The courses are very interesting. Level I is pretty standard Rally - very comparable to novice in AKC. Differences are:
1. Leash or no leash at any level - you choose.
2. The dog does not have to halt in any particular position - sits are not required at each stop. This is much easier on Jazz's old knees.
3. After level I the dog must be able to heel on both sides and transition from left heel to right "side." This is fun and interesting. There is some thought that it is healthier for the dog since they don't develop muscles differently on one side or the other.
4. You cannot lure the dog, the dog must be on a loose leash (2 tight leashes and you NQ) and the dog cannot be out of control for more than 20 seconds or you NQ.
5. You can have treats in your pocket and you can treat in between exercises.
6. Jump height is whatever you choose - again easier on my old boy.
7. There are lots of challenging exercises and courses - there is a send over jump, a stop and do any trick, a go out and sit.... Lots of fun stuff to learn.
8. You only pay for a qualifying run - why would anyone submit an NQ?
I have been having a pretty good time with this. We have two of the Level I Qs we need and hope to have the third one soon. We have been practicing "side" and transitions. We're also learning the go out and sit exercise. I find that I need a focus and some motivation to work on specific things with Jazz. Coach is still learning the basics for AKC obedience and Rally, but Jazz will never compete in AKC again. The jumps are too high and he will not sit that many times in a row. I'm sure it hurts so who could blame him?
If you have a dog that is unable or unhappy about competing in regular venues, I would really recommend giving this a try. (Maybe if you just want to do something different at your own convenience.) I have had a good time with it and it Jazz seems to be having a ball.
Here are our two qualifying runs so far. As you can see - inside, outside, distractions, whatever - it is pretty much fun.
Here's the website if you're interested. http://cyberrally-o.com/