Hints for AKC Rally Changes

Now that I have processed entries for our local Thanksgiving Obedience and Rally Trials, I have some tips to share about the new AKC rally changes.

Read Carefully & Ask Early

These 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 will need to read the premium and ask questions BEFORE trials close so you can 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.

Additionally, 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 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 & 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.

Upcoming WSOTC Rally Trial

Feeling inspired to tackle the new signs and classes? Download the premium and enter (online method available) by Wednesday, November 8th for the WSOTC Thanksgiving Obedience and Rally Trial. Run available Saturday & Sunday Rally Trials, as well as, Saturday Novice Obedience Trial (Friday trials are full and have a wait list). The trials will be at  Family Dog Training Center in Kent WA November 24, 25, and 26, 2017.

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  

NEW !! WSOTC All Breed Obedience & Rally trials November 2017

THREE days SIX trials!!

Washington State Obedience Training Club (WSOTC)  is hosting three days of AKC All Breed obedience and rally trials November 24, 25 & 26 2017 in Kent Wa at Family Dog Training Center.

wsotc logoThis trial is now OPEN and will close November 8 at 9:00 pm.

Format for TWO TRIALS each day

Trials will start at 9:00 am each day and run side by side – One Ring/One Judge/One Trial

This trial is LIMITED to SEVEN HOURS of judging time each trial each day so don’t wait to enter or you will be stuck on the Wait List!!

The final judging order will be published after closing so we can try to have the least amount of ring conflicts between the trials.

Download the premium and keep up to date on developments on these trials by visiting the  Events Page

Classes Offered by Day

🦃 🦃 Friday TWO Obedience Trials –

Beginner Novice A & B, Preferred Novice, Novice A & B, Preferred Open, Open A & B, Preferred Utility, Utility A & B

🦃 Saturday NOVICE ONLY Obedience trial –

Beginner Novice A & B, Preferred Novice, Novice A & B, Novice Wildcard

🍗Saturday Rally Trial –

Rally Novice A&B, Rally Intermediate, Rally Advanced A & B, Rally Excellent A & B, Rally Masters

🍗🍗Sunday TWO Rally Trials –

Rally Novice A&B, Rally Intermediate, Rally Advanced A & B, Rally Excellent A & B, Rally Masters

Credit Card Processing Option

Please follow the directions in the premium if you would like to utilize your credit card for paying entry fees. This option is provided by the trial secretary, Theresa Calter of K9EventsNW.com, as a service for exhibitors.

As stated in the premium, invoices must be paid in full before entries will be processed into the trial. There is a $3 per transaction fee – not per dog or per entry or per day but per the whole transaction submitted at the time.

This trial is dedicated to Janine Prindle

janine prindle and cranberry the labWe lost a special member of the dog sports community this summer when Janine passed away in July. The club is dedicating this cluster of trials to her memory because she really epitomized what it meant to be a great dog person no matter what road life took you on — from 4-H leader to guide dog puppy raiser to obedience and rally competitor, Janine set her goals, worked towards them and attained them.

Questions after reading the premium?

Please email Theresa@K9EventsNW.com with WSOTC is the subject line.

AKC Agility B Match OUTSIDE!!

 This weekend Boston Terrier Club of Western Washington is having an AKC all breed agility trial at Lakebay Wa. They are hosting an agility B Match after the trial day is done around 330 pm on BOTH Saturday & Sunday. We also are having a potluck Judge’s dinner starting around 4 pm so feel free to join us in that too. We also will have a few vendors if you would like to come early and shop.

The trial and the match are outside on the grass with sheep fencing (large open squares of light weight net fencing). We will have a Standard ring and a Jumper With Weaves ring. You may bring toys in the ring but no food in the ring. Dogs do not have to be entered in the trial but  must meet the same criteria for the match as for a trial—they must be over 15 months in good health and have an AKC number (http://www.akc.org/register/?pre=breeder&activity=puppy MIXED BREEDS are welcomed in agility as well as other sports.

Sign up at the Secretary’s table starting  at noon each day. Cost is $5 for each 60 second run  (cash, check or worker voucher). You may do which ever ring(s) you want as many times as you want (at $5 for each 60-second run) but be aware that can be a long time when you are working on your plan, trying to build focus, understand a maneuver or trying to get a dog to come to you. You will sign up by jump height and you may jump whatever height you wish. (IMO) jump lower for working on your handling or problem solving or a new place and regular height for conditioning. I hear the weather should be in the 80’s.

Again, the agility fun match I am describing is an AKC (www.akc.org) event which means dogs must be under control at all times and on leash everywhere except in the ring and at the warm up jump. If you do not have off leash control you are not ready for a match yet, but feel free to work on attention on leash out of the ring. Dogs may not be on a prong or corrective collar on the show grounds—martingales are okay but the dog is expected to run in flat or rolled buckle collar for safety. While flexi/retractable leashes are permitted on the grounds they are not a good idea at trials because you should come to the line on a proper leash and (IMO) when walking your dog at an outside trial there are even more things to get tangled– humans or pop-up shade tent legs or chairs.

Don’t forget to be careful with your verbal corrections—nothing so harsh or loud as to upset bystanders. Again, if there is a serious problem or mishap the club must report it to AKC and punishments can be assigned for serious offenses even for a match.

A match for training purposes is for dogs and handlers that know how to safely engage the equipment on a course but you don’t have to do all the course as designed. It is NOT for LEARNING the EQUIPMENT but for experienced teams to practice skills (start line stays, wraps, contacts, serpentines, weave poles, shorter sequences) in the very different environment of an outdoor trial and for new teams to see where they are on the agility journey. You don’t want to put a dog in this type of match if they have never done the equipment or never been in such a stimulating environment. Why?? Because you don’t want your dog hurt by doing the equipment incorrectly nor do you want your dog to become afraid of the equipment or the environment and, since you are limited in your use of rewards and corrections, you don’t want them to become ring-wise (that is where they know you can’t get after them or bribe them like you do at home when they are being naughty or crazy)

Volunteer Park in Lakebay Wa on the Key Peninsula is a lovely park with a couple nice open spaces and a little forested walk. The Snack Shack will be open some of the weekend. You may park wherever there is room and there is overflow parking/camping in a field above the trial area. Just follow the road you come in on straight past the ball fields and up the dirt hill.


The Trial Secretary’s table should be not far from the rings so please don’t drag your dog up to the secretary table to ask questions. I will be wearing my new brown ball cap with this logo

We do not have an official to measure at this trial. If you  would like an unofficial measurement or to get your dog use to the measuring process please ask for assistance as the wicket is expensive and we don’t want it knocked about.

Since this is a public park it is imperative that you pick up any and all pet waste you come across or your dog deposits. There is no off leash area around the rings. Also, other folks may not have the recall they THINK they have when their dog sees your dog or your dog sees their tennis ball/Frisbee/stick. Don’t assume anyone wants their dog to interact with yours.

Come early and see the runs but please understand  from the perspective of those of us who are running dogs. Please let handlers focus on the course and our dogs before and after our run. Don’t come ring side and start chatting about our breed or want to tell us how the run looked or ask questions about strategies. We are trying to focus on the job at hand and build the bond with our dog—who is getting amped about running before we go in and demanding praise and cookies when we get out. We may be running to get our next dog so timing is precious. Ask questions or share observations once everything is settled back down for that handler. This is especially important to those who are agility instructors—students might want to film their runs for discussion later but please let them enjoy the time with their dog.

Trialing outdoors can be a great deal of fun but it does offer a different level of challenges. Hope I haven’t overwhelmed you but, the more you know and plan and train, then the better and more successful your agility career will be.

 Safe travels, Theresa and the Cardis



AKC-Agility-BTCWW all breed trial in Lakebay WA

See you in August in Lakebay

Yeah the premium is here for the  Boston Terrier Club of W Wa  August agility trial.

This celebration of the long history of AKC all breed agility on the Key Peninsula is just like it was “back in the day” with two rings outside on grass and one judge–so excited to get to work with Zach Davis this year.

We will be at Volunteer Park in Lakebay WA  August 5, 6 & 7. Which is Saturday, Sunday & MONDAY this year and means we can have All Levels on all three days.

The park has a family movie night on Friday so we will do set up in the afternoon but start the trial on Saturday morning.

Saturday, after the trial is done for the day their is a judge’s dinner which is a potluck barbeque–club usually kicks in with some fresh caught fish!!

You can enter on line at www.akc.org using the “my AKC” function or download a premium here and mail it in with check before the trial closes on July 22 at 11pm.

We are also so glad to be offereing a Junior Handlers entry fee rate-unfortunately the online system can’t support this options so please do paper entry for that. btcww-2017-lakebay-premium

There is dry camping at the site for $15 a day paid to the club—there are a few places in the trees for tent campers and a large field above the baseball field for RV’s and overflow parking. Camping next to the field is reserved for trial staff but we did have a few spots last year.

Safe Travels Theresa and the cardigans

Happy National Pure Breed Day

On St Paddy's everyone is Irish--Today every dog is pure of heart!
On St Paddy’s everyone is Irish–Today every dog is pure of heart!

Dobby is a Cardigan Welsh Corgi but the great laugh is how often I am asked if he is corgi mixed with border collie

Since childhood I read all I could about the history and purpose of various breeds of dogs. Learning about hte origin of a breed is a type of travelogue and history lesson for me.  I guess I am a dog version of a bird watcher with a life list of what I have petted in person. So take today to learn about a breed you think you might like to own (both breeds if you are looking at a designer dog) or a rare breed that is new to our shores.

Or just learn a bit more about my breed, the Cardigan is the older of the two corgi breeds (Pembrokes have the bunny butts). Not variations or types but actual separate breeds, they were interbreed for a number of decades after the railroads opened up the Welsh valleys and coastline.  Personality-wise the Cardigan (the one with the tail and all the color variations including blue merle) is more like a teenager–full of sarcasm and able to appreciate irony, working hard to show you how much they know already.  They are a big dog on short legs–we know this because they can out-shed a German Shepherd Dog.


AKC Agility B Match- Argus Ranch Auburn WA

Thirty minutes after the trial ends on Saturday March 25th (figure that is around 530)  there will be an agility  B match. A B Match runs exactly like a show, but with no scoring. You may use toys and you can train in the ring. There will be a time limit per run of 90 seconds. The cost is $5.00 per run. You must fill out an entry form and entries will be taken day of show. The dog does not have to be entered in the show to run in the match.

Here is a link to a post about what to expect when you do an AKC agility B Match at Argus Ranch in particular.


Nationals with a Capital N or how to build you Dog Sport Karma

In dog sports, the term “Nationals” means an annual event for that sport (conformation, agility, rally, obedience), breed (Pugs, Poodles, Pumis) &/or organization (AKC, UKC, CPE, NADAC, ASCA). For example: American Kennel Club (AKC) as an organization hosts Agility Nationals. Dogs that are registered and compete in AKC agility events at the Master level and meet the annual criteria will be invited to attend this event and compete against other dog/handler teams from all over the US (and Canada too!). The next AKC Agility Nationals will be in Perry GA March @4-26 2017.

Breed groups in AKC, for example, also have annual meet ups where only that breed competes in various performance sports depending on the breed of dog (Herding for shelties, Hunting for Gordon Setters, Lure Coursing for Greyhounds) as well as the companion sports (agility, obedience, rally, tracking) that the club thinks people would like to compete in for the week. If they expect that there aren’t enough folks to have an event of just that one breed they may hold small All Breed trials but only give prizes to the host breed. Of course, the historical foundation of these events is confirmation so you can see the depth of the stock that makes up your breed.

An example of this type of event in our own backyard is the Australian Cattle Dog Club of America (http://www.acdca.org/ ) Nationals to be held here in the Pacific Northwest. Events will be held in and around Lacey WA from September 18th to 23rd. As you can see by the schedule of events the club will hold agility for just Cattle Dogs on Sunday and herd trials on the last two days at a local facility.

The Australian Shepherd Club of America (www.ASCA.org ) will be hosting its 2016 National in Albany OR September 9-17. While this organization allows mixed breeds and other pure breeds to participate in its various programs The National and its pre-event warm up competitions are only for Australian Shepherds who have met the requirements to compete.

Now that being said you should know that these various types of Nationals are held a different locations around the US depending on a number of factors such as regional clubs willing to do the support work and the necessary facilities being fairly close to each other. Because the population is spread out over greater distances, Nationals held west of the Mississippi tend to be smaller and need more help from the dog sport community at large.

With the is in mind, if you would like to lend a hand bar setting or stewarding or course building or anything that you already have a skill at with either of the above events you can contact the trial chairs directly. Let them know what you can help with—sometimes they need folks who are not entered to drive judges around or to help pack equipment up at the end of the whole production—and the times you are available.

Budgets are tight so don’t have any expectations of more than a few refreshments but these are wonderful opportunities to watch a great many dogs compete in a unique environment and perhaps get you interested in upping your own dog sport bucket list.

Here is Althea with the ribbons she won for herding, rally, and agility at the Cardigan Welsh Corgi National in Ca in 2007.
Here is Althea with the ribbons she won for herding, rally, and agility at the Cardigan Welsh Corgi National in CA in 2007. And yes she was the SMALLEST Cardigan Corgi at the Nationals that year.


Don’t miss the summer fun in LAKEBAY WA!

 The Boston Terrier Club of W Wa still has room in the Summer Agility Trial.

You know how I like all things vintage. Well this trial celebrates the long history of AKC all breed agility on the Key Peninsula. Just like it was “back in the day” this is a one judge (Paula Ratoza) trial held outside on grass at Volunteer Park in Lakebay WA August 5, 6 & 7.

Friday starts around noon and is Excellent/Masters only—STD then JWW then Premier STD and finally Premier JWW. The park has a family movie showing on Friday night should you be among the dry-campers staying over at the venue.

Saturday we start with FAST (Excellent-Masters/Open/Novice) then Excellent STD, Excellent JWW, Open STD, Open JWW, Novice STD, Novice JWW. After the trial is done for the day we will have an agility B Match (need not be entered in trial but since we have have only deer fencing around the rings your dog does need a good recall) and the judge’s dinner which is a potluck barbeque

Sunday we start with Time 2 Beat to get the folks going then Excellent STD, Excellent JWW, Open STD, Open JWW, Novice STD, Novice JWW.

When we publicize the event, we let the public know we have vendors so feel free to bring whatever you sell even if it is not dog related. You can also organize a swap and shop with your friends if you are clearing out cupboards!

You can enter on line at www.akc.org using the “my AKC” function or download a premium here and mail it in with check before the trial closes on July 22 at 6pm.

There is dry camping at the site for $15 a day paid to the club—there are a few places in the trees for tent campers and a large field above the baseball field for RV’s and overflow parking. Camping next to the field is reserved for trial staff.

Safe Travels Theresa and the cardigans

B Match – Obedience/Rally all breed – Labs in Renton

pslra logo

The Lab club is holding a B/OB Match in Renton at Carco Park (also know as Cedar River Park and just off Hwy 167)  on June 18th.

Here is the link to the flier and you will definitely want to read it thru for all the details like who to send entries to and the schedule for the day, as well as, the handy map to the location.

As I understand it the Confirmation B Match is labs only. The Obedience and Rally OB Match is all breed. Please remember that this is an AKC event so rules about equipment and corrections  apply while you are on the “show grounds” You may download the match rulebook from the AKC.org site.



We hold the match in the park (waterpark, community center, ball diamond) in Renton just off 405 at the Maple Valley exit… don’t remember the name offhand.



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