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Hi, I am looking into maybe doing rally. I don't have a GSD yet, but I am planning to get one sometime. I am basically looking for any info on rally, especially Jr. rally, so that I can learn about it and decide if I want to do it with my future pup.
 

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Do you know which organization(s) you want to compete in? In the US, the American Kennel Club is seen most often, but the United Kennel Club, the Australian Shepherd Club of America (you don't need an Aussie to compete), World Cynosport Rally Limited, Canine Works and Games, and (in a limited area) Wag-It Games also offer trials. Plus, there are at least two online organizations that offer rally titles, Cyber Rally-O (my preference) and Cyber K9. All of the organizations have more information on their websites, except for Cyber K9, which is currently run through a Facebook group.

For any organization, taking a class would be a good idea. Even if they class only covers AKC rally, the basics are the same, with some variations in the technicalities.
 

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Make sure you find a sound gsd with a good nerves and temperament. Shows can be crowded, lots of people and their dogs moving about in close quarters, not a good place for reactive dogs. Rally is not difficult to get started, there is probably an AKC club not too far away and if not there are other options as leorose mentioned. Go watch a few show and see what they’re about.
 

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Rally is fun. As far as I can tell from my local obedience clubs, it's more popular than traditional obedience with a lot of people.

in my area, there are tons of rally classes, rally run thru's, and rally trials. Check with all your local kennel clubs, I'm sure you can find classes to help you get ready.

I've done WCRL rally and obedience in ASCA and AKC. All fun-- I will say WCRL is super welcoming, helpful and supportive to new competitors.
 

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Rally is fun. As far as I can tell from my local obedience clubs, it's more popular than traditional obedience with a lot of people.
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I've heard this from several people, that Rally O is more fun, but I don't really get it. Both seem to have a lot of heeling and siting. Is there any clear difference between the two?
 

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Obedience, especially AKC, is very formal, there is a lot of emphasis on precision, and you are dinged (sometimes to the point of an NQ) for extra cues. In rally, you can have unlimited communication with your dog, and there isn't as much emphasis on precision. For example, something like a slightly crooked sit that would be a half point deduction in AKC obedience isn't considered scorable in AKC rally. In AKC obedience, you can use one cue to begin heeling, and your dog needs to automatically sit whenever you stop moving. In rally, you can tell your dog that they are doing a great job as you heel between stations, and cue a sit when a station calls for a sit on a halt.

Also, obedience is the same old same old, every. single. time. you go in the ring. Sure, you might get a judge using an interesting heeling pattern, like a diagonal, but you still know exactly what you are going to be doing every time you step into the ring. Rally courses are almost always different from day to day and judge to judge.
 

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.........

Also, obedience is the same old same old, every. single. time. you go in the ring. Sure, you might get a judge using an interesting heeling pattern, like a diagonal, but you still know exactly what you are going to be doing every time you step into the ring. Rally courses are almost always different from day to day and judge to judge.
Now this is an interesting point. Are you saying that in obedience the tasks are the same each time, whereas in rallyO, you won't know exactly which tasks are to be performed until informed by the judge on the day? That does sound a lot more interesting.
 

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When you go into the AKC novice obedience ring, you know it's going to be Heel on Lead, Figure 8, Stand for Exam, Heel off Lead, Recall, Stay get your Leash, and Groups, and always in that order. In AKC novice rally, there are 10 to 15 stations per course, and not counting Start and Finish, there are 40 different signs approved for novice classes. You won't know what the judge is going to use until you get the course map and do your walk-through the day of the trial.
 

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The only thing is, if you plan to do both you might just want to watch how you train because dogs can struggle going from rally to obedience but usually not vise versa. I have a friend whose dog has become a little dependant on the talking in rally and in the ob ring he loses engagement because she isn't talking to him.
 

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Rally can be a lot of fun. Be sure to go to a number of trials just to see what goes on. You need a minimum score to pas. You will need a perfect score and low elapsed time to win. Often as many as a third of the field will have perfect scores so the winner is determined by low elapsed time.

You should get a full set of card or signs. Some of the signs are a bit confusing so classes will help here. Most trials will have a map of the course so grab a few so you can set up practice courses.

The classes that I’ve been to basically are run throughs. You get some help when you screw up. I would prefer especially for beginners that each sign be taught. You can approach many signs from other signs so it would be helpful to teach this in classes so you have a better understanding of getting from one sign to another. A really good class would show you how to handle and train to get get from one sign to another quickly. A GSD has a long stride so learning change of pace will be important as well as very good heeling. The dog is big and he is going to have to watch you intently all the time. You can’t knock signs over.

Do your basic obedience training first then add the Rally stuff. Advanced Rally is tougher than it looks and a big dog seems to be at a disadvantage to medium sized dogs.

This last year I went to several trials and in each I saw instructors fail due to handler errors. Funny. I expected to see them all in the perfect score group.

Have fun
 
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