The Rally Class

The name rally comes from the use of directional signs, similar to a Road Rally for cars. The AKC Rally Class provides a link from the Canine Good Citizen test to obedience and agility competition.

In the Rally Class the dog and handler complete a course following a series of 10 to 20 signs, depending on the level. Each sign, called a "station," instructs the handler on each exercise the dog has to perform. For example, the sign may say "Forward," "About-turn," or "Halt."

After the judge has given the first "Forward," the handler and dog team move continuously from one sign to the next on their own instead of waiting for the judge's command for each exercise as in all the other obedience classes. Unlimited communication from handler to dog is permitted, but the handler may not touch the dog and physical guidance is penalized.

This class is fun because you can give all the extra help your dog may need in the form of commands, encouragement, and praise. It's also fast paced, because you move from one sign to the next without any interruption, which makes it very exciting for the dog.

The starting score is 200, and deductions are made for any errors on the part of the dog performing the designated exercise at a station, or for not completing a required exercise. Scoring is more lenient than traditional obedience, although there should be a sense of teamwork between the dog and handler. You'll encounter approximately 40 different stations, representing all the basic obedience exercises and maneuvers.

There are three Rally classes:

1 Novice 1 Advanced 1 Excellent

To earn an AKC Rally title, the dog must achieve three qualifying scores under at least two different judges.

In the Rally Novice class, all exercises are done on leash, and there are 10 to 15 stations. In the Rally Advanced class, all the exercises, which include one jump, are done off leash, and there are 12 to 17 stations. The Rally Excellent class is also done off leash and includes two jumps and 15 to 20 stations. Finally, the Rally Advanced Excellent title requires the dog to qualify ten times in both the Rally Advanced Class and the Rally Excellent Class at the same trial.

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