These 5 Things Can Help You Cash in on All the Points Available
In Rally-FrEe, teams enter the ring with a score of zero and earn points on each of the 15 signs. There are no point deductions in Rally-FrEe. Teams cannot lose points. All points are earned by participants’ execution of station sign behaviors, their heelwork, attention and teamwork. While judges take into consideration the dog’s responsiveness to handler cues and the precision and execution of the behaviors at each sign, there are ways to raise your score that have everything to do with the handler and nothing to do with the dog. Here are 5 of them:
1. Go past the bow sign. Regardless of how precisely the dog performs the bow, as stated on the sign description, the dog and handler must pass the bow sign to complete the course!
2. Walk in a circle on the 270 – it’s not a pivot! This is one of the few signs that can be used twice on a course, so that’s twice the points that can be left on the table if this sign is not done correctly! The 270 degree turn should be performed in a circle. It is not a pivot where the dog or handler’s feet remain stationary. But remember not to circle around the sign!
3. Pauses on the sit stand or down stand. There should be a brief pause after each of the behaviors on both of these signs. To receive full points, sit, pause, stand, pause, move to the next station. Or down, pause, stand, pause, move to the next station.
4. Allow your dog to complete a behavior before you move forward to the next station. The Judges’ Briefing that event participants receive is a source of valuable information. One of the tips it includes is to support your dog by allowing them to complete each behavior before moving forward to the next station. Not giving your partner this time will negatively impact both that station’s score and your overall heelwork score.
Did you know that there is a YouTube video explaining how to read a Rally-FrEe course map?
5. Set up the course correctly. Investing just over 6 minutes in watching the video can help ensure that all possible points are available to you at each station. You can even watch it with your pooch, but I’d recommend setting up the course on your own!