New Dog Sport is all about FrEe-dom

Looking for a fun sport to do with your dog that doesn’t require costly equipment or stringent rules?

By | Posted: Jan 13, 2014, 9 a.m. EST

Dancing Dog. Photo from rallyfree.comA combination of Rally-Obedience and Canine Musical Freestyle, Rally Freestyle Elements, or Rally-FrEe has some truly unique opportunities for dog owners looking for a fun way to further the bond they share with their dog.

Unlike other dog sports, Rally-FrEe gives you the course 10 days in advance, allows for four "free choice” behaviors, encourages dress-up and music, offers non-titling classes for practice (with treats!), and even has special divisions that allow blind or deaf dogs to compete by allowing them to remain on leash past the novice level.

Oh, and did I mention you can compete in the comfort of your own backyard via video submissions? I have competed in Rally Obedience, but this just sounded like too much fun, so I caught up with Rally-FrEe founder to find out what this sport is all about.

Julie Flanery (CPDT-KA), created Rally-FrEe to help handlers practice the foundation behaviors they need to be more successful at Canine Musical Freestyle and to challenge those who have already excelled in Rally-Obedience. What Flanery is finding, however, is that for many, Rally-FrEe is their first introduction to the world of dog sports.

"What I and I think others enjoy about Rally-FrEe versus Rally Obedience is the unique sign behaviors, which are the foundation skills for Freestyle, much like the Rally-O signs are the foundation for competition obedience,” explains Flanery. "Signs include spins, or circling the handler, or passing through the handlers legs and variations of these foundation skills.” Salso believes people like having the freedom of choosing four behaviors to showcase their dog’s talent, and because you get the courses in advance, you can focus and prepare. It also helps those of us who have a hard time memorizing courses on the fly.

For those who are planning or already compete in Canine Musical Freestyle, Flanery explains Rally-FrEe may help refine their moves. "In Freestyle, it is very easy to want to skip the foundation and work on the more complex trick behaviors. Doing so can really hurt the freestyler as they move up in the classes,” she says. "They realize the foundation they skipped is what would allow them to create more complex and appealing routines to the judges.”

If you are feeling a bit daunted, remember you can compete in non-titling classes with treats until you feel ready to compete in the titling events.

This is great for dogs who may be nervous or reactive in a crowded setting – I know I wish I could do this for competition obedience!

Ready to Rally-FrEe? Rally Freestyle Elements is the governing body that maintains the rules, helps hosts to put on events and conveys title certificates. You can go to for more information on training and event schedule. Now grab your dog and some treats, and start practicing those tricks!

See what Rally-FrRe is all about!

Kathy and Troy the Havanese show off their moves in this advanced run:


Fancy footwork from Nancy and Conner the Brittany Spaniel:


Linda and Labrador, Gibbs, looking good on their novice run:


Kristina N. Lotz is a lifelong pet owner and lover. Her extensive animal knowledge stems from a lifetime of learning about all things animals in her personal and professional life.


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pam   Chualar, California

7/22/2014 10:30:56 AM

where can I find a class in Ca.? I live in central ca.

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Eileen - 249708   Port Perry, ON

1/14/2014 2:58:57 PM

That looks like something that my dog and I would like to try.

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