Rally-O (Rally-Obedience) combines elements of Agility tactics with Obedience exercises. A Rally-O course consists of between ten and twenty numbered signs, each indicating a particular exercise the dog-handler team need to perform. The dog and handler navigate around the course, the dog at heel, doing each exercise in order. Exercises consist of a mixture of changing positions, stays, changes of pace, changes of direction, and weaving around obstacles, all done in a very specific way. No two courses are ever the same.
The team needs to work together quickly and accurately. Points are lost for errors, and the performance is also timed, time being used to break the tie if two teams score the same points. However, Rally-O is primarily a qualifying sport, and the main goal is to score enough points to earn a Qualifying Certificate, and ultimately one of several Rally-O titles. At each of the three levels, the courses become longer and more complicated, the exercises become more challenging, and the points needed for a Qualifying Certificate are higher.
Rally-O is as much a challenge for the handler as the dog, requiring mental agility and a level head. While Rally-O does not require the same precision as Obedience, a dog needs good focus, quick responses and a versatile mind. There is no restriction on breed or size – Rally-O is all about teamwork and a happy attitude.