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.


The signs may be any color and they include descriptions as well as directional arrows of exercises. Signs are numbered to make it easy to find the next station when navigating the course. All signs are placed to the handler’s right side. The signs are large enough to be easily recognized when going through a course. The exercises designated on the signs will be performed in close proximity to the sign itself, either directly in front of, or in front of and to the left of the sign.


The three levels of competition in AKC Rally:


This is the first level for those just getting started in competition.

  • All exercises are performed with the dog on leash.
  • There is a requirement of 10-15 stations to complete with no more than five stationary exercises.
  • The exercises performed vary from turning 360 degrees to changing paces during the course.
  • Exhibitors at this level may clap their hands and pat their legs through the course.


This is the second level, which includes more difficult exercises throughout the course.

  • All exercises are performed off-leash.
  • There is a requirement of 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.


This third and highest level of AKC Rally is the most challenging.

  • Exercises are performed off-leash except for the honor exercise.
  • There is a requirement of 15-20 stations, with no more than 7 stationary exercises.
  • Handlers are only allowed to encourage their dogs verbally. Physical encouragement is not allowed at this level.
  • The 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.


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.