Hints for AKC Rally Changes

Some tips to share about the new AKC rally changes.

Read Carefully & Ask Early

New rally changes impact every level of the AKC program for this sport. There are new signs at each level. There are TWO new levels. There is a Rally Championship program that requires points and multiple triple qualifying scores.

You need to read the premium and ask questions BEFORE trials close so you follow a strategy that best suits your goals and enjoyment. I know this is the spot where I should say, “If only one of you is having fun, it needs to be the dog.”  But be realistic because if momma ain’t happy, nobody happy and a little forethought makes everyone happier on trial day.

The Signs  They are a-Changin’

The new signs offer fun alternatives in course design. In some cases, they help with “drift”— when you need to get from one sign to another but they aren’t in a linear relationship so you kinda cheat over to be where you need to be.

Moves found elsewhere in dog sports, like freestyle, are spicing up the signs at the more advanced levels.

The trend to have stations that mimic small parts of utility exercises continues.

Here is a link to ALL  signs on the AKC website and here is a link to the AKC YouTube channel to see these signs in action. I recommend downloading those sites to phone or tablet for reference on the fly.

Shiny New Titles

Rally Intermediate is a new, non-required bridge class between Rally Novice and Rally Advanced. Dogs are kept on-leash to compete on an  Advanced course without jumps. It is, however, a titling class after three qualifying scores.  You do not NEED to title in this course to do Rally Advanced.

Rally Masters is now the highest single class title offered. Once you have finished your Rally Excellent title you move on to Rally Masters and qualify there TEN times to get the title.

One of the biggest rally changes is the addition of the prefix title: Rally Champion (ROCh). From the new AKC regulations: Rally Championship points will be recorded for dogs earning a score of 91 or better in the Rally Excellent B and Rally Master classes. A dog must earn a total of 300 points. Additionally, the dog must receive qualifying scores in Advanced B, Excellent B and the Master classes (referred to as RQT for our purposes), on the same day at the same trial at 20 separate licensed or member rally trials.

Let me be clear, a RQT leg is only earned AFTER you have your Rally Masters.

Strategies for Master & RAE legs

Yes, the RAE is still a title & you are welcome to keep working on it independent of the new championship. However, it is also accomplished as you work towards your championship. One of the strategies recommended by Debbie Addicoat, instructor &judge, is that once you start signing up to attempt leg 10 of Rally Masters, you sign up for the Rally Excellent B and Rally Advanced B classes too.

Depending on the mental stamina of your dog, you might want to start the three classes earlier—say around leg seven or eight–of  Rally Masters. For some dogs, three trips into the ring will be nothing. For others, going in and out of the ring along with the stress of the environment may require building up mental muscles. In this example, you are entering RAE and Rally Masters but are NOT eligible for a RQT ribbon/leg until you have your Rally Masters title done.


Dog Tags for Leashes Bags & Keys — OH MY!

Orange leash with yellow tag and blue leash with orange tag

I have a tradition of tags on dog agility LEASHES.  Tags make it easier to find the sliding bit when getting the leash on in a hurry.  If the tag is a bright color, it helps the leash runner find it in the grass or dirt after I fling the leash like a start-line stripper.

Bright Plastic Custom Tags

The “I am the Pretty One”  tag on Marshal’s orange leash was doneBright yellow tag that says Dobby #The Last Puppy for me at a local dog show by Tag Your It   (not a great website but you can see their contact info for future trials). They also did this tag for Dobby. These tags are plastic which is great for my dogs because metal tags often leave gray grime on white chest fur — especially wet, dirty, white chest hair. Yeah, I could just wash my dogs but they wouldn’t like it.

Good for a Laugh Tags

I found a great source of fun tags at our amazing West Seattle gift shop —  Alaire.  They currently have Bad Tags in stock. These are handmade in Minneapolis by a woman with three dogs to support. Here are a few I had to bring home. Notice the silicone ring around the tag? It glows in the dark & helps with tag noise (rabies and license clinking together). Going to see if it keeps the grime off the white fur.two tags in packaging one reads I'm Not Wearing Any Pants the other says I'm With Stupid

This one is on Dobby’s agility leash until we get outta Novice. ( Who am I kidding? We are never getting out of novice. ‘Cause that’s how we roll in the Shire)orange tag on blue leash around dog neck says I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I AM DOING

Since the tags are metal,  you can engrave the back. In fact, when you visittag sasy mischief managed the website — BuyBadTags.com — not only do you have a choice of colors and seasonal tags, but you can get it engraved on the back side of the tag too. Keeping with our Harry Potter theme, I ordered this tag in LIME GREEN with “My name is Dobby  My staff is Theresa@K9EventsNW.com” on the back.

tags reads YOUR PEOPLE NEED TO CALL ME PEOPLEI think this is the one for Marshal now that we are all food distribution systems for the elder dog.


Click and Treat

NOW the best part — BAD TAGS has an affiliate program so here is a link for a 15% off coupon on your first order!! Don’t forget to sign up for the newsletter (good for a laugh and a sneak peek of new tags) and  Rewards Program (where you can rack up the cookies faster than a Basset Hound at Sunday School). Personally, I have started a wishlist for tags that I love on the site, but don’t wait because I just learned the hard way that not all tags are available ALL the time.

Holiday Gift Tags

Not only are dog tags going to be great holiday gifts — think easy to mail  — but I have a bunch of uses for them.  With the option of bright colors and the ability to order tags with a name, phone number or email on the back, these are great to attach to the things that get left at trials. Imagine getting your keys, phones, chairs, nice treat bags, cameras cases,  even training bags back to you before you drive off at the end of a trial day. Not to mention laptop cases and backpacks. Honestly, the stuff trial secretaries pick up at the end of a big weekend is amazing.

Gotta feed the dogs!

Theresa and the Cardis