K-9 Prodigy Cyber Rally Club was started earlier this summer to provide both current and former clients a fun, free extra-curricular training activity. It’s also intended to bridge the gap between private training, where the distraction level is specifically tailored to each dogs needs, and group training, which features its own distractions (mainly via lots of other dogs and handlers.) Now you can have both!
Cyber Rally is a dog obedience sport that’s video-based; generally you download courses from the official website, video you and your dog working through them, and then submit the videos for qualifications, titles and ribbons! I’ve been participating in Cyber Rally for a while; it’s fun and great training. But I had the thought that since I’m already out there in the park, I’ve already bought all the cones and printed up all the signs and spent all the time setting up the course, it seemed kind of silly for me to just go through it once or twice with my dog and then have to take everything down again and drive home. So, the idea of Cyber Rally Club was born!
The club got off to a rocky start because…well, because I couldn’t figure out how to make the Facebook group and then invite people. Finally though, I figured it out! The Facebook group is set up, all the lessons for everything you'll need to know for Level 1 are done. And the invites are slowly making their ways to your respective email boxes.
There’s two parts to Cyber Rally Club, both optional! You can do the video or the IRL or both! If your dog is still working on manners and behavior in a group setting (reactivity issues etc) or if you’re too busy to attend the monthly meet-ups, you can submit videos of yourself practicing the exercises and eventually the courses, and I’ll critique and give feedback and help you when you’re stuck! Video really is the secret weapon of dog training as you can objectively see where you’re successful and how your handling is affecting your dog, so set up your little smartphone or video camera and film away! Posting your video submissions on the group FB page is also really, really helpful for other students, as they can learn a ton from seeing someone else working.
The second part of the club is the real-life meetups! So far they’ve all been held at the same park location in North Portland, but the goal is to start working at different parks in different sections of Portland, so that the dogs get lots of experience at novel locations and so that everyone gets a convenient close-in meetup every now and then. During the meetups, a course will be set up (you'll know which course ahead of time) and we'll all take turns running our dogs through the course. It's a great chance to practice obedience with your dog what's usually a very distracting environment. And if you want to video your runs and send them in to get qualification points, you can!
So, over the next couple of weeks you all should be expecting a Facebook invite to join the group. Go ahead and join even if your dog is reactive or too young or novice or whatever; you can still learn the exercises and it will give you something extra to work on and practice and who knows? maybe you’ll be in the winner’s circle eventually.