Instructor: Sue Ailsby
Let's get ready to rally! This class is an introduction for people and dogs new to rally. You'll be learning the basic skills your dog needs to compete at the entry level of rally in a variety of venues, including AKC, CKC, WCRL, C-Wags, CARO, and more! We'll cover heeling variations, circles and turns, positions and walk arounds, fronts and finishes, and an amazing sidestep. You'll develop smooth, accurate, and cheerful teamwork for the rally ring. We want to send you and your dog into the rally ring with enthusiasm and confidence.
Keeping in the spirit of rally, we won't be working towards perfection - there are plenty of other FDSA classes for that - but we won't develop any bad habits that'll hold you back in other sports, either. What we will do is develop competence and enthusiasm while having a whole lot of fun!
Next session starts: August 1, 2018Registration starts: July 22, 2018Registration ends: August 15, 2018
Available as a prerequisite lecture-only purchase at this time.
For answers to common questions about our classes, please see the FAQ page.
The plan for this class is to cover the following skills and behaviors each week:
Pre-Class Checkups (available after registration):
Basic Clicker how-to
Rules of your chosen venue
Teaching your dog to eat
Chutes & Ladders (300-Peck has nothing to do with pigeons!)
Basic focus - watching your hands, your eyes, and your shoulders.
Basic positions - sit, stand, and down.
Basic places - Heel Position and Front Position.
Beginning heeling - teaching heel position at the stand, sit, and down; teaching heel position while moving.
The go-around finish.
The swing finish.
Using your swing finish for sidesteps, clean turns, halts, and backing up.
Stays and Walkarounds.
Turns and bends - spirals, serpentines, figure 8s, quarter-, half-, 3/4- and full turns in both directions, and the mysterious schutzhund turn.
Recalls and Finishes.
Moving downs and 1-2-3s.
Monkey In The Middle and solving other Botherations.
Prerequisites: A food-motivated dog and some experience with clicker training.
Equipment: The rules of your chosen rally venue, a printout of course signs for that venue, and at least a living-room-sized space to work in - preferably larger. I very strongly recommend you buy at least one - and preferably several - large mirrors so you can see what's going on behind you. These don't have to be big heavy quality mirrors. The cheap, over-the-door type are just fine.
POSTED IN RA210 LECTURES
POSITION CHANGES AT HEEL
We started working each Position - sit, stand, and down - with the dog in front of us where we could see what she was doing. Now we need her to assume the positions while in Heel Position.
RECOGNIZE THE HEEL POSITION PICTURE FROM SIT, STAND, and DOWN
You've spent a good deal of time rewarding her for being IN Heel Position - for seeing the HP picture. Hopefully, she's recognizing this picture whether she's sitting, standing, or lying down. If you just got a little jolt telling you that you haven't really practised that as much as you should have, by all means give it a couple of days' worth!
Rewarding her for seeing the picture doesn't mean that SHE has to get into Heel Position. All it means is that she has to sit, down, and stand. Then YOU get into HP and reward her for seeing the picture.
ASSUME THE POSITION - SIT, STAND, and DOWN - IN HEEL POSITION
When you're sure she's going to recognize the picture, work on getting her to give you each of the positions in Heel Position. Don't worry if her butt swings out to her left when she sits (or stands, or downs) - we'll fix that in the next Lesson when we start using the amazing Swing Finish.
At first, don't ask her to go from sit-to-stand-to-down-to-sit etc. We'll do that next - once we know she can give you each position all by itself while in pretty good Heel Position. Just one at a time.
STAND TO SIT - you've done a lot of these, since she's been standing up for nearly every sit you've ever asked for. Start with her standing in Heel Position and use your signal in front of her face.
SIT TO STAND - you've done this one a lot as well. Here's where you discover whether you actually have an understanding with her about what your stand signal is. If you have to, start at the beginning, lure her forward to engage her back legs, then duck your hand to her throat to back her into the stand.
SIT TO DOWN - another old favourite. Are you going to use your left hand to sort of hold her in Heel Position? Or your right hand because that's the one you're used to? Either way, get the down immediately - don't let her walk a step or two forward and THEN start to lie down. That's not what you were getting when she was in front of you, and it's not what you want now.
DOWN TO SIT - your sit-from-stand signal has been your Target Hand moving up in front of her face. That should work just as well here - put your Target Hand in front of her nose and make a scooping motion to scoop her from the down to the sit. If she's confused, yep, back to the beginning and lure her up with a treat in your Target Hand, still using the same motion.
STAND TO DOWN - just pretend she's still sitting. Your signal should work just as well here, especially if you've been practising the foldback down. If you've been working on the inching-forward down, just get the front end down and wait for the rear to follow.
DOWN TO STAND - don't worry! You both have the skills you need to do this! Remember how she learned the stand in the first place - lure her forward to get the back legs engaged, then under her chin to shift her weight backwards in the stand. Easy peasy. I have seen people use their left hands for this motion, but I think using the right is generally easier.
That's interesting - apparently Syn has three or four signals to stand. I guess I should make up my mind!
POSITION CHANGES WHILE MOVING
Once she's good at the previous lessons, AND NOT BEFORE, we can start working on getting the positions from heeling.
Only one change here - but it's a biggie. Her head won't be in the same position it's in when you're asking her to change a position while not moving. Her legs won't be in the same position. She won't be thinking about different positions.
In the beginning, don't heel. Just wander around a couple of steps, and then ask her to sit, or down, or stand. Click, reward, repeat. Gradually get her into heel position, take a couple of steps and ask her to sit, or down, or stand. Click, reward, repeat.
In rally, there are three different ways of assuming a stand or down while heeling.
- Halt, stand. That means stop, the dog sits (all halts have a sit, unless you're specifically told to do something else). Then, without you moving forward, the dog stands in Heel Position.
- Halt and stand without sitting first. This means the dog heels, you signal a stand, and then stop so the dog stops standing in Heel Position.
- Halt and stand and walk around. This means you stop the dog in a stand WITHOUT stopping, quick tell her to stay, and KEEP WALKING all the way around her counterclockwise and back into Heel Position. There'll be another sign to tell you what to do next.
So, Halt, sit, stand - you've already done most of this. Now you're only adding a bit of heeling before you ask her to stand from sit.
Halt and stand without sitting - start slowly because she's never done this before. Remember that she's going forward when she's heeling, and you need her to go backwards to stand. On the good side, she's already on her feet, you don't have to pull her forward out of the sit. Don't worry about the stay if you don't have one yet. We'll be working on them later, so you don't have to go all the way around right now. Right now we're just working on getting her to stop and stand before you stop.
This is doable, because you've already learned how to tell her to sit before you stop, right?
If you don't have a copy of your chosen venue's rule book, now's the time to get one and start reading it. Almost all (if not all) venues have their rule books online as a free download. I ALWAYS have PDF copies of the rules for sports I'm playing on my iPad and phone, so I can read through them again the night before each trial. You might think you'll get to know them by heart and won't need to look at them again, but especially if you're participating in more than one venue, it's a very good idea to know exactly what tomorrow's rules say about how to do a pivot (for instance).
Once you've read your first-level (usually called Novice) rules, you'll know whether you have to work on, for instance, stand-from-down now or not until you've got the novice title.
And, one more thing. Print up the signs from the first level. Or order them from your venue. If you're printing them, laminate them, they'll last longer. Next week we'll start working on them.
A SAMPLING OF WHAT PRIOR STUDENTS HAVE SAID ABOUT THIS COURSE ...
Sue’s breadth of knowledge is amazing; she can say things in many different ways, but also, has things to say in many different ways. - Sue took every single video seriously and commented in detail on what she saw. - I like that Sue teaches to perfection while encouraging mini-steps along the way. What I mean is, we are nowhere near perfect, and maybe never will be, but Sue never made us feel like we have to settle for mediocre. - Loved the focus on the human; shoulders, head, eyes – all that. Seasoned trainers probably already know this, but it was new for me and past training experiences focused mainly on getting the dog to do stuff and not so much on the human’s role. It was pretty amazing to experiment and see how much this impacts what the dog does.
The thing I liked about this course is that it taught the skill components of each Rally sign and broke it into different small behaviours. I had taken another intro course before which I would now describe as only an intro to the signs of Rally...rather than the skills of Rally.
I have taken and taught rally courses. My dogs have competed to the excellent level. But this course was filled with information that challenges me to do more. I can't imagine a better and more enjoyable course in rally and in dog training in general. This was the best. Period.
I wish I'd had this class years ago when I'd started training my dog for Rally. Sue does a great job building the skills needed for Rally competition with a joyful and precise canine companion.
I learned so much from the feedback that Sue gave her Gold students. She is kind and humurous while being precise and full of alternates suggestions if the original way she presented the material does not work for a student. Great instructor; I won't take the next RA right now because I need more time to work on the basis but I will in the future and I will look up the other classes she instructs.
Ailsby cares deeply about her students. Her comments and instruction show not only a profound understanding of the subject, but also a deep love of teaching and a great respect for each student.
I like straight talk and Sue delivers in a clear often entertaining way. When something's wrong, she points it out. When it's right, she says so. The goal and how to get there are very clearly articulated.
The rally skill building course has taken me and my dog from basic pet obedience to ready to try at a trial in 6 weeks. The feedback and guidance given have been invaluable and the sudden increase in our abilities is due to this. It has given me a love for obedience that I never knew possible coming from an agility background. Loved every minute of the experience thank you Sue Ailsby. Lynn M