Unlike regular obedience, instead of waiting for the judge’s orders, the competitors proceed around a course of designated stations with the dog in heel position. The course consists of 10 to 20 signs that instruct the team what to do. Unlike traditional obedience, handlers are allowed to encourage their dogs during the course.
In Rally, which is open to all breeds and mixed breed dogs, the team starts with 100 points, and the judge deducts points for mistakes. After qualifying three times under two different judges, the dog earns a title, which appears after the dog’s registered name. Each qualifying trial earned is known as a “leg.”
There are three levels in Rally:
- Novice: The beginner’s class. The dog is on leash and there are 10 to 15 stations, the title is RN.
- Advanced: For dogs who have completed their novice title. Dogs are judged off leash, and the title is RA.
- Excellent: The highest class, for dogs who have earned their advanced title. 15 to 20 stations, including 2 jumps, are used in this class and the title is RE.
Additionally, there is the Rally Advanced Excellent (RAE) title, in which the team has to qualify in both Advanced and Excellent in 10 trials.