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For anyone playing in rally who finds some of the signs mysterious in meaning, ask here.


One important thing to note about figuring out AKC rally signs is to make sure you look at the sign descriptions as they appear in the rule book. The parts of the explanations that are in bold are the main parts of the exercise on which scoring is based. Here is a link to a pdf with explanations of the signs. http://images.akc.org/pdf/events/2017-rev-rally-minisignswdescriptions-1-2018.pdf
 
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I am very very new to Rally. I have a few questions:
1. Can you chose your own hand signals or are there established ones?
2. I know they deduct points in competitions and look for precision. What level precision? For example, in our obedience class, stay means no movement of any kind. Is that the same for the Halt sign?
3. The rally classes are monitored but no one is there to provide formal training. It is more of a practice run through environment. Who do you go when you need help?


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1. Can you chose your own hand signals or are there established ones? You can do whatever hand signals you want, but no luring hands (I try to keep a flat guiding hand so it will never look like luring). And you can't touch the dog in the ring. Only exception I can think of is the stand in Intermediate and Advanced, in which you can touch the dog to get it in a stand.

2. I know they deduct points in competitions and look for precision. What level precision? For example, in our obedience class, stay means no movement of any kind. Is that the same for the Halt sign? For the halt sign, the dog must sit without getting up (but it can move its head, doesn't have to be a robot statue). If it sits crookedly, you could lose a point or two.

3. The rally classes are monitored but no one is there to provide formal training. It is more of a practice run through environment. Who do you go when you need help? Our training club just added a new class where they teach beginners how to do each sign. Once they've mastered the basics, they can move up to the competition run-through classes--one is Novice through Advanced and the other is Excellent and Master. I never got the benefit of learning the signs correctly the first time. My first trainer did not compete in rally, so she had us doing a mish-mash of signs and not all correctly. I basically had to learn everything on my own, but get corrections from my competition trainers. I also watched a ton of YouTube videos, went to a foundations obedience class to learn the pivot, and I recently bought Dee Dee Anderson's DVD for Advanced, which has been extremely helpful.
 

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This is a great thread, I'm thinking of trying rally again too. I took an introductory class awhile back and found some of the signs frustrating, and poorly worded.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I am very very new to Rally. I have a few questions:
1. Can you chose your own hand signals or are there established ones?
2. I know they deduct points in competitions and look for precision. What level precision? For example, in our obedience class, stay means no movement of any kind. Is that the same for the Halt sign?
3. The rally classes are monitored but no one is there to provide formal training. It is more of a practice run through environment. Who do you go when you need help?


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I agree with everything zooeysmom said with the following other comments.


1. You aren't required to use a signal. You can use verbals and the verbals can be any words you want.


2. If you get to a halt sit as long as the dog stays sitting you are good, probably won't even lose much in the lower classes if they sit sloppy or resettle the sit. If they stand up and sit again that is a biggy on points, perhaps even NQ.


3. I only ever took one rally class with Lily way back when we started and did it mostly to support my club and because I liked the teachers. Ever since then I have trained everything on my own for Lily, Peeves and Javelin for rally: RN for Javelin, RN and RA for Peeves and 12 rally titles for Lily and masters in three more legs. Get a rally rule book from AKC or get one of the AKC rally quick guides here Rally Store Both of those resources will have pictures of the signs and descriptions of how they work.


If anyone is still stuck on anything just ask. I don't know CKC, UKC or WCRL rally very well, but I know just about everything you need to know for AKC rally and other people on PF like Skylar and mvhplank know the other venues.
 

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We have a lot of ASCA up here,too. Generally,the judges in rally are less "fussy" than obedience. SOME are even generous:eyebrows:

I had a terrible times with directionals until one trainer said "360s are just cirlce left or circle right" which I remembered from the years I did obedience as an almost teen! I still have to THINK about which way to go most times,and for the life of me,I cannot master Otter's current training collar! Thankfully ,I have friends!

Martha ,Che and Otter WildMan
 

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You can try a number of things. Do large circle lefts and work on keeping her in position and make the circles gradually smaller and small but not going smaller until she is correct on large circles. You can also use a cone, jump stanchion or even a chair as an obstacle around which to practice. Those ideas are not mutually exclusive.


The other thing to think about is having a different order for circle left and circle right. For Lily any time she is going around the outside (360 right and 270 left) I tell her circles. For any time she is turning on the inside I tell her back (360 left and 270 right).
 
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In public when we have to execute a circle left I am usually pushing a shopping cart. I always say, “turning.” Noelle is very good at this. It’s less nice without a shopping cart. I use “around” for circle right. We will go in wider circles and then tighten them. Noelle will get better with practice.
 

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We're competing in WCRL. I chose to compete there first because they allow you to use food rewards after "stationary exercises". Stationary exercises are basically when the dog ends in a sit or down position.

Babykins was very food driven and I had a hard time withdrawing treats long enough to compete. I thought being able to give her some treats while we compete in WCRL Rally would be a good way to prepare her for AKC Obedience where no treats are allowed.

With AKC before you enter the ring, you must not have any treats on you (some people illegally hide food in their mouth but I can't do this). With WCRL you can walk up to the start sign in the ring and give your dog treats just before you begin. Then at "stationary signs" you can treat.

I keep mentioning stationary signs and treats - my reality was I was so nervous the first few times we competed that I was too scared to treat in case I made a mistake and treated at the end of a non-stationary sign which would earn a NQ. Dropping food will also NQ you. Treating your dog also slows you down; this is a timed event in which you must finish within a reasonable time and ribbons are awarded based on score and time is used to break a tie. In the end having that food in my pocket was a security blanket for me, not Babykins.

A savvy handler uses treats if their dog is losing focus - judicial use of a treat on the course can spark a better response.

I haven't done AKC Rally, but many of the people who compete in WCRL locally also compete in AKC. My understanding is most of the signs are similar.

There are some differences. In WCRL the dog has to heel on your right and move from front position into heel on the right.

What I like is some of the exercises are helping prepare Babykins and I for more advanced Obedience. Jumps include a directed jump where your dog sits 6' off to the side while you walk to the other side, also 6' to the side - call your dog over the jump with just a simple hand motion and they have to come into front position. Dumbbell retrieve - the dumbbell is placed in the ring before you start - you heel around the dumbbell until you come to the dumbbell retrieve sign where you sent your dog to retrieve the dumbbell.

There is a drop on recall and signal exercise as well which I'm not sure if these are also included in AKC Rally.

Where I train for WCRL the class is a mix of teaching the exercises as well as working courses and includes some novice obedience as well. What I love is that several of the people in my class are teaching WCRL rally in two other clubs. It's helpful to watch these experienced handlers and their dogs.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Skylar thanks for the WCRL perspective. I did level one with Lily way back when it was still APDT rally. I personally would probably be one of those who messes up with food, but the other parts that are similar to some open and utility exercises are certainly interesting.
 

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Well,first of all,it is usually circles RIGHT that are the problem (lagging),so you are ahead of the game,in my eyes! Left turns.circles, are a matter of hind end awareness. Be sure your left shoulder turns,do lots of left pivots (train with treat outside dog's right nostril-i am not a teacher/trainer, and have refused such positions because I don't explain well . What works for my dog may not work for yours,etc) Turning on a perch helps with the hind end awareness,as well.

Martha et al
 

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Skylar thanks for the WCRL perspective. I did level one with Lily way back when it was still APDT rally. I personally would probably be one of those who messes up with food, but the other parts that are similar to some open and utility exercises are certainly interesting.
Yes, I’m afraid of messing up too so it’s in my pocket as a security blanket but I’ve never used it. Unfortunately the rally signs don’t tell you if they are stationary or not. Add in the married signs which can change a the rules for treating making it more complicated
 
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So far I have only done UKC rally while most signs are similar to AKC there are a few that are different. Like AKC no treats or toys are allowed in the ring. I am still competing in novice so have not worked on learning many of the advanced signs. I do know that a Novice course will have 15 to 17 signs not counting the start and finish signs.
In my first trial I ran into one of the different signs or at least something I had not seen in my AKC oriented classes. Thankfully one of the more experienced exhibitors explained the sign to me and it is pretty simple and actually self explanatory but I was in panic mode and not thinking well after I saw the HALT, DOWN, SIT sign listed.
Thankfully that one was simple to do and the sign actually says it all. Stop (your dog should sit but you may give it a sit command) then down your dog, pause long enough to show your dog knows what down means, then tell it to sit again. Once sitting move to the next sign.
 
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Yes we have that halt, down sit sign too.

I think another difference is you can onl give the command once, if you have to tell your dog to sit or down a second time, you lose points. You can give a hand signal with your verbal but that hand signal needs to be fast, not a slow drawn out one otherwise it looks like “luring” and you lose points or can get disqualified.

With the huge change in rules last year they put an emphasis on heeling and the position your dog sits, lays down and comes in front.
 
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UKC says :
1. Heel Position. The “heel position” in Traditional Obedience refers to the location of the dog with the dog’s head to shoulders in line with the Handler’s left hip. However, in Rally Obedience, perfect “heel” position is not required and is defined as the dog under control within no more than a 2-foot area at the handler’s left side. Heeling is done at a normal” pace and can is described as walking briskly and naturally with the dog moving in heel position whether the team is performing a specific exercise or heeling in between exercise stations

Wry grin this is one reason Jazz managed to earn her URO1 she didn't have to do a strict Obedience type heel which she tends to suck at.
 
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Discussion Starter #17
spindledreams so true that heeling means something somewhat different in rally as opposed to obedience, but I would always aim for a better heel position in practicing rally than is required since things often don't look as good in trials as in practice.
 
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So I'm stumped...


Some of you may recall that I have had a devil of a time getting Lily to think it was fun and a good idea to do the three masters signs that involve spins (clockwise, counter clockwise and dog and handler spin next to each other). We have worked very hard on it and now she is a spinning fiend, but I wrecked something else because my hand signals are too similar to each other for the spin counter clockwise and the back up three steps dog remains in position excellent sign. I need a new way to cue the back up since I don't want to do anything to take apart the spin. For the spin I am using my left hand held flat just above and in front of Lily's head and moving it in a circle in the direction she should turn. My back up signal had been hand flat over her head still but to her moving back as I took my three back steps. I verbally pre-cue the back up with a short two steps by me as I say get ready, but if I bring my left hand up over her head she spins. I will gladly take any suggestions.
 

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I may not be much help because I'm struggling with a stand hand signal from a distance - I have no problem when I'm standing next to her. But when I'm a few feet away facing her I don't have a good hand signal for stand. For sit I use my left hand and hold it out and upright so she sees my full hand - she sits when she sees the flat hand. For the drop I lift my right arm over my head with my hand facing her and she drops as she sees me lift my arm. For stand I'm just lifting my left arm up towards her - and it's clearly not working well and probably because she doesn't see much. What do you do?

One of my cues for backing up is I lift my left knee high forward almost like a marching step, then move my foot back as I step back. This movement of my knee doesn't look anything like when we're walking forward or running or walking slow - it's an odd thing. I keep my hand normally on my waist for heeling. As I'm moving my knee in that exaggerated position I also move my hand slightly off my waist so she sees the flat of my hand as I move my elbow back. The knee and arm movement is at the same time I command "back". In WCRL I have to keep any movement and verbal commands as one short total command.
 
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I can see why you don't want to take away from your spins. Hm, this is a stumper. In rally, we're allowed to use both hands, so what about swinging both arms backward? Back, back, back. Or, slowly transition your spin signals to your pointer finger, which is what I use. I use my pointer finger to indicate spins, but use a flat hand for all other moves.
 
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