Have you heard of Rally-O? Jessica in our team is keen to share her love for dog sports including Rally-O with you all!
Rally-O was the first dog sport that I had ever competed in with my Miniature Schnauzer “Apple”. I was very nervous the first time I entered the ring. When it was all over it was just a blur but I remember the feeling of how excited I was to get round the course with no major issues. And to be honest I thought we would bomb out. We got first place on 99 out of 100 and I have been hooked ever since!
You might be asking what is Rally-O? It’s a relatively new dog sport in New Zealand compared with agility or obedience. In the ring there are about 15 signs (depending on the level) where you have to read the sign and get your dog to do what’s on it and do the course in the correct order. One sign might say “sit your dog and walk round them” without your dog moving. The next sign might say “left 360” which means heel your dog in a full left-hand circle.
As you get into the higher levels your dog is off lead and the signs become harder for example there is a jump. The jump is Apple’s favourite part. I have to be careful if the judge has put a sign close to the jump as when Apple sees the jump she thinks she knows best and has to go over it. That’s why I love to compete with Apple she gets so much fun out of competing. So much so that I often loose points as she is heeling in front of me as she wants to get to the next sign as quick as possible. If you were allowed to run round the course I think she would be in heaven. After she gets her well-earned treats of course.
I have seen dogs of all sizes compete, from a Pug to a Pharaoh Hound. Any dog can do it as long as you are willing to put the time and effort into training your dog. Your dog doesn’t have to be fastest on the block or yourself either. I have a good friend who is in her eighty’s and competes with her Cavaliers! Once you complete a level (Novice, Advance, Excellent and Advance Excellent) your dog gets a title to their name. Apple is “Apple RA” meaning she has qualified in her Advance title. We are now working towards her Excellent title.
To qualified in Novice you have to get at least 90/100. In Advance you have to get at least 95/100 and in Excellent you have to get a perfect score of 100. Even if you don’t get a placing, and qualify on enough points you get a certifcate to go towards your dogs title.
In recent years Apple and I have been competing in Obedience too which she also has great fun doing. I have a new dog named Echo (now 17 months) who will be competing in her first ever competition at the start of March. So exciting times ahead.
I love talking about dog sports so if you would like to know more give me a call at Ourvets Halswell on 03 322 8331 or visit the NZ Dogs website for further information.