What is Rally?
Rally as a competitive dog sport was originally devised some years ago in the United States by Charles L ‘Bud’ Kramer. Mr. Kramer drew upon the obedience practice of ‘doodling’ which is a variety of interesting drills to perfect regular Obedience exercises. Now, as a sport in its own right, Rally is a fun way to both train and compete with your dog. Handlers are encouraged to talk to and encourage their dogs as they demonstrate a precise performance through teamwork and having fun. There are several Rally organizations, each having its own rules and regulations. ASCA Rally is dedicated to a fluid performance that demonstrates the partnership between the dog and handler with an emphasis on good sportsmanship. We are unique with our 4 levels of classes and the multiple titling opportunities at each level. ASCA Rally reigns supreme in the world of Rally.
What Rally Classes, Titles and Awards does ASCA Offer?
All Rally titles are available to Aussies, Other Breed and Mixed breeds. In each class a maximum score of 200 is allowed. In order to earn a qualifying score the team must score at least 170 points. At ASCA sanctioned events, placement ribbons for first through fourth place are given, and a Qualifying ribbon is given to each team that achieves a qualifying score in their class. If a team has earned a score of 195 or higher, an “X” Qualifying ribbon is given to the team. At the end of the day High in Trial, High Combined Score (scores from Excellent B and Masters B), and High in Trial Junior Handler Rosettes are awarded with cheers all around.
The ASCA Rally program offers competition in four levels of Rally: novice, advanced, excellent and masters. Within each level, 3 different classes are offered based on experience of the team, the experience of the dog, or the team’s current goals. The purpose of Rally Trials is not only to demonstrate the usefulness of the dog as a companion of man, but include the idea that dog and handler can be a team and have fun doing it! There is also a non-regular Team Relay Rally Class that doesn’t culminate in a title but always provides fun and entertainment as 4 team members work their way through a designed course that is timed. This non-regular event can be offered at any ASCA Sanctioned trial, but we most frequently see it during the week of our Nationals.
There are several titling opportunities at each level. The base title, the “X” title and the “C” title. The base title can be earned from an A class or a B class. “X” qualifying scores can come from any of the 3 classes, A, B, or C. Qualifying scores for the “C” title can only come from the C class. The chart below shows what you will need to earn in the way of qualifying scores to earn these three titles.
|Level||Base Title||“X” Title||“C” Title|
|Novice||RN – 3 qualifying scores (170 – 200 points) under at least 2 different judges. Can be earned from the “A” Class, the “B” Class or a combination.||RNX – 3 qualifying score of 195 or higher. “X” qualifying scores can be earned from A, B or C classes or a combination of those classes.||RNC – 5 qualifying scores of 190 or higher from the “C” class only. Must have earned the base title for this level prior to entering the “C” class.|
|Advanced||RA – 3 qualifying scores (170 – 200 points) under at least 2 different judges. Can be earned from the “A” Class, the “B” Class or a combination.||RAX – 3 qualifying score of 195 or higher. “X” qualifying scores can be earned from A, B or C classes or a combination of those classes.||RAC – 5 qualifying scores of 190 or higher from the “C” class only. Must have earned the base title for this level prior to entering the “C” class.|
|Excellent||RE – 3 qualifying scores (170 – 200 points) under at least 2 different judges. Can be earned from the “A” Class, the “B” Class or a combination.||REX – 3 qualifying score of 195 or higher. “X” qualifying scores can be earned from A, B or C classes or a combination of those classes.||REC – 5 qualifying scores of 190 or higher from the “C” class only. Must have earned the base title for this level prior to entering the “C” class.|
|Masters||RM – 3 qualifying scores (170 – 200 points) under at least 2 different judges. Can be earned from the “A” Class, the “B” Class or a combination.||RMX – 3 qualifying score of 195 or higher. “X” qualifying scores can be earned from A, B or C classes or a combination of those classes.||RMC – 5 qualifying scores of 190 or higher from the “C” class only. Must have earned the base title for this level prior to entering the “C” class.|
|Rally Excellent/Masters||REM – team qualifies in both Excellent and Masters at the same trial on 5 different occasions under at least 3 different judges. Double qualifying scores will come from the B classes only.||REMX – team qualifies in both Excellent and Masters at the same trial on 5 different occasions under at least 3 different judges with both scores being 195 or higher. Double Qualifying scores will come from the B classes only.||n/a|
|RTX and RTC||RTX – Awarded when a dog has receive all of the above “X” titles.||RTC – Awarded with a dog has received all of the above “C” titles.|
|RTCH||Point accumulation to earn the Rally Trial Championship begins once a dog has earned the Rally Masters title and the team begins entered both the Excellent and Masters class at the same trial. Teams must qualify in both classes entered for any points to be counted for either class. Teams must earn 100 points from Excellent and 10 points from Masters with at least 5 scores of 195 from each class. Points are earned based on the table below.
For more details regarding awards, title and classes, please refer to the Rally Rulebook by clicking here.
How do I know which class to enter?
The chart below briefly explains which class to enter based on the Rally Rulebook.
|Level||Enter the “A” class if…||Enter the “B” class if…||Enter the “C” class if..|
|Novice||You or an immediate family member own the dog, the dog has not earned any Rally or Obedience title in any registry, and you have not handled or trained any dog to a Rally or Obedience title.||Owner or other handler can show in B.||Anyone can show in C; must have earned the ASCA Rally Novice title.|
|Advanced||You or an immediate family member own the dog, the dog has earned the ASCA Rally Novice title and has not earned the RA or equivalent rally title or any obedience title in any registry, prior to the close of entries of the rally trial entered.||Dog has earned the ASCA Rally Novice title||Anyone can show in C; must have earned the ASCA Rally Advanced title.|
|Excellent||You or an immediate family member own the dog, the dog has earned the ASCA Rally Advanced title and has not earned the RE or equivalent rally title or the CD obedience title in any registry||Dog has earned the ASCA Rally Advanced title||Anyone can show in C; must have earned the ASCA Rally Excellent title.|
|Masters||You or an immediate family member own the dog, the dog has earned the ASCA Rally Excellent title and has not earned the RM or equivalent title or any Obedience title of CDX or above from any registry.||Dog has earned the ASCA Rally Excellent title||Anyone can show in C; must have earned the ASCA Rally Masters title.|
How do I get involved with ASCA Rally?
- Make sure your dog has an ASCA registration, LEP, or Tracking Number. Some form of ASCA membership will be required to qualify for a number if your dog does not already have one. Click here for more information. In addition:
- Be sure your dog is in good health and current on all inoculations
- Become familiar with the ASCA Rally Regulations. Please click here for the Rally Rule Book
- Attend trials and become familiar with the ring procedures before you bring your dog
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions of the experienced exhibitors
- Seek out the training classes that are best for you and your dog
- Please click here to see a listing of ASCA Clubs you might want to join
To enter a rally trial, you must submit an official ASCA entry form to the trial secretary. Entry forms can be found on the website or in the club’s premium list which will have all the relevant information regarding the trial. There is also an online event calendar on the ASCA website.
You are welcome to come to our trials and just visit. We also have many volunteers who no longer compete, or who may have never competed. They just enjoy participating.
How will we be judged?
Chapter 2 in the Rally Rulebook is Regulations for Performance and Judging. This is a very important chapter to be familiar with as you begin training and trialing in ASCA Rally. In Chapter 2, Section 23 you will find the scoring and minimum penalties guidelines for ASCA Rally.
What should I take to a Rally Trial?
A little pre-planning and organization goes a long way toward calming nerves both before and during a Rally Trial. Some amazing people manage to take only the dog, a crate, a chair, and water. Most need more. Since staying as organized and relaxed as possible during the show will be an important part to enjoying and being successful on the day, a list is a good thing. You might even start packing several days ahead of time.
This list might be divided into three sections:
Things your dog/s require (including any grooming equipment you might want to have)
Things you require
And miscellaneous things
Consider keeping your list on your computer; you will certainly find things to add and things to delete as time goes by.
Things the dog may require:
A crate, or an exercise pen at trials that allow them
Water, food, and bowls
Comfy pad or rug for the crate
Leash and poop bags and possibly a pooper scooper for walking your dog
Cookies or treats
A small toy
Things you may require:
Clean, neat, and most of all, comfortable shoes. Rubber or soft soles are preferable.
A cooler of drinks and snacks. Food may not be available at the site. Double check to make sure the site allows outside food and drink for humans.
Chairs for you and anyone who may be attending with you.
Gear that is appropriate for the weather (i.e. cool coat, rain coat,)
An emergency raincoat & change of shoes that just stays with the show gear.
Map/directions to show site
First aid kit for both you and dog (suggestion: carry liquid children’s Benadryl for insect bites, bee stings; check with your vet for appropriate dosage for your dog)
Medications you require
Medications your dog requires
Cell phone and charger
List of emergency contacts
A table, or a “top” for a crate to put your “stuff” on
A few small towels
A dolly and bungee cords
Camera and extra battery
Possibly an awning or other shade if you are to be outdoors in the sun
Do you need health papers and registration/s for ID if you are travelling far?
Beginner’s Dog Trial Etiquette
As always, etiquette is mostly a matter of plain good manners and common sense but it seems to increase our comfort and decrease our anxiety if we know what is going to be expected in a new situation.
Always ask permission before petting any dog.
Please do not offer food to someone else’s dog without an invitation.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. But, please, be considerate. Wait until handlers have completely finished before asking questions. And, if it seems a fast paced trial, be sure to ask if they have time to answer a question. In almost every case, dog trial exhibitors are more than happy to help you.
Keep your cell phone turned off, or in silent mode. A badly timed ring can ruin a team’s chance to perform well.
Unless you have business there, stay well back from ring entrance and the secretary’s table. They are very busy and often high pressured places. Dogs are not permitted at the Secretary’s Table.
Many exhibitors will thank you to NOT use the flash on your camera. In some places it is strictly prohibited because of the chance it might distract a working dog.
Make sure you have water and snacks available for yourself and your dog. However, don’t have then at ring side. Its best to keep munchies at least 10 feet away from the ring as the dogs may become distracted by your food if you’re too close to them. Remember, the dogs aren’t perfectly trained little robots – they are just dogs.
Some trials will permit dogs to attend that are not entered in competition. Feel free to contact the club and ask if your dog will be welcome.
When you are ready to attend with your dog ask yourself:
Is my dog polite and under my control in any and all company?
Are his vaccinations up to date?
Have I prepared the things we will both need for a day at a trial?
Be especially sure you have bags for cleaning up after your dog. Or, be a good neighbor and carry extras when you walk your dog to share with others “caught unaware.”
I addition to cleaning up after your dog, clean up after yourself. Don’t leave a bunch of garbage behind when you leave. It shows respect to the event, and to the show host, to leave your spot the way you found it. It’s easy to forget that at the end of a long day the people running the event will have to stay to clean up every mess that someone else left behind. You will see people that don’t do this; however, the people who have to make up for them will love you for helping.
Bring a chair for you and a crate for your dog. It will provide a secure place for her to rest and to be safe if you need to excuse yourself for a moment. Check to be sure she can be relied on to quietly wait in her crate. Dogs are rarely allowed in restrooms.
Do not allow your dog to bark or make a lot of noise, and don’t play with his squeaky toy. It is very distracting to teams that are warming up or in the ring.
When you begin to be confident, never hesitate to offer your help if you’d like. Sometimes things are just too rushed to show someone how to do something, but they will appreciate the gesture. You might also consider joining a club where you can gain extra experience.
Read the Rule Book! It is your surest way to know what is required of you and your dog.
When it is finally your turn to compete, be ready and in the area close to your ring. The Gate Steward will call your dog’s number when your turn is coming up. Do not enter the ring until you are invited, remove the leash (except in Novice) and proceed to the Start sign when you are invited into the ring by the Judge.
Do not pick up your dog in the ring. Enter and leave the ring with your leash attached to your dog’s collar. And remember that the collar may have no tags or identification on it.
So Breathe! Have Fun! Smile at and laugh with your dog!
I’d like to know exactly what some of the terms I’m hearing mean
Here is a short Glossary of a few “dog trial” terms from the Rule Book.
Glossary of Terms
1. Approved Judge – A provisional, regular, national or senior judge listed on the ASCA Judge Directory.
2. Baiting – holding hand(s) in such a way to give the pretense of holding food to accomplish an element of an
3. Briskly – keenly alive, alert, energetic.
4. Cluster – more than one ASCA sanctioned event held on either one or more consecutive days.
5. Command – verbal order from handler to dog.
6. Crooked – a dog that is not straight in line with the direction the handler is facing.
7. Crowding – a dog so close to handler as to interfere with handler’s freedom of motion.
8. Directly – immediately, without deviation or hesitation.
9. Drop Completely – a down position that would be acceptable for a Long Down exercise.
10. Element – a single piece of an exercise, such as a sit, stand, front, finish, or continuous movement specific to
the exercise being performed. EXAMPLE: Halt, Call Front, Finish Left, Halt (Sign #311) – there are four
elements: the initial sit, the call to the front position, the finish to the left, and the sit in heel position at the
end. EXAMPLE: Back 3 Steps (sign #315) – there are two elements: the continuous movement of the team
taking at least three handler steps back, and then the movement of the team heeling forward.
11. Emergency Situation – a situation that poses an immediate risk to health, life, property, or environment. Most
emergencies require urgent intervention to prevent a worsening of the situation.
12. Gently – with kindness, without harshness or roughness.
13. Handler Error – an error or mistake made by the handler that results in an individual exercise, or areas between
exercises (including all areas from the entrance gate to the exit gate) to lack the precision, flow, briskness, or
smoothness required for a perfect performance.
14. Incorrectly Performed Station (IP) – one or more parts of an exercise are not performed or are performed
15. Lack of Control – momentary lapse of control (i.e.: dog runs to gating and comes back quickly to the handler;
dog takes a jump when it is not the next exercise but returns quickly; dog makes a running circle of the ring
but returns to heel upon command).
16. Lame – irregularity or impairment of the function of locomotion, irrespective of the cause or how slight or
17. Minor Deduction – deduction worth 1-2 points.
18. Natural – not artificial; free of affectation; what is customarily expected in the home or public places.
19. On the Course – following the Judge’s order “Forward” until the team passes the Finish signs.
20. Pause – a complete stop, no forward motion by the handler.
21. Pivot – turning in the circle occupied by the handler before they started the turn, a turn in place.
22. Prompt Response – without hesitation, immediate, quick.
23. Repeat of Station/Retry – a station that is repeated in its entirety, including the approach, before beginning
the next station.
24. Resentment – resistance, unwillingness.
25. Signal – nonverbal direction from the handler to dog.
26. Star Station – designated by a star card above the top of the sign; worth 20 points.
27. Station Not Attempted by Handler – a station skipped/missed by the handler before attempting the next
28. Substantial Deduction – deduction worth 3 or more points.
29. Teamwork – cooperation or collaboration between the handler and dog; the dog and handler are working
together in a joint effort.
30. Withers – highest point of the dog’s shoulder
I’m planning my first Rally Trial, what should I expect?
Upcoming trials are posted on the website calendar
When you find a trial that interests you, you can print the premium from the ASCA website or contact that show secretary for a premium list or more information. When you have a premium list, make your decisions about which classes you qualify for and want to enter. But first, be sure you have met any membership or registration requirements.
Check to be sure that vaccinations or any health papers your area might require are in good order.
For trial day you may dress in clean, casual clothes that fit well. You need to be able to bend and move without restriction. ASCA shows are not usually “dressy” but your clothes need to be comfortable and they need to show respect for the event and the proceedings. You and your dog will each be part of the “team” that is presented to the judge, and a good appearance does make a better picture if you should win.
Plan on arriving early if you want to see the more advanced competitors. Be sure you arrive in plenty of time to get yourself and your dog settled before your turn in the ring.
Your dog can not go to the Table Steward’s area. So as soon as you get her settled, find your ring, check the run order, and pick up your armband (number and a rubber band) and a course map if one is available to you. (Occasionally you will have to wait for a time closer to your class’ start time.) The armband goes on your left arm, secured by a rubber band. In more advanced classes you are very likely to be asked for a jump height for your dog.
Before each level of classes, exhibitors are permitted a specific time to walk through and familiarize themselves with their course. A map of the course will be posted and often there are copies available for exhibitors to study.
Keep an eye on your ring and the order of judging (usually posted near the ring entrance) so you don’t miss your class. Be aware of any dogs that have not checked in (you still need time to “walk” your dog) and it is possible to find yourself having been called as next when you thought you had more time. So double check on your ring so you can be near the gate as the dog before you is finishing her run. Be warmed up and ready to go. Do not go directly to the gate until you are called, and when you are there be sure to wait there until the judge invites you before actually entering the gate. Upon entering the ring remember to remove your leash (except in Novice) and position yourself at the Start sign. The Judge will ask “Are you ready?” Respond if you are ready or quickly but calmly correct any flaw if you are not. Then say something like “we are ready, thank you”. The Judge will say “Forward” and that will be his/her last command. You will proceed through a well-marked, numbered course at your own pace. Each station will indicate with a graphic and a description of what exercise to perform, then you immediately move to the next. After you complete the course, remember to leash your dog prior to exiting the ring. Don’t rush, but don’t dawdle, there is probably another anxious exhibitor waiting on you to leave so they can start. Be sure to tell your dog how much you appreciate his effort. You can even have a very brief, controlled party time – how else is he going to know. It’s a dog trial, it’s OK to enjoy yourselves even if all did not go as you planned.
Your score will usually be posted within a few minutes. You are free to go check the board. Many people keep records of their scores and the exercises that lost points. (You can usually get this from the Table Steward after the class is complete). It may help define future training sessions. And it’s really fun to look back and say “Oh boy, I remember that day, we got a great score, or my dog really went all out for me, or what a fun group, we really had a great day.”
Please let us know if there is a question you would like to see answered here? We sincerely appreciate your input.