Types of Training


Rally Obedience (also called Rally-O, or just Rally) is an exciting new companion sport developed by Charles "Bud" Kramer, the man who brought agility to the U.S. The first AKC-licensed rally trials were held on January 1, 2005, and PCOTC was one of the training clubs that offered a rally trial on that date.

Rally combines parts of traditional obedience exercises and puts them into an agility-style course with numbered signs (10-20, depending upon the level). The judge gives one command and the team goes through the course, following the numbers in sequence and completing the exercise required at each station. See photos from PCOTC's 2010 Rally trials. 

Rally was envisioned as a stepping-stone from basic training or the AKC Canine Good Citizen® program to the world of competition obedience or agility. It aims to bring new people into the sport of obedience, and to provide a venue for green dogs to compete who might not be ready for traditional obedience.

Rally promotes fun and enjoyment for dogs at all levels of competition. Scoring is not as rigorous as it is in traditional obedience. Exhibitors may talk to and praise their dogs throughout their run. A perfect heel position is not required, but there should be a sense of teamwork between the dog and handler. A rally exhibitor does not automatically fail (NQ) if a dog fails to complete an exercise properly on the first try; the exercise can be re-tried, although with a point deduction.


There are 50 signs in Rally that may be used on a course, depending upon the level. The Rally exercises, which are called stations, can be broken into the following groups:

  • Heeling Exercises with no change of direction
  • Heeling exercises with a change of direction
  • Stationary exercises involving at least one halt
  • Call front exercises
  • Turns and Pivots
  • Cone exercises
  • Jumping (advanced and excellent only)
  • Honor (excellent only)


There are three levels of competition in AKC Rally.

Novice is the first level, for those who are just getting started in competition. All exercises are performed with the dog on leash. The course includes 10 - 15 stations, with no more than five stationary exercises. Exercises performed vary from turning 360 degrees to changing paces. At this level, handlers may clap their hands and pat their legs throughout the course.

Advanced, the second level, includes more difficult exercises. All exercises are performed off-leash. The course includes 12 - 17 stations, with no more than seven stationary exercises. Exercises include a jump as well as calling your dog to the front of you instead of to a heel position.

Excellent is the highest level and the most challenging. Exercises are performed off-leash except for the honor exercise. Fifteen to 20 stations are required, with no more than seven stationary exercises. Handlers are allowed to encourage their dogs verbally, but physical encouragement is not allowed at this level. Excellent-level exercises include backing up three steps, while the dog stays in the heel position, and a moving stand, while the handler walks around the dog.

Currently the AKC offers Rally only in conjunction with Obedience trials. In other venues, such as WCRL, Rally is a separate event.


Rally offers four titling classes:

RN (Rally Novice, done on-leash)
RA (Rally Advanced is off-leash with a jump required)
RE (Rally Excellent is off-leash with two jumps and an honor required)
RAE (Rally Advanced Excellent requires 10 double Qs in Advanced and Excellent levels)

Each title requires qualifying squares or legs. A qualifying score is a minimum of 70 points out of a total of 100. Two legs can be earned under the same judge.

Note: In our online registration system, Rally classes are included with Obedience.

© Liza Wallis Margulies, www.snootydog.com.