Rally-FrEe is a young, competitive sport that combines trick training, Obedience and Freestyle skills. A numbered course is laid out and you proceed along, stopping to perform the required skill written on each sign. Each course is different, so your dog needs to listen to your cues and cannot merely anticipate and guess what to do. Each course contains 4 “Free Choice” signs. You are free to do whatever you wish, including a plain old sit, although it’s rare to find people who don’t take this opportunity to showcase their best tricks. Points are awarded in 3 different categories: Creativity, Difficulty, and Execution (obviously, that sit won’t score high in C & D). Even scoring is positive-based, you can only accrue points, never lose them 🙂
Basic Obedience skills like heeling are incorporated, however, now your dog has to perform in multiple positions (left, right, front, behind). In fact, performing any trick that you’ve trained in these various positions means that the dog must be trained to be more fluent (and extra points for verbal over visual cues) and really understand how to do the behavior. If you’ve experience training, you’ll appreciate how much understanding the dog requires to not let her hind end swing out as your dog tries to face you. This sport puts your training abilities to the test and invites you to be thoughtful and organized in your planning and approach.
Teamwork is a top priority. Rally-FrEe was born out of a dream to elevate Freestylers’ foundation skills. One of the major goals is to help teams develop better flow, which not only looks good, but it makes a performance easier and more enjoyable for the dog. Commonly, people putting together musical freestyle routines absorb the bulk of their time working out the clever trick combinations that embellish a routine. This is to the detriment of the heelwork and transitions in between…these are basic signs in Rally-FrEe.
Both Rally-FrEe and Freestyle are building to a final performance where your dog can achieve a long chain of behaviors back to back without primary reinforcement in between. So, it’s imperative that you learn how to build value into the behaviors themselves, how to delay getting gratification, how to build from rewarding a single behavior to how to segment behavior chains into blocks, how much to ask of your dog at any given time; that and more without losing one bit of enthusiasm. We want to see big “smiles” on the dogs’ faces when they’re out there working!
With a broad range of behaviors required, each individual class’ needs and wants are taken into consideration and the program is tailored accordingly. We will examine the Rally-FrEe course and the behaviors involved. An amount of time is dedicated to the development and completion of trick behaviors. If you want to focus on a Freestyle routine or build your tricks into a routine for therapy work, or just to show off to friends, you can use your class time to focus on that instead of Rally-FrEe courses. You’ll learn tips on how to accrue more points in competition and learn how to plan tricks and routines.
This is a 7 week course taught over 12 weeks. Class meets every other week to allow enough time for you to practice so you can get more out of your time with an instructor.
Want to know more about the sport? Visit their website www.rallyfree.com
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