Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Ready to Rally.......Not!.....Opinions Please!

So, I've been putzing around with training Rally Obedience to both my guys. I am doing it at home, and just practicing all the basic Novice moves. I don't have the signs set up in a course or such. Wilson has had one class over a year or so ago. Jimmy is brand new to it, has never had a class, but is catching on very quickly!

The reason I started tinkering around with it is 1) it's winter time and it provides the boys with something to do in the evenings, 2) I am toying with entering them in the Rally competition at the CWCCA Nat'l Specialty , and 3) In order to earn the boys their Versatile Cardigan Certificate from the CWCCA, a Rally title should be a reasonably easy way to earn some of the needed points/categories.

This past Sunday, I was signed up for my very first Rally run-thru given by the Capital Dog Training Club. It didn't go as smoothly as I anticipated. Each boy had 2 runs through a Novice level course. Jimmy went first. He had to sit at the very beginning and was confused when I didn't lead out like I would in Agility. He sassed me quite a bit, his heeling was a bit rough, and he jumped up looking for treats. Basically, a bit rowdier than what I see at home. Wilson definitely gave a calmer performance, but also was too treat focused. Obviously, I need to get my food rewards faded out! They are both way too eager for the food! On the second time through, both boys were noticibly calmer/better, but we still had the food issue. For Wilson, I removed my treat apron, and that helped alot. For Jimmy, I only rewarded a couple of times, which seemed to help.

As for me, I had a few questions about how to perform the signs, but wasn't too lost. There was nothing presented that the boys didn't know how to do, although a couple of the signs definitely need more practice such as the exercise where you call your dog front, back one step, front, back two steps, front, back three steps, front. That was definitely ugly!

If you are still reading after all this time, my question to you experienced folks out there is:

Do you think I can get the boys ready for Novice A in time for the Nat'l Specialty at the end of April?

Keep in mind these factors:

All my training will take place at home, maybe finding one more run-thru.

I am not a perfectionist, I just want to qualify.

The entry fees are hefty, I don't want to burn them up for nothing!

And my number one biggest concern is the schedule at the National. Rally starts at 9am and Agility starts at 10am. I am concerned these "almost sure to overlap events" will stress me out too much, degrading my abilities, and therefore degrading what the dogs do.

Entries close on March 28th, so I still have time to practice and decide.


  1. Cool! When did they change it so Rally counts? That is awesome. I think you could be ready in time. One of the things I did with Bug, and am about to start doing with the puppy, is bring them to parking lots with various levels of stimulation to practice heeling, etc.

  2. I meant to also say that the stress of trying to get over to agility and coordinate might not be worth it though.

    1. I think Rally got added back in September or even a year ago Sept. Of course rally isn't worth a lot of points, but since I don't have Champion dogs, I need to earn points in 3 performance venues, Rally looking like the easiest (Seeing as how I already have agility and herding points).

    2. It had to be added in 2009, I think that's when Porter got his VC by doing rally.

    3. That's great! I missed that.

  3. I think that Rally and Obedience count as one catagory when applying for the VC.

    I use Rally as a warm up for Obedience. I also don't place a lot of stress on it, again its a warm up for our obedience work. Its fun because you can talk to your dog, pat your leg etc. which is helpful in Novice Rally.

    You can also practice your rally moves on your walks, off leash even. I do that all the time at home while doing chores (we have horses). I think it's doable, I just finished Smooch's title and we didn't do much more than what you are doing now. :)

    As for the stress of Rally/Agility, that is up to you. Everyone deals with that in thier own way. Most shows will accomodate conflicts so it really shouldn't be an issue.

    Good luck!

  4. What De said -- you can be ready and the conflicts can be handled. You just tell stewards at both rings where you are and try to be placed early in one event and later in the other.

    I use Rally as the precursor to regular obedience classes. All my dogs earn Rally Novice titles before we begin competing in Novice Obedience. I make it as much fun as I can with lots of praise. When we move on to the "serious" stuff, they already believe we have a good time in the ring and so transition well.

    Our local training club holds Rally drills on Sunday afternoons. You might check around and see if you can find something like that not too far from you. Having other dogs and people around helps with the focus. Having the drill director to help with the signs is major.

  5. I did the exact same thing with Porter (tried Rally to earn my VC from the CWCCA).
    I trained the same way you are: on my own, on our walks, free time, no class, etc. I didn't do any run-thru's, just entered a trial & tried it! And we qualified! I continued to train the same way and Porter even has his RA now :) He had never even saw a sign until we entered the ring (which did cause some sniffing of it & maybe a lost point).
    I also watched a lot of YouTube videos to see how people handled & how all the signs fit together. My youTube chanel is merinda76 if you want to watch our Advanced attempts :)

    1. Thanks! The YouTube idea is a good one! I'll check out your runs.

  6. You CAN be ready. Its on leash, you can talk to them and encourage them. The issues with conflicts though, depends on how you handle stress. If you dont freak out running from place to place it can be kind of fun. It gives you less time to worry about how you do when your running to the next thing. If I were going I would try to do them both.

  7. Do it! Rally is fun, and if you're at the National Specialty you'll get a cool, BIG green ribbon!!

    At previous specialties, they've been very good about dealing with conflicts - just let them know early that you're in both -- I'm sure you won't be the only one who has the same challenge.

    Good luck!! I wish I could be there!

  8. You can be ready, but the conflict issue could be really problematic. I left the 2011 CWCCA performance events (my first to attend, with my first Cardigan) in tears. The communication between the rings was not great, and the stewards didn't really CARE that I had a conflict - they were just like, "well, be here." Then I missed my Pre-Novice obedience turn on the 2nd day and they.... didn't let me run. Then I had to move up in the agility running order only to have to RUN over to rally as soon as I was finished, where they were screaming my name because I was next. IT. SUCKED. Please note I do not hold any of the stewards or anyone involved with CWCCA personally responsible, but someone should realize that "just tell them you have a conflict" is really NOT an acceptable way to run a national specialty, in my opinion.

    but if you and your dogs can handle that sort of stress, no reason not to try. :D GOOD LUCK!

    1. Thanks for mentioning your experience as it is exactly how I was afraid things could be! And looking at the map of the hotel, the two events don't look very close together, but of course it's hard to tell for sure. It really is a tough decision as I would love to earn legs at the Nat'l (fun to have that ribbon!), and it gives Wilson, who is retired from agility, something to do. But I don't want to stress out to the max, and I am that kind of person.....

    2. I ran Novice obedience & agility at the Texas specialty. I think the problem was because that agility trial was actually pretty large. It was an all-breed & I'm fairly certain that the workers had no idea that there was even something else going on :)
      I know at the Pennsylvania specialty the agility was held up several times to allow for people from the obedience & rally rings to get there. But that's just my take on it :)
      But if it was the rally/obedience people being rude, then I have no idea what to tell you! :)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...