Rally (or 'Rally O' in the USA) is a canine sport derived from
the heelwork elements of competitive Obedience. It differs from
Obedience primarily in that competitors and dogs attempt a pre-set
course along which signs are placed at up to 15 stations (Level 1)
along the course.
The selection of exercises and design of course is at the
judge's discretion. Each individual round is performed at a 'brisk
pace' and takes around four minutes. There is no direction from the
judge or steward as in Obedience; the signs are all the guidance
competitors receive. Handlers walk through the course (without
dogs) before the competition starts. At Levels 1 and 2, the lowest
levels, dogs compete on lead and a loose lead is emphasized. The
handler may give verbal commands and encouragement throughout as
More advanced levels require dogs to compete off lead. Physical
or harsh verbal correction is strictly penalised. Elements of
Obedience such as group stays and scent exercises do not feature;
like agility, once the competitor has completed the round he or she
has finished. Although based on Obedience heelwork, many exercises
differ significantly from those found in competitive Obedience and
introduce innovative concepts of control of the dog.
Competitors start each round with a perfect score of 200 and
deductions are made by the judge for inaccuracies and mistakes in
performance. As in Working Trials, progression to the next Level
will be based on reaching a qualifying standard, requiring three
qualifying scores of 170 or better under three different judges.
Places are awarded at competitions but progression is independent
of winning first places.