Slider and I recently started a Rally class at Austin Dog Alliance. And we are really enjoying it! We have gotten a lot of compliments on his "prance" during heeling and his rear-end movement and awareness.
For friends not familiar with Rally Obedience. It is a sport in which the dog and handler complete a course that has been designed by the judge. The judge will tell the handler to begin, and then the dog and handler proceed at their own pace through a course of designated stations (10 - 20 stations, depending on the level). Each of these stations has a sign providing instructions regarding the next skill that is to be performed.
The signs for example may instruct you to: "Call to Front, Finish Right", "360 Turn", "Moving Down".
The team of dog and handler move continuously at a brisk, but normal, pace with the dog under control at the handler's left side. And there should be a feeling of teamwork between the dog and handler both during and between the numbered exercises.
Unlimited communication from the handler to the dog is encouraged. For instance, handlers are permitted to talk, praise, encourage, or use any verbal means of encouragement. I love this as it makes the obedience exercises very upbeat for the dog and handler, to perform.
Hopefully, our classes will go well and we will be able to enter some Rally events in the near future.