Obedience is hard. Like way more difficult than one would think. All the little bits and pieces really have to come together before you will get much success. You can't just "wing it." Which is one of the things I love about it. I love the challenge, the training, and the precision of it. I do wish I had more time, and access to a trainer. lol. But I make do with what I have. I have a list a mile long of things I need to work on with Pixel. Pivots being number one, and finishes and fronts being number two and three. I think that the other stuff will fall into place with more practice. But the others are pretty big gaping holes in understanding and consistency....Wicca is pretty great and there is nothing really I need to work on Rally wise. She is finally pretty consistent in the ring as long as I have a good warm up and read the signs properly. lol. And we are no where close to being ready for the out of sight stays in open....
I have been noticing that Rally is becoming more difficult too- which is a welcome change! Gone are the days when you could enter Novice Rally without ever teaching your dog to heel, and qualify by luring your dog around the course with a fake cookie. And that is awesome. I think that for people to take Rally seriously it needed to change.
Now we are seeing more and more NQ's, and less perfect scores. Courses are tough, and judging is harder. And those are all good changes. I still think that it could be made more difficult though- I think the time limit needs to be stricter, and I think there needs to be forced consistency among judges. Not only in the actual judging, but in the courses. For agility everything is regulated- rules are firm, and courses are preapproved. I think Rally should go the same way. It is misleading for people to have a super easy excellent course, and not get called for wide turns and sloppy sits and then go to a tough course with a judge that marks for every imperfection. There needs to be a balance. Of course I would lean towards the tougher judge, but that's just me. :)
Rally is obedience after all, and I believe that dogs should be well prepared for it. I think that in the coming years we will see better and better dogs in the ring- and an increase in tough courses and judging. Well, I am hoping so anyway! :)