As one of the world’s most famous basketball players, Michael Jordan, once said, “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.” When you participate in an AKC Rally event, you get to show off both: Your dog’s talents and the teamwork between you.
Think of an AKC Rally event as any team sport: You and your dog navigate a course, side-by-side, as you steer him through a course of 10-20 different signs. Each of these signs provides instructions regarding the next skill that is to be performed. The dog and handler move continuously throughout the course with the dog under control at the handler’s left side. There is a clear sense of teamwork between the dog and handler both during and between the numbered signs. Although each performance is timed, having a good race time is not the goal; it’s all about working as a team while performing the skills, with the dog under control.
Started in 2005, AKC Rally is a fun family sport and participation increases each year. It’s a perfect starting point for those who are new to canine sports, as AKC Rally provides a challenging introduction to all AKC Companion Events for dogs and handlers to strengthen their skills.
To compete in a Rally event, your dog must be:
- At least 6 months of age.
- Physically sound.
- Have an AKC number via one of the following:
- AKC Registration as one of AKC’s recognized breeds.
- AKC Canine Partners, which is for mixed-breed dogs and dogs ineligible for AKC registration.
- Purebred Alternative Listing (PAL) program, which is for purebred dogs that cannot be fully registered with the AKC to participate in AKC events.
- Foundation Stock Service®(FSS), which is for recorded breeds on the road to full AKC recognition.
- Spayed females and neutered males are eligible to participate, but females in season are not.
- Dogs that are deaf are eligible to participate, however dogs that are blind are not.
- No dog may compete if it is taped or bandaged or has anything attached to it in any way for medical purposes.
- It is important that before competing, you familiarize with all of the AKC Rally Regulations and ring procedures.
One way to begin in AKC Rally is to find a training club near you to take classes with your dog. Prospective students are usually welcome to observe a class before signing up.
If you haven’t attended a Rally event in person, we highly recommend you attend one as a spectator. It will familiarize you with ring procedures and give you a chance to ask questions of those who are more experienced at Rally events.
After you have completed your training classes and you decide to enter a Rally trial, there are three levels of competition: Novice, Advanced, and Excellent. Look on the AKC Events Calendar to find an event near you and then submit an official AKC entry form to the trial secretary or superintendent listed to take entries for the trial. Scoring is not as rigorous as traditional obedience, and all teams begin with a perfect 100 with points deducted along the way. If you retain a score of at least 70 points, you will earn a leg towards a title.
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