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Rally Anyone?

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  • Rally Anyone?

    Anyone do Rally here? I'm excited - my dog and I are entered in our first dog show - Rally - next month. It seems like a really fun sport.

    Anything to know that your trainer may not tell you? Do dogs typically act better at their first show than baby horses do? Should I bring her crate for her to stay in while we wait for our turn?
    Can I ask/ should I ask any other stupid questions?

    Any funny stories?

    I've been to exactly 1 dog show - I was a ring steward. No obedience to watch though. It was slightly funny when the volunteer coordinator warned us that people could be nervous and snippy and to not take it personally. I thought "really, it's unlikely that you're going to DIE showing your dog" (eventer here - who may or may not need 50 potty breaks before cross country) but I do understand the nerves when your "baby" is on the line for judgement I guess. Nevertheless I am a total dog show newby so I probably won't understand the underlying customs. Some heads up would be appreciated!

  • #2
    Yes take your crate. You will have to do the course walk without your dog, so you need a secure place to leave your dog while you do that.
    Sometimes dogs are very distracted. The nice thing about rally is that you can talk to them. You can take treats and work with your dog around the show site to get your dog ready to work. I have one dog that does best if she just heads in the ring and shows. Another dog is much better if she gets there early and walks and walks and walks around.


    • #3
      But do not take treats in the ring! That would be bad.


      • #4
        Like Casey09 said, some dogs do better when they have time to acclimate, some do best when there's limited time to worry. It's tempting but don't over prep your dog the day of, just like the day/week of a show isn't time to fix changes, a trial-day warm up is to get your head in the game and that's it (I watched someone try to completely redo their send-outs during the lunch break of a trial, don't be like them).

        Prep: Bring snacks for yourself as well. I bring: water for me, water for dog, water bowl, mat for under crate, crate, crate mat, snacks for me, snacks for dog, reading material, camp chair, brush incase we do winners/title pictures. Please don't bring squeaky toys, it's distracting to other dogs in and out of the ring, besides you don't want your dog too keyed up.

        Day of: Know your rule book, bring your rule book (or a pdf). Assuming you're doing AKC - there are certain things a judge can and can't answer but take advantage of the walk through to clarify the things you can ask. If something looks funny ask (we had a judge who forgot to leave room on the send-to-cone for the big dogs, it was caught during the walk through). Get to the trial with enough time that you have time to set up and check-in before the walk through. If they are running Novice last then you can get a rough estimate for when your class will be by using the maximum dogs per hour per level (it's in the rule book towards the front). I'd rather be there too early than run around trying to get set up.

        Showtime: Remember to not go into the ring until the judge tells you. Watch how you hold your leash, make sure there's slack. Don't give your dog food right before they go into the ring, any food -even coughed up food - is a NQ. Talk to your dog, it's not obedience. Don't pay too much attention to people doing Masters, Excellent,etc. Some of us get really into and it can seem intimidating. Don't stop to praise your dog until AFTER you cross finish, the timer doesn't stop until you both cross it. And thank your judge and stewards when you're done

        Relax! Assuming you're doing AKC, Novice A is designed for first-timers and judges know that. They want you to have a positive experience.


        • #5
          Double check that your leash is regulation length. Remember to talk to your dog


          • #6
            I don't do rally but show in conformation where rally is often offered (and I have trained for rally). Definitely bring a crate and a chair for yourself plus water, snacks, and other things to keep you and the dog comfortable. Get there early so you can claim a place to set up for the day and have time (hopefully) to watch a few others in the ring before you go.

            This is a test run for you to determine what your dog needs in order to compete; so set your expectations realistically. It's different than practicing at your training class, or at home. But you won't know until you try. I have seen and heard of people that have been really disappointed if their dogs didn't behave the same as in class - and that's too bad. It's entirely different.

            Go do your best, have fun, and watch. If it's combined with a larger show (conformation, for example) - bring money as there may be great vendors to buy from!


            • Original Poster

              thanks everyone! this was helpful


              • #8
                Take your time and read the signs. Know your lefts from you rights. Have fun!


                • #9
                  What everyone else has said - bring a crate (though if it's near the rings and your dog is comfortable with it, you might be able to work out of your car), bring a chair, try to watch some runs before you go into the ring, so you get a feel for things, don't be afraid to ask questions, be kind to your dog, be kind to yourself, read the signs, smile and BREATHE! (Any sign that asks for a sit or down is a perfect opportunity for you to take a breath and refocus you (and your dog) before you move on - take advantage of that.)

                  And if it all goes horribly awry and your dog decides to do his best impression of a hooked marlin on the end of the leash, it is perfectly acceptable to politely let the judge know that today isn't your day, and you'd like to leave the ring.

                  Have fun, and let us know how it goes!


                  • #10
                    I want to do rally once one of my agility dogs earns his PACH and retires from agility. I think he will enjoy it !

                    One thing I will tell you to keep in mind, that I learned from the agility ring - don't be embarrassed about messing up, or asking a lot of questions. Just be polite when you ask. Every other competitor there (except for those are also Novice A like you) has been where you are.

                    Keep it positive for your dog, keep it fun and ENJOY yourself !!


                    • #11
                      I just started doing rally and we are having our first fun match next week. I have shown quite a bit in agility, so I have a bit of an idea about how my dog acts on show day. That being said, all the advice above is great, especially to be kind to yourself and your dog. We were all beginners once and rally seems like a lot of fun. Good luck!


                      • #12
                        Enjoy yourself and always remember, you get to take the best dog at the show home!! I am an ex-eventer also and chuckled at the show ring nerves warnings I got. 🙂. But there are many other exhibitors who DO get very nervous so don’t be offended if not everyone seems nice. They may just be nervous. Make sure you are there in time for your walk-thru. I’d also like to remind you to make sure you keep your dog from sniffing or bothering other dogs, and to make sure you don’t have your dogs peering into other crates etc. Some dogs are crate reactive and may charge their crate startling your dog, and/or they might get bothered if your dogs peer into their crate. Shows can be a bit tight space wise in the aisles, etc so dogs can be a bit stressed.


                        • Original Poster

                          We had a blast! the advice was spot on. Now I have to go again because, well you know - we now have two of our 3 scores for our title at novice. She was really really good but started our second class a bit worried - she's a really soft dog and there were some angry voices right before we started our course. She was nervous all day too -so she was spitting out her treats all day. A fellow dog friend suggested probiotic paste the morning of competition. Nevertheless, she really tried and even on our second course, about 1/2 way through she clicked on and was right there with me - happy puppy. She tries so hard to be a good girl! At home, she retrieved her dummy for the first time ever the following day (an issue we are working on). Happy times!

                          thanks everyone with the helpful hints.


                          • #14