Question: I don't want to do obedience with my dog; I just want my dog to behave. Why should I enroll in a rally class?
Answer: The skills you and your dog will learn as a team in a rally class have direct use in real life. For example, when walking your dog and reaching a street corner, you can ask your dog to 'sit stay'. If your dog is highly distracted by something on a walk and you need to get his attention, you can do a 'call front'. Other exercises give your dog direction: left turn, right turn, about turn, etc, which are great for maneuvering your dog through crowds or tight spaces such as the waiting room at the vet clinic. At the very least, you and your dog will learn how to communicate more efficiently, and have fun doing it!
Question: I want to do agility with my dog because he loves to run. Why should I do this class?
Answer: Agility isn't just about a dog's ability and/or interest in running. It's way more about working together as a team, where each team member watches the other and reads fine body language cues. Rally does this, too. Rally can help in the agility ring, and agility helps in the rally ring. Dog and handler teams who don't work well together don't do well in any canine sport.
Question: My dog doesn't like other dogs. I don't see how I'll ever get to do any sport with my dog.
Answer: Rally is notorious for being a sport available to reactive dogs. Here at Great Companions, we pay particular attention to dogs with dog-sensitivities. All of the most important skills you need to work with your reactive dog can be learned in a rally class...focus, call front, about turn, and about U turn, just to name a few. As a matter of fact, we often do 'reactive rally' in our reactive dog classes, and have been known to run actual rally classes just for reactive dogs!
Question: I've already put my dog through basic obedience. Why should I do more?
Answer: For many reasons, not the least of which is the same reason our children attend school for 12 years at least. A six- or eight-week course is nothing in the life of a dog. We all need continued instruction, support, practice and socialization in order to function optimally in today's world. If you've already done basic obedience ("Foundations" at Great Companions), you are ready for another class. All of our classes here are fun, but rally gives you a chance to make some of these new skills look snazzy!
Question: I don't like the look of that 'stuffy heeling'. Why should I take rally? Isn't it just obedience?
Answer: Rally rules don't require dogs to heel perfectly. We allow for the dog to be within a range of a position next to you while moving, so only really wide or otherwise out of position heeling might lose points.
At Great Companions, we teach heeling in a fun way, so the dogs never feel coerced into heeling; they WANT to heel! And, don't forget, you never HAVE to compete with your dog...you can just take the class for fun! Most of our rally classes are offered in our new pole barn. It's a 50x96 beautiful indoor/outdoor facility, under cover, enclosed in bad weather, and on artificial turf. There's a lovely breeze out there, and the views of the pond are refreshing. Speaking of refreshing, the dogs are welcome to drink from the pond or even swim in it!