Do You Compete in Rally? Repeat After Me – Don’t Forget to Pause!

March 22, 2021

I find the walk around signs to be the most common incorrectly performed signs in rally.  I think people get nervous on the walk around signs and they forget to pause.  It’s such a simple thing but it’s one of the most common handler errors.  My goal for you is that you never make this mistake!  It’s not a fun way to lose 10 points (not that it is ever fun to lose 10 points)!


Whenever you walk around your dog in AKC rally, you must pause in heel!  Repeat this in your head – Whenever you walk around your dog in rally, you must pause in heel!


Let’s list out the AKC signs that require you to pause in heel!




Halt Walk Around

Halt Down Walk Around



Call Front Return to Heel – for this sign, as you are heeling, take 1-2 steps back and call your dog to front.  Tell your dog to stay, then walk around your dog into heel position.  PAUSE then continue on.  This is a change of direction sign, so you will call the dog right in front of the sign.





Halt Stand Walk Around





Moving Stand Walk Around

Moving Down Walk Around





Halt Send Away Sit Return Signs – during these signs you send your dog to a cone and the dog sits.  You then return to your dog in heel position, pause, and continue forward in the direction of the arrow.



Avoid this common handler error by remembering to pause in heel whenever you walk around your dog in the AKC Rally ring!

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  1. Sandi Ver Sprill

    What about sign #118
    My students are getting hit with an IP for not pausing prior to calling to heel

    • Nicole Wiebusch

      Yes! After leaving the dog and going out two steps, the handler must pause, but then must call the dog and move forward simultaneously. If the handler calls the dog then starts heeling, that is also an IP.


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