, he is never "out for a fight" but he does not like dogs up in his face, he gets a bit over stimulated when another dog is playing and he is not. So its been a challenge in the busy class to keep him focused. He has been great as long as I "have him" So once I get him focused and keep moving he has zero issue no matter whats going on around him. But, I am still learning the rules and signs and sometime I have to stop and think, and then I lose him for a second and have to work on getting him back.

Our biggest challenge right now is the "recall". The signs we have been using have us moving forward and then a sudden recall. He is so focused on heeling that when I suddenly back up he tries to get back in to heel position. So I am working hard on teaching him the "heir" as a position in the same way I taught "fuss" as a position. But its a bit slow going.

I plan on entering, for giggles, an actual trial, in a month. Worse case scenario he makes a total fool of me and we dont get a Q. But this dog is a pro at making a fool of me, and I have always survived. LOL. Novice is all on leash, so It cant get dangerous. LOL

Any suggestion for a newbie? I think I would like ot at leats get through advanced and then maybe try my hand at AKC Obedience titles.

"So that others may live"

Hannah vom Steffenhaus, BH, Wilderness SAR
Eisenhower v.d Polizei "Ike" Wilderness SAR, CGC
B'Lena z. Treuenhanden
Nixon vom Banach, RATN
Phoster, FEMA USAR(Labrador)
Ch. Pennywise Sticky Wicket(Dandie Dinmont Terrier)
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-03-2017, 11:41 PM
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Sounds like you're going about it right. I would remove the "sudden" out of the interpretation/perfoming the behaviors of the recall on those signs and maybe slow it dow a little. Not sure your classes are set to go through the signs at all three levels (Four-five levels come November) or if you're through the Novice group first, then the Advance, and so on.

All of the novice signs allow the one-two steps back when doing the recall. May want to use more steps while practicing the recall parts of the signs and then wean back to the one-two steps. The advance level has several signs where you stop before doing the recall and the dog must come to front without you taking any steps back. There is also a back-up three steps in the excellent level so having your dog wanting to maintain heel position sounds like a good thing though it poses challenges for front recalls from the side.

Do you use luring to try to get the dog to come around to front? If not, you may want to try using that for a short period ot time.

In one session last week, we put all the recall signs in the Novice and Advance levels out on course so folks could work on them and see some of the differences and work on the right and left finishes as well.

AKC is adding new signs for all levels effective November. If your classes have not incorporated them yet, you may want to start adding them in your training.

Have fun wih it.

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-04-2017, 12:03 AM
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We are not new to rally, but today was my first day working with Ranger and we have our work cut out for us. He knows most of what he's being asked, but it's been 3+years since his last class (of any kind).
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-08-2017, 11:49 AM
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For the call front, try using a hand signal (giving him a target to follow), as well as the verbal, until he get the idea. At Excellent level, they will have to back up in heel position.

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-08-2017, 01:33 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks all- he is slowly but surely getting the "heir" as a position. I am using my two hands in front of me as the "signal" for what I want. I had been using a 6 foot leash, but that seemed cumbersome and hard to manage. So I am now using a 4 foot leash and that is going better. I am using food and he is thrilled with that and happy enough to take them. Its not so much a sudden change, its just that he gets so fcused on heeling that he doesnt hear the new command and when he realizes i am not where I am supposed to be he quick tries to get back into heel position. So I think its as much about being clear in my handling and commands.

I guess I need to start calling to "heir" from a "heel" position, never thought I would need that, but as long as I am working on "heir" as a position I might as well incorpoporate it.

The class has all levels, so we have 2 signs next to each other in each course. As a novice we are pulled out and go on our own, with an instructor, and then switch rings and the more advanced dogs use their signs, then in a thrid ring, the very high levels are working on their own with retrieves and such. I wont be there for a while. LOL

I think I will be the downfall. I need to keep moving, but I am still learning how to read and process the signs so i often have to stop and think about it. But I think the more courses i run and the more I get used to it, we will do fine. But then its always the handler making the mistakes. LOL I am right now doing multiple 3-5 minute sessions a day on different tasks. I was actually pleasantly surprised at how quick he picked up the different "finishes" and the different change in directions. I had trained them all in the "european" style, for IPO, so teaching a different way was weird for me, but he picked it up super quick. Just gave it a different word. Hopefully I dont mess up in trial, but I think its ok.

"So that others may live"

Hannah vom Steffenhaus, BH, Wilderness SAR
Eisenhower v.d Polizei "Ike" Wilderness SAR, CGC
B'Lena z. Treuenhanden
Nixon vom Banach, RATN
Phoster, FEMA USAR(Labrador)
Ch. Pennywise Sticky Wicket(Dandie Dinmont Terrier)
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-08-2017, 02:12 PM
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If you can have someone video your practice runs it'll give you tons of info. Lot easier to see what you need to improve on than to have someone to explain it, at least for me it is. Be aware that your short leash does not become tight. It's only a point, but it can add up. Don't worry about messing up, I do it regularly, you get used to it, lol
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-08-2017, 02:28 PM
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When we took a rally class last year the instructor gave us print outs of the signs and encouraged us to use them to practice without the dog.Sounds silly but worked for me! During a trial my memory/muscle memory kicks in and we sail through the course confidently and don't hesitate and lose focus.

Terri

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-08-2017, 02:41 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by dogma13 View Post
When we took a rally class last year the instructor gave us print outs of the signs and encouraged us to use them to practice without the dog.Sounds silly but worked for me! During a trial my memory/muscle memory kicks in and we sail through the course confidently and don't hesitate and lose focus.
Yeah, I am going to invest in some signs to practice with. I know they are adding new ones, so I need to make sure I get those as well.

Also, Nigel, yes, I need to get someone to video me. It has always been a great way to learn for me. Used to do it with my horseback riding. maybe I will ask one of my classmates to film me when I run the course.

"So that others may live"

Hannah vom Steffenhaus, BH, Wilderness SAR
Eisenhower v.d Polizei "Ike" Wilderness SAR, CGC
B'Lena z. Treuenhanden
Nixon vom Banach, RATN
Phoster, FEMA USAR(Labrador)
Ch. Pennywise Sticky Wicket(Dandie Dinmont Terrier)
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-08-2017, 03:03 PM
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I use, ComeFront, as I back up three steps or so. Start with a treat or toy, and I use the word I use with recall, COME, and add the Front, so that he sits, directly in front. I suppose you could used ComeSit, kind of all as one word. It's so quick that when you say, Come, the dog is already turning and coming toward you, and then sit.

I have trained this as a stationary sign, I think there is this in Rally advanced. That might be easier for you. With a treat or toy, while you are standing still, move it out in front of you, and say, FRONT or FrontSit -- Double-commands are not penalized in rally, but do-overs are. Using FrontSit as your command or ComeSit. Is not really a double command anyway. But you lure the dog out and turn him in front of you and finish in the sit position, close enough to touch the collar or pet the head, and praise and treat if you are using them.

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-15-2017, 11:23 PM
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Hi, we are relatively new here and Samantha is an Australian Shepherd. Our purpose is to be among " real" trainers. There aren't any devoted Aussie training forums, at least not that I could find. So hopefully we can learn some and give some here.

Now for Rally. After a lifetime of competitive sports I simply have had enough and was really looking to just train for fun and exercise. I happened to see a Rally trial one day and while it looked like fun I really didn't understand it. I inquired a little and did a massive Internet search.

I decided to at least go and watch some Rally training classes. I went to three different training centers offer Rally courses. All use basically the same methods. The instructor sets up .three courses novice, advanced and expert. The group gets to walk thru just like a trial and ask questions. Then depending on which level you are or want to try, you get to run a course. The instructor helps some, more on the novice level than the others. The end result in a hour or hour and a half you might get four run throughs. About eight minutes if you are dragging your feet or having trouble. The rest of the time you hold your dog and watch or maybe get to practice in another ring. Most of the times however there is a full house.

The end result is a lot of standing around and trying to hear what us being said. I don't hear well at all so the best I get is visual information.
My first question is, is this what y'all are getting in your classes or do you get individual help? I know some signs are pretty basic but never the less require some practice and precision.

We took a block of lessons at all three centers and got somewhat a handle of what is required to enter a trial. As it turns out before this Sam and I have been training for three years and she is very good at basic obedience and streetwise obedience. I've added numerous other exercises of my own even a couple SCH obedience things. I even use a few German commands. About the only thing we had not done or practiced were " fronts" . Aussies don't take to harsh negative training well at all. All of our training is very positive...even though I do use a prong. It's only on a tab, never more than two fingers rattling the chain for a reminder. Sam's fur is so thick around her neck that her flat collar mats badly and I have to remove it when at home. She never has the prong on when not training. Obviously it can't be used in the ring so we don't use it. Enough about that.

Anyway I put together a few courses based on those I saw at a few trials I went to. We practiced as many novice exercises as we can on our daily walks. So at one of the classes I asked the instructor if we could run a novice course cold...no walk through and she would judge us. Mainly I wanted to see where we are as beginners. So we ran her novice course. First team of the evening. Sam did very well, even I did ok. She liked how quickly Sam responded to commands. The only thing she said was that we need a shorter leash about four feet and leather. It's stiffer and handles better in novice. Not needed beyond novice except entering and leaving the ring. It's still nicer. So we now have nice shorter ring leash.

Anyway that's where we are. We won't trial until we can do expert level. It just my competitiveness, I like to practice until I have the event down pat, that way I'm prepared to deal with changes and surprises calmly and effectively. The military says enter the battle with plan A, it will fail with the first shot, be ready with plan B, when it fails, implement plan C, when it fails, then create plan D as you go.

Recently Ive reinjured my knee so I have to be extremely careful,about quick moves. I have a new knee brace coming shortly so I'll have to get used to it. I work part time and that's also interfering with class time. Plan D , Frankly, I can mark numbers on the parking lot and use a map for exercises more effectively than endless run throughs so I'm not worried about class time.
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