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We went to our rally trial at our training club today. The first sign was Call Front Finish Left. We've worked so hard on Call Front ____ signs. Immediately, Noelle spun out in front and sat. Then she paused to scratch her ear. That's Noelle's stress sign. Oh no, we just got to the first sign and things are about to go pear shaped. What do I do? I told Noelle not to worry and that we were there to have fun together. I asked for a Finish Left, and Noelle bounced back and swung into a finish. Next sign was fast forward from a sit. After that, Noelle and I connected and we finished Leg 3 of Rally Novice with a score of 95 and second place.

The judge said he hoped we'd come back for Rally Intermediate. Absolutely, yes, yes, yes. We're hooked.
 

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Awesome news. I knew you'd get it!
 
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YAY! I never had a doubt!

 
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I’m so excited that I’m jumping up and down with joy that you and Noelle got your first title an did so well. Congratulations team Click.
 
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Thanks everyone. Today was sweet. I got my first title at my local AKC club where I've been training for a year. I worked really hard on Novice obedience between October 2017 and July 2018. In August our club shut down because of the county fair, so I decided to take a Rally class at another training school nearby.

Rally instantly clicked (ha!) in ways traditional obedience just didn't. We've only been training in Rally since August, but it's so much like service dog work that all our skills flow together. For example, walking through a crowded store, we have to zigzag around objects left, right, left. That transferred into zigzagging around cones. In public, we backtrack, turn around, avoid the kid yelling "Doggie Doggie" by making an about U turn left... And of course in public I can talk to my dog, mostly to avoid bonking her with a shopping cart. Rally fits beautifully.

Once I started training in Rally, I noticed Noelle's rear-end awareness increased tremendously in crowded public areas. I think my favorite thing is the 270 degree turn to the left, with a shopping cart. Noelle backs around me and the cart like a ballerina. For our Trick Dog Elite, when we finally get there, I'll get some video of the shopping cart ballet. 360 degree turns, 270 degree turns left, or right are all so fluid because of Rally.

What is NOT fluid and needs a tremendous amount of work is heel with drive and attention. I get it in short lovely bursts, but it's not consistent. We need to work on heel. The loops, turns, zigzags, side steps, all of that is secondary to gorgeous heel work. Because when we're heeling, then rally is like a dance. I lead. Noelle follows. My goal now is to get a consistent, fluid, beautiful heel. Everything else will grow from there.

There are trials around here in December-February, but Chicago weather can make roads downright dangerous in the winter. I'm hoping by mid-March travel will work and we can trial again. But, then again, maybe not. You know the saying, "March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb?" In Chicago, March comes in like a lion and goes out like a rabid polar bear on steroids.
 

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SO wonderful!!! Congratulations Noelle and Click. All your hard work is paying off!
 
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I never had any doubts--congratulations!

I think "formal" obedience can safely take a back seat to rally, since it seems to mesh so well with your service dog training. I fear one sometimes must become a masochist to want to do obedience, since it's so hard to be perfect ... and some imperfections can NQ the entire performance. ("Oh, was that signal for me? Oops.")

I do enjoy rally and it was the first thing I ever showed or titled in, too. There are other fun venues, but AKC has come up with enough signs and levels that you may trial for a long time and never see the same course twice. ... Unlike obedience.

Yeah, obedience. I can't believe the number of grumbles and complaints I hear about AKC's changes and re-changes to the Open order. Personally, I think they're both good and long overdue. Also, I think Neely is too smart for his own good and I deliberately do other venues so he never knows what to expect when we walk into a ring.
 
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