Milo and my first Rally Obedience Trial is fast approaching. We’ve been training daily and can do all the exercises with cheerful and brisk focus. Our biggest challenge will be distractions around the ring during the trial.
Luckily the universe provided us with an outstanding set of distractions for practice. And by ‘the universe,’ I mean my brother and sister-in-law’s farm. Milo has a strong prey drive and a history of dog reactivity. So, we spent a week performing Rally exercises using Louis the Dog an obstacle and the chicken coop as a backdrop. By the end of the week, Milo could heel around the dog while the chickens were flapping and clucking toward their dinner. Good boy!
Of course, something could still knock us off our game during the trial, but it is good to know that we worked hard and did our best to be ready.
Milo’s reward for all that work was to jump for a piece of chicken…
As I’ve said before, my goal is to earn a Novice Rally Obedience Title with Milo. In a Novice Rally trial, the judge creates a course of 10-15 obedience exercises and evaluates a dog-handler team as they work through those exercises. According to the Canadian Kennel Club
The chief objective of rally is to provide a fast-moving and motivational activity that demonstrates the competency of handler and dog in performing basic obedience exercises without requiring exact precision for success.
This German Shepherd earned a perfect score on a novice course.
Most of these exercises Milo and I have been doing for ages. The fancier heeling patterns will need some attention, and I need to keep working on Milo’s engagement in new and distracting environments.
Also, there are signs that indicate which exercises a team needs to perform. Some of them are pretty obvious, and some aren’t. I need to study.
So, the plan for this week is pretty straightforward:
- Practice engagement in distracting spots.
- Work on our Figure 8 heeling pattern.
- Familiarize ourselves with the signs indicating various exercises.