Monday, June 2, 2014

Rally-FrEe seminar with Julie Flanery, part 2

Some info about scoring and competition in Rally-FrEe:

All behaviors are variations of staying in precise position (heel, side, center, behind), circle (around the handler), spin, thru (handler's legs), plus paw lifts, the playbow, and free choice signs.

Each full course has 15 signs, plus a start sign (dog might start on left or right side of handler), and includes 4 free choice signs. Clips on the signs will indicate which side of the handler the dog should be on when they reach that sign. The sign is placed so that the handler is sandwiched between the dog and the sign (unless it is a change of direction or change of side).

There are no "do-overs" as in AKC Rally O. However you may pass by a sign and still get a Q, if you get enough points from the rest of the course. Scores are based on the execution of the signs (150 points, 10 for each sign), plus HAT: Heelwork (consistency in heeling), Attention (ability of the dog to focus on the task and the handler), and Teamwork (engagement, enjoyment, and working together) (30 points, 10 for each category). At each free choice station, you can also earn 5 points for creativity/complexity of the trick. 125 out of 200 points are required to Q.

Changes in the proximity of your dog's heeling are considered a fault - it doesn't matter if he slightly forges or lags, if he does it consistently throughout the course. The subtlety of your physical cues is considered - in higher levels, the expectation is for fewer lure-like cues. Cues that look counter to luring are scored higher (ie, putting up your right hand as your dog is going to your left side). You are not penalized for giving multiple cues as long as your dog is continually responding and not exhibiting refusal (ie, chanting "around around around" as your dog is making his way around you).

For free choice behaviors, judging is based on what is presented, without assuming what the intended behavior is. (In other words, if I cue my dog to roll over and he only lies down, the lying down behavior is judged on its own, without assuming that he was supposed to do something more.) BUT apparent mistakes by the handler will be taken into account - so if I then get upset at the dog and re-cue the roll over, I WILL be dinged for it. Just pretend that whatever your dog did, that was what was supposed to happen. Make sure that your dog starts and ends on the correct side of your body when doing a free choice behavior.

Course maps are made available 7-10 days prior to an event (whether live or video competion), so that handlers have time to decide on their free choice behaviors and brush up on any rusty skills. Music is played during live events, and is encouraged but not required for video submissions.

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