How Skills Tests Lead to Rally-FrEe and Freestyle Success
Skills Tests are a fantastic way to get your feet (and paws) wet! I’d love to share some of the best benefits of this titling avenue and invite you to enter the May Skills Test for free!
What is a Skills Test?
Rally-FrEe Skills Tests allow you to showcase sign behaviors individually, rather than on a course. Which signs you perform for the test are up to you! And you can do it all in the comfort of your home!
You can see more details on the Rally-FrEe rules page under Divisions.
Skills Tests are a great way to prepare you and your dog for success in live or video competitions! Here are just a few reasons why:
- You can find out if your behaviors are ready to go to trial! You’ll get feedback from the same judges who judge live events. They’ll guide you as to where your behaviors are looking tip-top, and where you might still want to build some precision.
- You don’t have the pressure of being entered in a show or needing to complete a full course all at once. (It’s like splitting, for you AND your dog! Get successful at this level first, then add in more criteria.)
- You don’t need a huge space. Plenty of members film in their own living rooms and yards! (Tip: Make sure both your entire body and your dog’s can be seen in your video submission.)
Skills Tests are great for Freestylers, too!
Maybe you’re not competing in Rally-FrEe, but you want clean, precise, beautiful behaviors for Freestyle. Rally-FrEe behaviors can get you there! Many Rally-FrEe judges are also Freestyle judges, so you’ll get fantastic feedback for the ring.
The Rally-FrEe levels match up with the same behaviors that we expect in the corresponding Freestyle level. (For example, we’d expect to see the behaviors from Rally-FrEe Intermediate signs in a Freestyle Intermediate routine.)
Check out this example of a Novice Skills Test with Dylan and Sandy! To see more, check out the RFE YouTube Playlist of Skills Tests!
My Best Advice
Video all your practice sessions.
1. You never know when you’ll get a good clip. You might find while you’re practicing, there’s one behavior that looked great! Save it for your submission. To be submitted, your video must be of you training with no food on your body and no clicker. It’s great practice to have treats on a nearby table and reward after each individual skill.
2. Videoing helps you recreate a little bit of the stress and anxiety of a trial. Our dogs know us so well and can pick up on our stress. The more we can replicate this at home, the more normal it becomes for them. You and your dog can both learn to work through any anxiety or stress together!