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Leo, Lily, and Simon
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I think for the most part, the signs are pretty much self-explainatory, although every now and then, one throws me. Did you get a copy of the regulations? They have an explaination of each sign at the end.

I think the move you are thinking of (the circle with the dog walking backwards) is actually the 270 and 360 turn to the left. If you do it as a very small circle, then, yes, the dog might end up walking backwards to stay in position. The second station in this video is a 360 to the left. Ilka @ LCCOC May 27, 2012 - YouTube
 
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Leo, Lily, and Simon
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You can either order a booklet with the rules, or you can be cheap like me, and just download them, and print them yourself (faster, too). http://images.akc.org/pdf/rulebooks/RO2999.pdf (Obedience and rally are in the same booklet) This is the link to download the signs. I just printed out the new ones, and put them in sheet protectors. (I already had a set off of eBay that weren't laminated, so I just needed the new ones.) http://classic.akc.org/pdfs/events/rally/signs_2012.pdf

Oh, and for the three steps backwards, I don't use the word "back", I just say "heel", and start walking backwards. I honestly don't remember how I taught her to heel backwards, but I think I just started with her standing beside me, and told her to "heel", and took a step back. Now, she can heel backwards for quite a bit, from either moving forward, or from a sit.
 
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I finally got around to printing out the UKC Rally rules and signs. (Methinks me needs a new color cartridge. :D) Figured I'd go ahead and learn them too, just in case there is an event around my neck of the woods. While most of them are pretty much the same, there are a few things that are different, like the spirals not being done in the same pattern. They also have one that seems pretty confusing where you leave your dog, you run a few steps, and then call the dog to front while you are running. Really? That sounds.... difficult.
 

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Leo, Lily, and Simon
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Knowing me, I'd trip over my poor dog. :) I've done the run backwards thing, but I don't remember ever turning and running, and then having the dog do a front at a run. I guess I just need to study the explanation of the station a bit more in depth. I just sorta skimmed.
 
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Leo, Lily, and Simon
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Maybe I'm being overly ambitious, but I've downloaded the UKC and ASCA Obedience and Rally rules and signs. I figure even if the girls and I never actually get around to competing in their venues, it wouldn't hurt to be familiar with them, just in case. ASCA has some interesting stations.
 

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Leo, Lily, and Simon
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I totally agree about blowing right through classes! My advice, fail early. I promise is it slightly devastating when you mess up (you not the dog). If you mess up one time early then if you do later it won't be so hard. On our second day out I blew right past a "down" sign. DOWN! Diego hits the deck when I say down, but I just looked right past it a kept walking! I went to the car and cried as he licked the tears off my face, but I had learned an important lesson and hopefully won't make that mistake again! Don't stress!

Also, don't be hard on your dog if you screw up. It isn't his fault it is YOURS. I HATE watching juniors! Some of them haven't learned this lesson and even with a score of 95 they will talk about how dumb their dog is or how badly the dog screwed up! I HATE hearing this. My trainer taught me if something goes wrong it is YOUR fault, not the dog!

HAVE FUN and GOOD LUCK!
I can tell you Ilka's first scored in Advanced with no trouble. They were Excused, Excused, Excused, and NQ. :rolleyesww: She ran around the ring like a maniac, and was trying to pick up and play with the signs. The best that could be said about her is that she stayed in the ring, and didn't soil it. After the three excusals, I gave up even thinking about a Q, and was just hoping to make it from point Start to Finish. We made it. Our score was in the 30's, but we made it.

If we had made a 95, I probably would have fainted from shock. Our highest ever score was 89 (her RE title leg), and I really think the judge was being generous.
 
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:fireworks: :welldone: :yeahbaby: :tropthy:
Miranadobe, I see that congratulations are in order. A 391 out of 400 is very nice. :)
 

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Going for an RAE is probably cheaper than going for a UDX. Too many things to NQ on in Open and Utility. You have to be as bad as Ilka and I to NQ in Rally. :)
 
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Sigh... despite showing Ilka a dozen or more times in Novice obedience, I am still eligible for Novice A with Leontine. We never did get our last leg. Even the RA and RE were hard work for us. I think it took us something like eight times in the ring to get our RA, and five times in the ring for our RE. I thought about going for an RAE with Ilka, but she is getting more reactive to people (kids especially) and has always been dog reactive. I decided it wasn't worth the risk of her being involved in an "incident".
 
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Okay, a bored mind is a terrible thing to use. :) I was surfing the web, and found the AKC event statistics for 2012. Um... well, Dobes don't seem to be doing a whole lot in rally, overall. Miranadobe and Gracie are obviously exempt from that statement. :D Anyway, there were 143 RNs, 61 RAs, 42 REs, 10 RAEs, and 4 RAE2s. GSD had 251 RNs, 130 RAs, 26 REs, 26 RAEs, 1 RAE2, and three other RAE+ titles. All Americans had 397 RNs, 164 RAs, 94 REs (yay, Ilka! :)), 13 RAE, and 1 RAE2.
 
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Just thought I'd bump this thread up, seeing as how it's been a while since anyone's posted.

How is everyone doing? I know that Leo and I have a loooong way to go before we are ready to trial.
 

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Leo, Lily, and Simon
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Do you have a copy of the rules? If not, get one, and read it front to back. Make sure you know what all the signs used in your level look like, and how to properly perform them. If you still have a question, ask the judge during your walkthrough.

Remember to breathe. :) I know everyone says that, but seriously, it's important. If you start holding your breath, it makes things worse.

And have fun. Even if your dog does the most embarrassing thing possible (Ilka's both peed in the ring and jumped out of the ring, and Leo's tried to kiss the judge on the mouth), you still have the best dog out there, because they are yours.
 
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Got mutt?
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Has anyone looked into Cyber Rally-O? Cyber Rally-O: Welcome! I'd heard about it, but hadn't looked it up before today. Wow. At the upper levels, they have some very difficult and interesting exercises. I'd say that this is definitely in Ilka's future, and likely Leo's, as well.
 
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A turn is not always a pivot, but a pivot is always a turn. :) In a pivot, the handler turns on the spot, and the dog adjust to the handler, actually moving backwards on a left pivot.

I wouldn't try backing up to get her to turn. (I'm having trouble visualizing that, honestly.) Backing up is actually pretty hard for a lot dogs, I think. I was ecstatic when Leo backed up two little bitty steps today. We were doing pivots to the left, and I just took a step back, and she followed me. I did the same thing to get her to take a sidestep, pivoted left, and then took a tiny step to my right, and she followed me.

This blog post Left Turns | Denise Fenzi talks about left turns. Some of it is hind-end awareness in the dog, and some of it is footwork from the handler.
 

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Leo, Lily, and Simon
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FDSA just finished up a really great class on teaching the foundations of heeling, which has involved pivots. Lots and lots of pivots. My girls and I have been doing pivots until we (I, at least) are dizzy, but I can see where it's starting to pay off.

This class Fenzi Dog Sports Academy - FE105: Get Focused! is coming up in the next session, and I'd recommend it to just about anyone.
 

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Yes, it's online. There are three levels of participation, ranging from auditing a class to one-on-one instructor feedback. You can train wherever and whenever you choose. Fenzi Dog Sports Academy - About us
 

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Leo, Lily, and Simon
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Yes, they learn to read your body language. All I have to do now is remember that I can't obviously cue a left turn with my shoulder in the obedience ring....
 

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Leo, Lily, and Simon
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As they are learning, they get treats/rewards often. Eventually, you start phasing out the treats, and doing longer sequences before they get their treat/reward.
 

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Leo, Lily, and Simon
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I just found another place to compete via video. It's called Wag It Games, and they have several different types of sports/games, two of which you can submit videos for titling. "Shadow Skills" is what they call their rally, and "Dog Ball" is what they call their treiball.

Oopsie, almost forgot the link. http://www.wagitgames.com/home.html
 

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Leo, Lily, and Simon
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I have a few questions if you don't mind. There are some matches coming up in May, do you think that's too early for us to compete if we started class in January?
Matches range from causal to formal. A fun match or show and go is relaxed and informal. You pay for "X" amount of ring time, and can do pretty much your own thing. A more formal match is run just like a trial, with ribbons and placements, the only difference being that they don't count towards titles. If it's a fun match, and you think ya'll are capable of doing everything, and not falling apart, I would at least try it.

Also, what's the difference between Novice A & B? A means you've earned a title before right? And B is me because I've never competed?
Actually, you have that backwards. A is for dogs and handlers who have never won a title. B is for people who have titled dogs and/or dogs with obedience titles. This is a handy tool to help determine which class you need to be if for AKC and UKC rally and obedience. https://showentries.info/tools/

Lastly, There's a match on May 2nd that's All Breed competitive and a match May 16th for the Doberman's club that's just a fun class with a competitive class on the 17th. I would REALLY love to do the one on May 2nd but do you think it would be better to sit tight and do a fun match first to get experience under my belt? (I probably know the answer to this I just don't want to hear it) ;) Thanks everyone for your help, some of your advice took us a long way very quickly!
Given the choice, I'd wait, and just do the fun match on the 16th. Doesn't mean you can't go see what it's like, though, especially if it's a formal match. I jumped into trialing waaaaayyy too soon with both Ilka and Leo. Ilka managed to get some titles, but she really hated showing. Leo went to one trial when she was about 18 months, and she fell completely apart.
 
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