Posts Tagged ‘dog’

A former student dropped in to class this week. When showing over the weekend, the dog refused a jump so that’s what they wanted to work on. Simple course, only 12 signs with a few from each level plus a jump.

This is an RAE3 team so dog and handler definitely know their way around a course. I stood outside the ring watching. Approaching station 7, handler cues the dog to Stay then begins walking around. Dog sits. Handler goes back, approaches the sign again, same result. “Stop” I called. “If he’s not getting it, then come outside the ring and work that move separately.”

Which they did.

“He’s got it” handler assured me. They start off on the course, little dog chugging alongside. But at station 7 it’s the same thing. Handler cues Stay, dog Sits.

I march out on the course to look at things from the dog’s perspective. “There must be something confusing him. Are you doing anything different with your hand signal?”

The team heads toward the station. I peer over at the sign.

“How many Rally trials have you shown in?” I ask the handler. “Read that sign.”

Halt – Stand – Walk Around

The dog had it right the whole time.



A recent discussion among rally coaches brought up the question of how to increase speed on the course. With no half-point deductions many rally runs end up with the same score, so placements are often determined by the fastest course time. I think all the coaches concurred that the best times are the result of correct sign recognition and execution.

To quote Chip from Tacoma “the number of times you will lose a placement for time is small compared to the
number of times you will lose for mistakes.”

Some coaches shared stories of handlers rushing through a course only to end up missing a sign completely. Several coaches noted the structure of the dog can also be a factor. A short-legged dog just can’t cover space as fast as a quick-footed herding dog. And long-bodied dogs need to use more concentration to get around cones without bumping.

Everybody’s favorite rally mentor,  Ruthann from Arizona sums up the best way to have a good course time in rally. And a good time, too.

  • Brisk pace throughout the course (This is so important, shows the judge you are confident and helps your dog stay focused.)
  • Quick responses on each and every exercise and each and every part of the exercises (This reinforces the appearance of teamwork between you and your dog.)
  • A dog working with focus and attention (Shows that your dog is happy to be there which, I believe,  relates to how you train.)
  • Dog that doesn’t have to be lured or coaxed (Again, a function of relationship and training.)
  • Handler standing upright and walking in a natural manner- bending over makes you slower (We see far too many handlers  like this. Erin even saw a handler lie on the ground while urging her dog to Down!)
  • Work smoothly – lots of flow and teamwork from both dog and handler (Do I need to repeat that? Teamwork.)

If you concentrate on achieving each of Ruthann’s points, a good course time will naturally follow.

And by the way, why are you entering trials if you aren’t doing all of the above?

We all waste plenty of time watching YouTube videos of people doing rally so it was only a matter of time. And now the time has come –  Cyber Rally!

  • Entry is by video.
  • There are five levels.
  • Leashes are optional at all levels
  • Lots of flexibility in choosing courses, ring size, etc.
  • No entry deadlines.
  • Courses are challenging.
  • Many signs are found nowhere else.

This sounds like it could be a good thing for the shy and reactive dogs or teams that thought they could never go to a trial

The web site is not yet complete but you can learn more about it at the Cyber Rally yahoo group

Levels I, II, and III signs and descriptions plus courses  are posted in the Files section there.

So, during the next blizzard, we can all sit home and make Cyber Rally videos….nice way to spend a weekend.