What to expect for first Rally trial

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What to expect for first Rally trial

Postby brittienewbie » Tue Mar 10, 2015 9:03 pm

So Bearacuda and I are thinking of entering our first Rally trial in May. We've joined our local kennel club and have been taking Rally class since last summer. We've been practicing and Bear is much better at it than I am! He knows the commands (even most of the excellent and advanced) and I feel like it's time to get this show on the road. I guess what I'm concerned about is that he will be too distracted, with all of the commotion outside of the ring, to pay any attention to me...with no treats.

Any advice for our first trial?

On a side note, it's deer shed hunting season in Wisconsin and Bear's going out for his first go at it this Saturday - wish us luck!
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Re: What to expect for first Rally trial

Postby Lisa » Wed Mar 11, 2015 1:49 pm

Pretty much, your first trial of any kind, you can expect the dog to be distracted...and you'll be distracted and nervous and they'll pick up on that too. If there are any show-n-go's offered in your area, go to them so you can practice in a more trial like environment. Heck, in class, do one run through like you would at a trial.

There's a very real chance he won't pay any attention to you at all - don't correct, don't get mad. If you really just want to give up because he's so checked out, then get him to do just one "good" thing, even if it's just looking at you or sitting, then look at the judge, say "thank you, we're done." and leave the ring. Outside the ring, practice something he knows well and then reward, reward, reward!

Some tips for you - before going in the ring, take a few deep breaths and let your body relax. Connect with your dog. Suck on a peppermint to help mask your own stress responses. Walk the course until you are comfortable with it, and then leave the ring and walk it again outside the ring (or mentally walk it if you feel silly walking it outside the ring) Remember that in Rally, you can talk to your dog and you can offer "air cookies."

I recently did some Rally with Buster (he's 10+ years old now and starting to retire from agility). His first run through went really well, considering we'd never practiced Rally before and I didn't even know what half of the signs meant - had to have someone explain them to me. Then, his second run through, Buster decided he didn't even know what the word "sit" meant. I left the ring, he sat perfectly. Ring stress at it's best...not even sure who was stressed, me or him or both of us!!!
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