Crazy Tails Canine Services is hosting a Canadian Association of Rally Obedience trial later this month in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and Milo and I will be in it! It will be our first trial.
Hey guys, I’m going to a CARO trial!
It feels like this roller coaster is just about to head down that first breath-taking plunge and Milo, silly boy, is laying at my feet snoring—it’s probably a good thing he doesn’t realize just how exciting this is or he’d be pacing around looking for what’s got me all aflutter.
We have two weeks to get ready and we’ll need it. There are three organizations with sanctioned Rally trials in Canada: the Canadian Kennel Club Rally, the United Kennel Club Rally, and the Canadian Association of Rally Obedience (CARO). The rules and exercises are a little bit different for each organization, and CARO is the one I’m least familiar with. I’ll try to line up a lesson or two before the trial just to make sure that we’re on target.
By the way, Saskatoon is my home town, and there is a good chance that my family will come out and see Milo and I strut our stuff.
If you have any advice for our first trial I’d love to hear it.
Milo and I spent the last week heeling through figure eights, and weaves, and spirals. I am happy to report that we can do all the Novice Rally exercises and I can read all the signs.
The biggest challenges for me will be keeping track of our left and right turns (I’m not joking) and remembering to speed up when Milo starts to lag. This feels backwards. When Milo starts to slow down my tendency is to slow down as well and tell him to hustle up. But, he catches up more quickly if I ignore him and walk faster.
I’ve heard people give different reasons for why this works. Some say
- that it adds more forward energy to the exercise,
- that the dog doesn’t want to be left behind,
- that it makes the exercise more interesting for the dog, or
- that the dog imitates the handler.
All that I know is that if I slow down, he slows down even more, and that if I surge ahead, he’ll break into a trot to keep up. It’s a case of do as I do, not as I say.
I wish I had video of me and Milo. In my imagination we look like this team when we go through a serpentine weave:
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.