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Dakota and I are about to start our first adventure in rally. The class starts April 3. Novice 1. We have done puppy class, basic 1 and basic 2. I mainly signed up to keep her busy and to help fine tune her obedience, if that make sense. My question is, is there anything special I should know or do? I do not plan on competing but being of a competitive nature plans can change. I've only ever seem rally on you tube, I know dangerous.
She is a very smart dog and takes to things well and quickly. I on the other hand didn't plan to go this far with her and didn't care about fine tuning things like her sitting perpendicular to me, sometimes she'll turn slightly to face me, when I stop.
Also can someone explain how points are deducted? I have heard most points are lost due to the handler and not the dog. Maybe I'm going about this wrong and she should be taking me to a handler class. Thank you. Alan
 

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I compete my dogs in WCRL Rally. Nicest people in the world. Judges are also just so nice and supportive. Even competitors with ARCHEX dogs, so friendly and not snobby at all. Some people simultaneously competing in higher level AKC OB too.

Out of position sits and downs are a 1 point deduction I think but if the dog really swings all the way in front that is an actual front, and I think if the dog fails the "halt-sit" it's an NQ in WCRL. But I am sure your class would teach you how to get your dog to sit properly at heel.

Depending on the severity of the "out of position", you can still qualify but if you happen to be in a B class against dogs like above, you won't get in the ribbons.

I am not competitive at all but I do find the skills really useful in everyday life with my dogs...can take them in a store and they can walk in a nice heel and maneuver if necessary to get out of someone's way or whatever, I can cue them to get into heel, down, finish right whatever, make sit easy to do stuff with them.

Have fun, good luck!
 

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Rally is fun and useful even if you don't compete,like cbg said.You need 70 points out of 100 to qualify in a trial so a few crooked sits won't dq you.Have the trainer show you how to straighten them up.
If you memorize the signs and practice them without your dog your muscle memory will get you through a course smoothly.The most frequent reason for not qualifying in my experience is for not keeping a loose leash.Enjoy your class and we love updates:)
 

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My boy and I had our first Rally class this past Monday. I am looking for new and fun things to do with my dogs( after years in the very serious SAR world) and figured I would give it a go!

It was a super busy class. the kennel club I am going through mixes beginners and advanced, they just use different signs, so there were people of all levels there. luckily they pulled us novice Rally people out and had us run the course separate.

My boy can be a bit of jerk. He gets worked up around lots of new dogs. So we stayed to the side. But I was super impressed with how quick he got into "obedience" mode once we got our turns. I think the biggest thing for me was staying in my "zone", not going too far in front of or behind the signs, and making sure I knew what the next sign was. If I keep my boy engaged he does great. If I get sidetracked or confused, he starts looking around and then gets worked up about the dog 3 rings over doing something. Luckily my instructor is actually a good friend of mine. So if she noticed a newbie letting their dog stare at my boy, she would nonchalantly step inbetween and say "we dont stare here" and that would diffuse anything. She knows I have my boy, but some people newer to things like this are less vigilant of what their dogs are doing.

Although, there was a full coated Olde English Sheep Dog, and my boy had ZERO idea what the heck it was!!!

So its all going to come down to getting used to the course and keeping moving. But we had a blast. And aside from a few things I need to work on (crowding on left turns, and recalls) he was a superstar.

I think you will have a good time. Everyone was super friendly and encouraging. Which I love. I am not a "competitve" person, except to myself. So I really like to be able to have people I can joke with about failures and not feel self conscious about it.
 
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