Penny started training for Rally in October. Rally is similar to Obedience, except dogs and handlers follow a course marked with signs that required a particular behavior. For instance, in Novice, which is done completely on leash, you might come to a sign that requires you to stop, down your dog, walk around the dog, then pause before heeling to the next sign. Penny received her Rally novice in March. Rally Advanced and Excellent are done off leash. Unlike Obedience, in Rally you can talk to and encourage your dog through the harder signs. You can also use both hand signs and commands. Some of the skills required in Excellent include backing up three steps with the dog in heel position; also sending a dog to a jump and having it return to heel before the handler passes the jump; a moving down or stand, etc.
In Beginner Novice Obedience, the handler can only give a signal or command once. So, on leash, you tell the dog to heel, then walk forward, turn left, go slow or fast, turn around, turn right, and come to a halt, where the dog immediately sits, all without saying anything or signaling the dog again. Any time the leash becomes tight, the dog doesn’t sit straight, the dog sits slowly, etc., counts as points off. Then the dogs must sit while you walk around the ring, come back to it and go around it back to the heel position. Also, you must walk your dog around 2 people acting as stationary posts, in a figure 8. The dog must sit away from its handler and allow the judge to approach it and touch it without moving. Finally the dog must come on command to sit in front of the handler. Whew! Get through all that and your dog qualifies. If the dog breaks its sits at any time, it is disqualified. Penny’s best score was 194.5 out of 200.
This may all seem easy but it wasn’t, at least for Genice. And certainly not for Penny! Everyone at Western Gateway Dog Park congratulates both Genice and her sweet Penny on this HUGE accomplishment! Way to go!!!