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Questions about Rally

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Qira

The Diva
 
 
Barked: Sun Jan 29, '12 6:58pm PST 
We are looking to start competeing in Rally very soon, and we were hoping you guys could answer a few questions for us.

A little background info - Qira is fairly well trained in the OB department, in German, mainly. She heels, sits, downs and waits very well on command. I think we would do pretty good in Rally, and it would be fun to get some titles on her!
We attempted to start a pet obedience class a few months ago, just after I had gotten her, with plans to move on to the next level (CGC) then the competitive obedience and rally classes, and so on, but I did not like how the place was run, so we quit and I have just been working with her by myself. We've made a lot of progress! She comes to work with me every night, and I rarely have her on-leash, she just listens that well.

I feel that we are CLOSE to being competition ready, I just am not sure how I can know for sure. We are still working on the call-to-front deal, and a few little things like that.

Anyway, onto my questions...

1. How do you know for sure when you are ready? How do you train for the ring?

2. What is a day at the trial like? Do you go in the ring once, and that's that? How do titles work, and how do you know if you got one?

3. What should you bring to the trial?

4. What "little things" do judges look for that could help/harm your score?

5. Is it best to start off at one of the multiple-day shows, or just a one-day show?

6. Are people generally pretty nice at shows? When I showed my cat in the HHP ring, 99% of the people were total pricks!

7. Do you know of any good youtube videos that outline what the signs mean? I have always been a visual person, LOL.

If I think of more, I will post them... hope you can help me!
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Reba

1195916
 
 
Barked: Sun Jan 29, '12 7:22pm PST 
I hope someone posts a response to this because I am very interested as well!
Reba is a 2 year old Aussie who is pretty well obedience trained (needs a bit more work with heel) and we are going to enter our first novice class in March to work towards CD. I've been thinking about doing the novice rally class too!
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Zephyr

1213425
 
 
Barked: Sun Jan 29, '12 9:23pm PST 
I'm not trialling Zeph yet but it's only because I'm waiting on the AKC to get me her ILP number so I'll answer ones I can give an opinion on. I'll also assume you're going AKC since some of this won't apply to the other orgs.

1. How do you know for sure when you are ready? How do you train for the ring?

The best way is to actually go to a trial and watch. Obedience and rally usually seem to be at a ridiculously early hour so get to the trial early with a camp chair and watch what comes out. See who trials. See who qualifies and who doesn't qualify. You can see what's needed to do well and work from there. You can find a trial in your area off the AKC website. It's terrible to navigate but their event search feature isn't too bad. From there you can see the event's premium which basically just outlines the rules and gives you the show information usually for entrants but it's applicable to spectators too.

Really for most dogs with basic obedience rally is not difficult in exercises but the trick is doing it in unfamiliar and occasionally hectic circumstances. Since I can now get Zeph to do all the RN moves in Petsmart in the food aisle on a Saturday afternoon, I feel she can manage the distractions.

Some trials do forbid bringing your unentered dog expressly (they are usually indoors and have limited space) but outdoor trials tend to be a good first introduction to a show environment. After you've been yourself and understand how to keep out of the way bringing your dog along may be a worthwhile step. There is usually enough space to go have a time-out too if your dog is overwhelmed. Personally I called the show secretary a bit in advance to make sure it was fine since I couldn't find their show premium anywhere and she was happy to tell me where I could go vs. where I couldn't etc.

The best place to find upcoming shows for AKC is using the AKC event search which usually liks you to the premiums as well.

3. What should you bring to the trial?
This is an agility list but it's reasonably comprehensive. I would add spare collars especially a spare flat collar in case the judge gets picky. Some cash to avoid the fees on debit or credit cards. I have also been told to bring a spare towel or two for wetting and putting down for the dog to lay on/putting on the dog to cool them down on hot days (Heat is always an issue here). Instead of the heat cover a lot of people who are really into trialling and showing in general have sunshades which are great but it's more than I personally want right now.

5. Is it best to start off at one of the multiple-day shows, or just a one-day show?

Most shows here are two days so it's not really optional. And by two days I mean each day is technically a different show. It's easy enough to enter Saturday and not Sunday but sometimes if you have to make a drive and you want to title it's easier to knock out two legs in a weekend.

6. Are people generally pretty nice at shows? When I showed my cat in the HHP ring, 99% of the people were total pricks!

Ha. While I don't have a lot of experience in this area, I'll assume the horse show world and even my club obedience place transfers and say pretty definitively, 'it depends'. wink
Some people will always be as nice and helpful as possible even right before entering the ring.
Some people (myself included) are happy to be helpful if they're finished what they have to do (Unless it's like an under 2 minutes thing in which case, sure).
Some people are just focused and aren't particularly nice but they don't have the time or inclination to be mean.
Some people are gossipy obnoxious children.

You will hear and see it all. I was at a show this weekend and I saw and spoke to some wonderfully kind people and I overheard some really petty nasty things. It's not a large community so everyone winds up knowing everyone else. You can figure out pretty fast the types as above and learn who can be helpful when and where. The more focused on a task someone looks the less you should try to talk to them etc. The obedience classes here also tend to be quite small which is advantageous in checking peoples' attitudes at the door.

7. Do you know of any good youtube videos that outline what the signs mean? I have always been a visual person, LOL.

This is a good video if you can make sense of it. She's got another one with 'Delia' who does them all a bit slower but it shows them all. I personally like the books with arrows better but it's a good visual of what you're supposed to do.

Edited by author Sun Jan 29, '12 9:36pm PST

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Toto, CD, RN, CGC

We don't do- doodles!!!
 
 
Barked: Mon Jan 30, '12 4:46am PST 
There are a bunch of sites where you can download the signs and print them. We did that for our class, just reinforced them with page protectors and hung them with coat hangers.
Google Rally signs.
Good luck!
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Risa- W-FDM/MF RE- RL1 CA CGC

Awesome Dog
 
 
Barked: Mon Jan 30, '12 6:11am PST 
I'm assuming this is AKC Rally as well. (We do compete in APDT Rally too.)

1. How do you know for sure when you are ready? How do you train for the ring?

This is the million dollar question, I think. wink It's important that your dog know all the behaviors needed to complete the course and know them very well in various environments. Not just in the classroom. Not just in your house. I mean outside at the park, at the dog park, in the aisles at Petsmart, at a crowded event, when there are other dogs barking, if the scent of food is in the air, etc. Of course, it's difficult to train for everything and anything can happen at a show. If you're confident that if you took your dog to a brand new place and asked her for those behaviors she'd do them with ease, then you're probably ready.

Along with going to a show and seeing how things run and what you might encounter, see if anyone is hosting a "Show 'n' Go" or a "Fun Match" in your area. These are both perfect ways to get the trial experience without the pressure of needing to perform to earn the title. In most cases, you can also feed treats to your dog in the ring during these to cement the "The ring is a fun place" for your dog.

To help my dog know that the ring is work time, I always make her wait for permission to exit it when we're done (to help prevent running out of the ring). I also have a very specific routine I do whenever we enter the ring to compete. I practice this at home at the start of our training sessions. This way, she knows that it's about to be "work time" and that I expect her attention and focus.

2. What is a day at the trial like? Do you go in the ring once, and that's that? How do titles work, and how do you know if you got one?

Again, your best bet is to attend a show and see for yourself.

After you enter, you'll get a show schedule which will let you know when you need to be at ringside to start your walkthroughs. It's best to get there in plenty of time, though, so you can get your dog and your gear situated and check in with the steward to get your armband. If you're trying for your RN (Rally Novice), RA (Rally Advanced), or RE (Rally Excellent) title; you will only be in the ring once that day. Dogs attempting the RAE (Rally Advanced Excellent-highest AKC rally title) will be in the ring twice.

For rally, you must earn a qualifying score of at least 70 (out of a possible 100) to earn a leg towards your title. You need 3 legs to earn a title and at least two of the legs must be under different judges. So you can show under Ms. Soandso no more than twice to earn the title.

You get to see your scores posted after your run so you'll know if you qualified or not. AKC does keep track of your titles and you can look at your progress on their site. (It's here on AKC's site under "Points and Awards.") They will also send you a title certificate when you complete the title.

3. What should you bring to the trial?

I actually just wrote up a post in my blog about this so I'm just going to post the link here for brevity's sake: Trial Gear.

4. What "little things" do judges look for that could help/harm your score?

The main one, especially in Novice, is a tight leash. Your leash should be loose throughout the course. If it helps, make sure it's loose enough to form a 'J' from your hands to the dog's collar. Straight fronts and sits in heel are also important though you won't lose much for those in the Novice level. Enthusiasm, joy, and a brisk pace are also important.

5. Is it best to start off at one of the multiple-day shows, or just a one-day show?

I think this depends on your dog. If you are at all worried about the show environment being too stressful, it might be best to just enter one day and see how your dog handles it. If they are okay, then you can enter two-day shows later. When I first started showing Risa, I only entered one day of the two-day trial just to be on the safe side. I didn't want to overwhelm her and make her not want to do it anymore. (Of course, she has fear issues so this is more of a concern for us.)

6. Are people generally pretty nice at shows?

You'll find all kinds. Some are very helpful. Some are not. Some are pleasant. Some are standoffish. As a general rule of thumb, if someone is getting ready to go into the ring, don't try to start a conversation with them. They're focused on their dog, probably nervous, and not in the mood for small talk. Before and after their ring time, however, most people are helpful. If you have questions, you can always ask people milling around the ring.

You can also ask the judge questions during the walkthrough if you have any. Make sure you ask specific questions though. Don't just say "How do you do this sign?" because they probably won't answer that! If you have a question about whether a judge is looking for an obvious pause before you step forward at heel again, for example, that would be a good time to ask.

7. Do you know of any good youtube videos that outline what the signs mean? I have always been a visual person, LOL.

I don't know of any videos other than the one Zeph posted. smile

Good luck and have fun!
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ARCHMX Asher RL1X RL2X RL3X RL

we will dance in- the ring without- words
 
 
Barked: Mon Jan 30, '12 7:21am PST 
Well, I am an APDT Rally exhibitor, judge and a member of the APDT Rules and Regulations committee, so I can answer from the APDT perspective.


1. How do you know for sure when you are ready? How do you train for the ring?

I don't think you CAN know for sure you are ready. You just take a deep breathe and take the plunge. Things that can help include taking classes and attending "fun" matches, run thrus or practice trials. We hold them about once a month where I work.

2. What is a day at the trial like? Do you go in the ring once, and that's that? How do titles work, and how do you know if you got one?

I think the day of trial is often a bit overwhelming the first time, but after a while you just take it in stride. You want to park, attend to your dog, then look for the trail secretaries. They should be able to help you with everything you need. There is a lot of waiting if you are just trialing one dog in one level.

In APDT, you need 3 "legs" (trials with scores of 170 or higher) to earn a Level title. Until you have your level title, you trial in that level in "A" class. Once you earn a level title, you can move on to the next level, stay in the same level trialing in "B" (or championship) class working towards that levels championship (10 legs with scores of 170 or higher) or do both. Once you have your Level 1 and Level 2 titles, you can begin working on your ARCH (APDT Rally CHampion). The ARCH, ARCHX, ARCHEX and ARCHMX are all combined level championships and require Q's (qualifying scores) of certain scores (190 for the ARCH and ARCHEX, 195 for the X and MX) in multiple levels of the same trial.

YOU need to keep track of your legs and scores. If you forget, you will still earn the title and it will be sent to you, but you may miss out on the title or championship ribbon.

3. What should you bring to the trial?

Bring and extra leash and collar, water/food for your dog, refreshments for yourself if they are not offered on site, a crate, chairs, a tarp or mat or blankets, bags to clean up after your dog. Since at this point I am often judging at events I attend, I usually go with a group of friends so I have someone to watch my dog while I am either judging or walking the course. My mom is my best kennel help!

4. What "little things" do judges look for that could help/harm your score?

That can depend entirely upon the venue. Read the rules and regulations before you go. Personally, I am looking for happy, working teams, but it will not affect your score. In APDT, issuing a cue harshly can NQ you. Risa is right, in APDT, you will loose a point every time the leash is tight. You loose points for recueing. You can not give the appearance of luring. But you can reward your dog with food or touch after the completion of a stationary exercise.



5. Is it best to start off at one of the multiple-day shows, or just a one-day show?

Our first trial was a 2 day, 4 trial weekend and Ash and I titled that weekend. It depends on you and your dog. Two day weekends were nothing for Ash at that time (he is now 12 years old and has arthritis, so his stamina is not what it was a few short years ago), but Demon gets tired.

6. Are people generally pretty nice at shows? When I showed my cat in the HHP ring, 99% of the people were total pricks!

I have found the people at APDT trials to be kind and generous and sharing. I can think of many times I have shared my food with other people and they with me. We trade tips and I have made many, many friends. Most of the people in APDT are simply showing their dogs for fun. We celebrate each other's victories and commiserate for NQ's and point losses.

One of my fondest memories is when Ash and I earned our ARCHEX. Everyone knew we needed one more QQ. And Ash was having trouble due to the temperature. The day before he refused a jump for the first time ever and I scratched him and took him home early. When we finished our Level 3 run that second day, it was clear it was a better than 195 run and the whole horse stadium burst into applause. I had tears in my eyes and was humbled by the support I felt.

7. Do you know of any good youtube videos that outline what the signs mean? I have always been a visual person, LOL.

For APDT, there is a video you can buy:

http://www.ready-to-rally.com/

You can find out more information about APDT Rally here:

http://www.apdt.com/rally/

or here:

https://www.facebook.com/APDTRally

APDT Rally has been an extremely positive experience for me. I have made so many friends and learned much in our journey. Ash is now semi retired, but Demon and The Pug are coming along nicely.

Asher and recently I had a nice writeup in the last Chronicles of the Dog where I wrote of my experiences in APDT Rally..
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Delta and- Doc

The Spots Are In- The House!
 
 
Barked: Mon Jan 30, '12 2:48pm PST 
Everyone seems to have your answers. I will add about one thing though. We trial in rally in AKC, APDT, and C-WAGS. This is for AKC, as I've only ever had awesome experiences with APDT and C-WAGS since all my friends do them.

With AKC, I found going into the trials as a complete newbie, everyone is nice to you. So I wouldn't worry so much. My very first rally trial, someone offered me a chair to borrow since I forgot and they helped me around. However, the more you compete in it, the more you may hear about so and so and what they do and why this person doesn't like that person and so on. However, I've found that when I started hearing this, I was trialing for awhile so I felt I was able to deal with this. It wasn't a right off the bat type of thing. Some people may try to get you not to like people, but I don't pick sides. I'm nice to everyone and make sure not to talk about anyone. (I do show in conformation also, and I see this more around the conformation ring).
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Zephyr

1213425
 
 
Barked: Mon Jan 30, '12 6:27pm PST 
"With AKC, I found going into the trials as a complete newbie, everyone is nice to you. So I wouldn't worry so much. My very first rally trial, someone offered me a chair to borrow since I forgot and they helped me around. However, the more you compete in it, the more you may hear about so and so and what they do and why this person doesn't like that person and so on. However, I've found that when I started hearing this, I was trialing for awhile so I felt I was able to deal with this. It wasn't a right off the bat type of thing. Some people may try to get you not to like people, but I don't pick sides. I'm nice to everyone and make sure not to talk about anyone. (I do show in conformation also, and I see this more around the conformation ring)."

Very true and I agree about the conformation thing too, it just seems to be worse there. The worst trash talk I've ever hear was about the dachshunds and how if 'x' didn't win than someone paid off the judge and so-and-so has done it before so blah blah blah. The worst I've heard around the obedience ring is usually minor in comparison.

Not picking sides is the best thing you can do. Let your dog's performance speak for you.
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Mack CD RE- CGC

1231863
 
 
Barked: Fri Feb 3, '12 2:19pm PST 
1. How do you know for sure when you are ready? How do you train for the ring?
I would go to weekly classes as possible and try to train at least a few minutes each day at home. I like to work on something they have trouble with and have them get it right and then leave it alone and stop training on a positive note! Then it seems like the next time you ask them to do it they do it right! But of course you need to practice everything....I think less is more. If they do it right leave it alone! I never know for sure when my dogs are ready since I do a lot of my training at home because I live in a rural area. However my dogs have suprised me by realling pulling through and doing super nice runs with high scores. Rally is great because you can talk to the dog so if you dog is doing all the exercises in practice I think you're ready! Especially if he is doing them while away from home like in class or at the park, etc.

2. What is a day at the trial like? Do you go in the ring once, and that's that? How do titles work, and how do you know if you got one?

Make sure you get to the show early and find you're ring. Make sure you know what time the walk-thru (walking the pattern before you show without you're dog)is and keep an eye on the ring. Watching other dogs in the ring is hugely beneficial as well. Also during the walk-thru you can ask the judge questions and that is helpful as well. The judge will usually tell you a few things to make sure you do or don't do and clarify any signs that may be confusing. You only go into the ring once a day unless of course you are entered in more than one event. But if you are just showing in rally novice you will just show once in a day. Most shows are Sat and Sun however some can be on Thurs, Fri, or even Mon. The actual amount of time you are in the ring with your dog is very short! Usually for rally novice under 2 mintues I have even had runs under one minute.
3. What should you bring to the trial?
I would bring a chair and a crate for you dog if he is crate trained. It seems like most dogs get stressed if they don't have a chance to rest in their crates. However it is important that you also familiarize you dog with the area. You can't actually bring your dog into any of the rings unless you are showing but you can practice on the outside of the rings where there is room. That is important so the dog is used to the area and also used to responding to you while there. The dog then gets an idea that oh we are here to do obedience, okay! lol! Work on the dogs focus while waiting to go in the ring and try to keep his attention so that he is not in a super relaxed or distracted mode before going into the ring. Makes sure you make clear, commands that are loud enough for him to hear over the noise. Also I find that moving at a quicker speed while practicing and in the ring also helps the dog to pay attention better and not loose focus as much.

4. What "little things" do judges look for that could help/harm your score?
Some judges are really strict about handler errors. I have lost points for simply shuffling my feet (didn't even know I did it). So make sure while you can move your hands you can't move your feet. Also in novice judges will usually really knock off points for a tight lead. I have also seen novice people get nervous and pull the dog into position. So make sure you practice not doing those things before you go into the ring. I loose a lot of handler errors while showing, so I always try to ask the judge after the class is over what I lost points on because they are usually handler errors and then I can try to make sure I don't do them again.

5. Is it best to start off at one of the multiple-day shows, or just a one-day show?
Well, because of where I live I always go to multiple day shows. I think a two day sure is great some dogs get overwhelmed with a three day show however.

6. Are people generally pretty nice at shows? When I showed my cat in the HHP ring, 99% of the people were total pricks!
Conformation people can be quite nasty in my opinion. Most obedience/rally/agility people are very nice. Some people can be overly serious though, and don't really want to visit. But you can usually pick them out! lol!
7. Do you know of any good youtube videos that outline what the signs mean? I have always been a visual person, LOL.
I have found a ton of youtube videos of both people showing in rally and of people demonstrating rally novice signs just by searching for them! Hope this helps some and wasn't too much of a repeat of what others said! lol!
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