Rally Dogs at Sweetbay


he American Kennel Club had long been looking for a dog sport that was somewhat akin to obedience, but that would appeal to the not-quite-so-dedicated fancier. The Canine Good Citizen program was a good start, but it was awfully basic – and very easy. What the AKC wanted was something in between. Thus was Rally born.

Rally takes the various elements of formal obedience and arranges them individually along a course. Dog and handler begin at the start line and heel forward, performing each task as they encounter it, until they reach the finish line.The introductory (novice) level is performed entirely on lead. To further encourage novice handlers to participate, rally allows full communication. Handlers can talk to their dogs and give multiple commands. Helpful body English such as patting one’s leg or clapping one’s hands is also allowed at the novice level.

Running a rally course, the dog and handler will encounter such moves as right and left turns, serpentines, modified recalls, weaving, down-stays, pivots and finishes. Each level of rally adds new tasks to be learned. By the time the dog is competing in rally excellent, he has learned fifty behaviors. He will encounter a different mix of twenty or so on each excellent course.

When the sport was introduced, trainers began teaching their dogs the work – and they discovered a wonderful bonus. Rally is quick, fun, and energizing. It is also a great way to learn the various elements you’ll need if you go on to regular AKC obedience. Even better, it’s a very low-stress way to give both dog and handler ring experience and exposure to the distractions that happen at any dog show or trial.

There are three levels in Rally: novice, advanced, and excellent. The dog must earn three legs in one level, earning that title, before he is allowed to move on and compete in the next.

In case you are wondering what the titles are before and after the dogs’ names, click here.

These Sweetbay Newfoundlands have earned the AKC title Rally Novice.The names that follow are their owners who had the pleasure of sharing this sport with their special dogs.

Rally Novice Dogs (RN)

Sweetbay’s Barlow RN, (NF-10298, EL-3941) – Anne Seeley

Sweetbay’s Corinanne CD RN TDD ( NF-8246, EL2221) - Nancy Aliff

Sweetbay’s Grady RN, ( NF-11580, EL-5139) -Mark & Jean Ochsner)

Sweetbay’s Emily AmCanCD U-CD RN (NF-8091, EL2098) – Annie Misch

VN Ch Sweetbay’s James CD RN WRD DD (NF-8867, EL-2706) - Maria Rizzuto

VN Ch Sweetbay’s Liam CD RN WRD TDD (NF-7984, EL2023) - Patti Pigeon

Sweetbay’s Moses RN (NF-9237, EL3001) - Jim & Karen Railing

Sweetbay’s Neela CD RN TD CSL1-F CSL1-R CSL2-S (NF-10760, EL-4385) – Lois Apfel

Sweetbay’s Petra CDX U-CDX RN UR01 WD DD -Sharon & Michael Marcus

Sweetbay's Peyton CD RN (NF-7248, EL1477) -
Janelle & Mike Wilson

Sweetbay’s Pi BN RN WRD (NF-11627) - Eleanor Cantrell

Sweetbay’s Quincy RN (NF-10558, EL-4212) – Anna & Pete Lewandowski

Sweetbay’s Remy UD RN DD WRDX (NF-9157) – Ann Dunnigan

Sweetbay’s Ricochet CD RN WRD (NF-7439, EL1625) – Kathy Robbins

Sweetbay’s Tanner AmCanCD RN AmCanDD (7777, EL1867) - Judi & Ellis Adler

Sweetbay’s Taylor RN (NF-8333, EL2288) - Leesa Hobbs

Sweetbay’s Wyatt CD RN WD (NF-9155, EL2930) - Kathy Robbins

Rally Advance Dogs (RA)

Sweetbay’s Alexis AmCanCD U-CD RA WRD CanWRD DD (NF-8169, EL2157) – Kenny Norman

Sweetbay’s Faeroe CD RA WD CanWRD (NF-8603) -Anne & Morgan Seeley

Sweetbay’s Nico RA WD (NF-11172, EL-4760) – Jean Ochsner

Sweetbay’s Sloane CDX RA WRDX DD (NF-6830, EL1214) - Debby

Rally Excellent Dogs (RE)

Sweetbay’s Barrie CD RE (OFA NF-12083, EL-5602) – Judi and Ellis Adler

VN WA Ch Sweetbay’s Benson CDX RE WRDX TDD (NF-7511, EL1666) - Patti Pigeon

Sweetbay’s Brannaugh CD RE WRD (OFA NF-12061, EL-5580) – Kelly Ryan

Sweetbay’s Brody RA WRD TDD CanDD (NF-8266, EL2238) - Jean & Mark Ochsner

WA Sweetbay’s Caspian CDX BN RE TD NAP NJP WD-1 WRD-5 DD-1 DDX-2 ( NF-11317, EL-4881) - Terri Desnica

VN CH Sweetbay’s Coast CDX RE WRD TDD (NF-7899, EL1956) - Susan Kerby

Sweetbay’s Darby AmCanCD RE TD WD AmCanDD (NF-6811, EL1205) – Judi & Ellis Adler

Sweetbay’s Fiona AmCanCD RE TD WRD AmCanDD (EL1924) – Judi & Ellis Adler

Sweetbay’s Jesca CDX RE TD (NF-10489, EL-4115) – Judi & Ellis Adler

SpCH Sweetbay’s Lyric CD TDX RE WRD OAP OJP OFP (VCD1) OAC EGC OJC TNE TGO WVO UAG1 CSL3-F CSL3-R CSL3-S CSL3-H (NF-7437, EL1624) - Lois Apfel

Sweetbay’s Magic CD RE DD (NF-9448)- Ida & Robert Freimer

Sweetbay’s Maisie CDX RE DD (NF-8251, EL2225) - Judi & Ellis Adler

Sweetbay’s Mississippi CD RE WRD (NF-7892, EL1951) – Kathy Robbins

Sweetbay's Quin CD RE WRD TDD, (NF-8101, EL2105) - Sue Raney

WA Sweetbay’s Ruca CDX RE WRD TDD NAP NAJ (EL4152) - Mark & Sue Raney

Sweetbay’s Sonnet CDX U-CDX RE UR01 TD WRD CanWRDX (NF-8250, EL2224) - Sharon & Michael Marcus

VN Ch Sweetbay’s Sullivan CD RE WRD DD (EL-4795) - Patti Pigeon

Sweetbay’s Vivian CD RE TD TDD WRD (NF-10505, EL-4130) – Maria Rizzuto

Rally Advanced-Excellent Dogs (RAE)

Sweetbay’s Cabot CDX RAE (EL3710 ) – Leesa Hobbs

Sweetbay’s Hara CD U-CD RAE TD (NF-8306, EL2270) - Dan Klotz

Sweetbay’s Nova CD U-CD RAE TD WRD CanWRDX TDD CanDD (NF-8113, EL2111) – Jean & Mark Ochsner

For more information about the Adlers’ dogs:

Sweetbay Newfoundlands
Judi & Ellis Adler
12320 SW Malloy
Sherwood OR 97140
(503) 682-0604

Sweetbay’s Darby AmCanCD RA TD WD AmCanDD, OFA NF-6811, EL-1205

Rally rules allow the handler to talk to his dog and encourage him as they work, and that makes it extra fun for the dog. Darby has a smile on her face as owner Judi Adler heels her up to the next station.

Sweetbay’s Fiona AmCanCD RA TD WRD AmCanDD, EL-1924

For the “moving stand” exercise, the dog and handler heel along together. Then the handler continues moving but gives the dog a “stop and stay” command. The dog freezes while the handler continues walking, and the dog remains in that stand until the owner has circled and returned to heel position. Fiona learned to “stop and stay” during draft training, so it came very easily to her in rally, and she performs it beautifully for her owner, Judi Adler.

Sweetbay’s Nova RN TD WRD CanWRDX TDD CanDD, OFA NF-8113, EL-2111

There are many different variations of recalls in rally. Here, Jean Ochsner and Nova perform the “call dog front 1-2-3” exercise. It’s actually four very short recalls done sequentially in rapid order. Nova gives Jean her full attention and does them well.

Sweetbay’s Sonnet U-CD RN TD AmCanWRD, OFA NF-8250, EL-2224

Novice rally is performed on lead, and the judge’s interaction is confined to an introductory “Are you ready? Forward.” After that, the handler and dog go through the course on their own, performing each station. There’s always a happy sense of anticipation as you wait at the “start” cone for the judge to send you off. Both Sharon Marcus and Sonnet look eager to get started!

Sweetbay’s Brody WD TDD CanDD (NF-8266, EL-2238)

There are three rally exercises that involve weaving or circling around traffic cones in various patterns. Mark Ochsner and Brody perform a serpentine through a series of four cones.

VN Ch Sweetbay’s Benson CDX RE WRDX TDD (NF-7511, EL-1666)

Benson was one of Sweetbay’s first rally excellent titlists. His owner, Patti Pigeon, tried rally thinking it would be an entertaining break from regular obedience. Benson excelled, and in short order they had earned all three rally titles.

Sweetbay’s Fiona AmCanCD RA TD WRD AmCanDD (EL-1924)

Playful, social dogs are perfect candidates for rally. Judi and Ellis Adler’s Fiona loved the sport from the get-go.


Lyric has abundant energy and enthusiasm, and she loves learning new tricks, whicj made rally a natural for her. Lois Apfel, her owner, found the exercises were a wonderful boost to better obedience work.