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As some of you may know, I've been interested in competing for titles in OB. I've been trying to get a hold of the CKC so I can fill out a PIN form in order to be eligible to compete. Someone mentioned CARO, a rally obedience club that allows you to compete, for a small fee, with any breed or mix of dog.

Getting excited I contacted a member who set aside some time in her busy schedule to go over some rules and tips with me :) It was awesome to talk to someone who is just as interested in the sport as me, and to watch her work her Chi's.

Some things came up:

In rally, it's much more laid back.
There are more commands my dog needs to know (two finishes, and hand signals).
You can't give any correction, verbal or physical in AND outside the ring.
Your dog does not have to be tidy in his sits, downs, or heels.
You can have up to four or five commands per station in novice (I think)
There are written instructions

What I know so far in OB:
Voice commands only
In order to get a higher mark your dog must be tidy in every command
You do what the evaluator tells you

I love how rally has jumps in it, but I'm not a fan of hand signals, or having to do two finishes.
I enjoy how strict OB is, plus I find it more straight forward than rally.
Rally is easy to jump in and compete, OB is proving difficult since CKC has not gotten back to me.
Outside the ring I would like to train my dog, and I do use light collar corrections (more of a nag to get his attention if his eyes start to wonder) and I do use a stern 'no' if Chase begins throwing behaviors at me.

I'm getting my info on Rally from one person, so if any of this is wrong please let me know.

Is it mandatory to use hand signals?
Which sport should I concentrate on first?
 

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Some things came up:

In rally, it's much more laid back.
There are more commands my dog needs to know (two finishes, and hand signals).
You can't give any correction, verbal or physical in AND outside the ring.
Your dog does not have to be tidy in his sits, downs, or heels.
You can have up to four or five commands per station in novice (I think)
There are written instructions


What I know so far in OB:
Voice commands only
In order to get a higher mark your dog must be tidy in every command
You do what the evaluator tells you

I love how rally has jumps in it, but I'm not a fan of hand signals, or having to do two finishes.
I enjoy how strict OB is, plus I find it more straight forward than rally.
Rally is easy to jump in and compete, OB is proving difficult since CKC has not gotten back to me.
Outside the ring I would like to train my dog, and I do use light collar corrections (more of a nag to get his attention if his eyes start to wonder) and I do use a stern 'no' if Chase begins throwing behaviors at me.

I'm getting my info on Rally from one person, so if any of this is wrong please let me know.

Is it mandatory to use hand signals?
Which sport should I concentrate on first?
I have competed (beginning levels) in APDT and C-WAGS rally only and have practiced AKC rally. Although the signs/exercises are similar, there are variations in scoring and rules about what is allowed (treats for example). I would suggest that you go to the website of the rally organization in which you might compete and read the rules for that organization.

>For beginning levels of APDT and C-WAGS, sits, heels, etc. don't have to be perfect to qualify but you could lose points.
>You are not required to give hand signals. You are allowed to give both hand signals and verbal commands at the same time and it only counts as one command/attempt.
>You do have to know how to finish to your left and right (but it's not difficult to teach).
>At one station, there can be multiple commands.
>One thing I like about APDT and C-WAGS is that you can talk and interact with your dog the whole time.

I am training in both OB and Rally but started in Rally competition first (Maiya was under a year) because I think it is a more relaxed setting to learn and compete.
 

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I can't speak for CKC/CARO rules, but AKC Rally is more "relaxed" than formal obedience, in that you can talk to your dog, clap your hands, use both hand and voice commands, etc. You just can't touch your dog, unless you are doing a "Stand" excercise. That said, you don't have to do the clapping, talking, etc., if you don't want to, but it is allowed.

As for the two finishes, lots of people use different commands for a left and right finish, so it shouldn't be hard to teach a smart dog the difference.
 

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Per OP quote:
I love how rally has jumps in it, but I'm not a fan of hand signals, or having to do two finishes.
I enjoy how strict OB is, plus I find it more straight forward than rally.

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I have never done Rally, but competed in OB with both my dogs.
With my first dog, I was a complete newbee, and I was extremely lucky to find a gift of a teacher, and took all her OB group classes (on-leash...then off-leash) with Confirmation training in between.
I loved the discipline, making fast and square sits (in time)...correcting lazy & sloppy dog actions...building the respect & bond together.

Fast forward 25 years, I am privately OB training my 5 month old puppy in OB...on the dead-end road, in front of our house.
I forgot some of the earlier rules, but developed a program geared to my individual dog.
We did the sloppy work first (getting started), then perfected it..using verbal commands & soft corrections....talking very much with prase touching & muzzle kisses.
Then I added "hand or leg signals" (all made up and probably wrong for true Rally) and with the verbal commands.
Next trained mixing it up, to trick her (all fun) / sometimes verbal only...sometimes signals only....sometimes both.
(always getting 100% eye focus, and desire to please)

^^^^ all pre-trial work / I did not want to stick by the rigid OB rules completely (but rather expand our training method).
- they only need to be cast in stone, entering the ring
With this approach, Amy was fully OB trained off-leash by 6.5 months old...when we where headed for the ring (a few years later), I proofed her a week in advance...starting with the variety I initially trained her with, then went back to verbal only...like we would be judged & scored on.

She was trained rather quickly in OB at a very young age...because I employed different senses of hers.
And she keep keenly aware, of the game's Dad was playing...in practice OB
I always kept it most fun...breaking many point decution rules (in practice) / in the competition ring, its all back to serious business.
- I am sure our early foundation with training variety...would have been a great foundation for Rally...(maybe next puppy, I hope)
Obviously, the jumps, extra communication, hand signals, etc. would attract me to compete in Rally / but OB will always be the foundation.
(and I am probably biased, b/c Rally will be new to me)
- I can't give you an educated answer...just share what I would do
 

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In Obedience you can use either hand or voice commands but you can't do both, except on certain exercises (I'm not sure about all of them maybe someone else can ask.) In rally you can basically do whatever you want as far as commands. You can clap, pat your leg, talk as much as you want, etc. Obedience does have jumps after the novice class, same with rally.

As far as getting marked down for crooked sits in rally, you can get marked down for it. I have before. They are usually more picky about it in advance and excellent. You will basically no matter what in obedience, the severity depends on the judge. You also can't correct in either rally or obedience.

This is for AKC though, I'm not sure how different it is for CKC. I prefer rally just because it's fun and quick (you can be done in 2 minutes opposed to 5 minutes in the ring, then waiting for other dogs to go then do sits and downs.)
 

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Knowing that rally accepts more sloppy (for want of a better term) work, I personally think it's better to start with the precision work of real obedience. If you start out accepting sloppy, it's going to be hard for the dog to understand precision. I'd rather start out doing it better before getting into something more relaxed.
 

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As far as getting marked down for crooked sits in rally, you can get marked down for it. I have before. They are usually more picky about it in advance and excellent. You will basically no matter what in obedience, the severity depends on the judge.
When you park your poor dog on a seam (like I did to Ilka one time) and she sits two feet away from you the entire Heel/Sit/Heel/Sit/Heel/Sit excerscise, or they sit really crooked, then, yeah, that's points lost. I was talking about the half points off for sitting ever so slightly crooked. They don't take off half points in Rally.
 
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