As the lazy, hazy days of summer continue, so does what I like to call Penelope’s K-9 Kamp.

So last week, I packed cheese cubes and raced Penelope to the car.

“It’s Rally Day,” I called.

Penelope got there first and jumped in.

Rally is a competitive sport where dogs of all breeds (even mixed breeds) and of all ages compete for championships. The competitors are in teams of two: one canine and one human. As a team, you work through a course of 10-20 signs with instructions on them. Each sign has a specific command.  Sit.  Sit-Lie Dow-Sit.  Turn Left. Turn Right. Turn 180 Degrees. Make a Figure 8 around cones.  And so on.

A course is set up with 10 - 20 signs with instructions.

A course is set up with 10 – 20 signs with instructions.

You and your dog have to keep pace with each other (no pulling ahead or hanging back) as you navigate the course and follow the instructions on the signs.

Everyone starts with 200 points. Points are deducted for mistakes, and (we should be so lucky) bonus points are added.

Sound complicated?

I thought so.

I did the reading and navigating. Penelope followed my hand – the one holding the cheese.

Penelope wasn’t sure why I asked to her to lie down and not move while I walked a circle around her.  She wanted to follow me. But I held a cube of cheese to her nose which kept her in her place.

She also wasn’t sure why, during the Figure 8, I kept nudging her to the left. Again, cheese worked wonders.

Monroe navigates the cones.

Monroe navigates the cones.

Oh, oh.  I'm next.

Oh, oh. I’m next.

Well, I thought, this isn’t that hard. A second later, the class was told that as we became more advanced and went into actual competitions, no food would be allowed on the course and dogs would be off leash. There would also be obstacles on the course and we would be timed.

To become proficient in Rally, four courses were available: Novice, Advanced, Excellent, and Ring Prep and Run-Throughs. Under the description of each course was fine print that said dogs and handlers must be competent in a level before advancing to the next one.

I frowned.  Penelope’s tail wagged as she looked in my handbag for cheese. I guess she hadn’t heard the part about no more cheese.

What do you mean, no more cheese?

What do you mean, no more cheese?

Rally Day ended. We went outside to our car. It must have been 100 degrees.

Penelope and I aren’t sure whether we want to pursue Rally. Or, make that I’m not sure that I want to pursue Rally. But we agreed that we could use a treat to beat the heat.

I had an ice cream cone.  And Penelope had a yogurt pumpkin freeze.



Blend 1 cup of canned pumpkin with 1 cup of nonfat plain yogurt.

Pour or spoon into an ice cube tray or small paper cups and freeze.

This low-fat treat is great for dogs and good for those needing extra fiber in their diets.

And tales wag at the taste of pumpkin.

Penelope approves this recipe.

Penelope approves this recipe