Tuesday, October 16, 2007

More Rally

As I mentioned in my previous post, Rally Obedience can be a great option for a veteran dog who just can't compete in regular Agility or Obedience any more, but who is still healthy and active and hates to be left at home.

Patience was a perfect example of that. We had competed in regular obedience when she was younger and she finished her UD (Utility Dog title). We also dabbled in Agility but didn't ever compete in that. In 2005 when the AKC made Rally a titling event, Patience was 10 years old - she certainly qualified as a Veteran dog! But she was still very healthy and active and loved to go to shows. In the fall of 2004 she had won the Veteran's Obedience class at the Great Dane National, and did so in fabulous style. So I figured she would probably like Rally.

Boy did she! Starting the first weekend in January, we went to every Rally trial we could find within a reasonable driving distance. It takes 3 qualifying scores to get a Rally Novice title; 3 to get a Rally Advanced title; 3 to get a Rally Excellent title (Novice, Advanced and Excellent are three tiers of competition, with each a little more difficult than the last) and to get a Rally Advanced Excellent title you have to qualify in both the Excellent class and the Advanced class at the same trial for one leg... and it takes 10 of those legs to finish the RAE title! That is a minimum of 29 qualifying scores.

Patience dove right in, and got those 29 qualifying scores in a row - not only never had a non-qualifying score but she had several perfect scores and lots of class placements. She finished the RAE title just 6 months after starting in Rally Novice, and was the first Great Dane in the US to finish the RAE title. In fact, she was the 8th dog of any breed in the whole country to finish it, and the first dog of any breed in Texas.

All for a Dane nearly 11 years old (her birthday was in July). I believe that keeping older dogs active -within reason - helps them live longer and healthier. I do think this return to the show ring really revived Patience. She lived to be nearly 12, and I miss her every day.

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