Last week I had the opportunity to demonstrate World Cynosport (WCRL) Rally Obedience at the 2014 National APDT Conference in Hartford, CT. Preparing for the demo gave me time to reflect on why I love to train my dogs to play Rally. At the top of my list is that Rally skills are the everyday skills I use to live comfortably with my dogs. Walk next to me without pulling on the leash. Turn left and turn right without getting tangling each other. Sit when I stop walking. Lay down. Stay here, even if I step away for a bit.
Rally turns life skills into a game. The game has rules. It uses signs to designate clearly defined exercises. It has standards–there is an Ideal for every exercise. It gives me a way to measure successful performance of sit or down or stay. It gives me a way to make my dogs better companions.
I love Rally because it allows me to train my dog’s life skills under pressure in a safe environment. In a class or in competition, Rally provides an arena for practicing life skills in situations that are more difficult than training in your kitchen. For example, off-leash heeling in a class or in a competition ring is much safer than trying the same at a dog park or on a multi-use trail. I want to know those skills are well trained before I try them in potentially life-threatening situations. Rally gives me the chance to train and proof these skills.
I love Rally because it improves a dog’s leash manners. A goal such as earning a title motivates me to really pay attention to my dog’s behavior on leash. As with most things in dog training, it is the attention we give that helps solve a problem.
I love Rally because it is inclusive. Any dog may play. Exercise’s may be modified to accommodate handlers and/or dogs with disabilities. There are classes designed for puppies (6 months to 1 year) and grand old dogs (over 8 years.) There are classes for children who want to show the family dog.
I love Rally because of the like-minded dog friends it has brought me. World Cynosport/APDT Rally competitors support one another. We love to see improvement in teams–and competitors do improve as they practice. I cherish the friendships I have made as we train and play Rally together.
Have you tried Rally yet? If not, what are you waiting for? For more information on World Cynosport/APDT Rally: www.rallydogs.com