Grand Rapids has finally, finally got an indoor training arena for dogs -- just opened last week. I've got Mojo scheduled for beginner Rally classes (he completed a six week session before, but we had to take some time off to get to the bottom of this excitement/stress/diarrhea business). Any suggestions/recommendations/things you see now looking backwards for us?
The only suggestion I would make is to train as if you are doing formal obedience, even if you can "get away with" less in the Rally ring. For instance, it drives me crazy to see how crooked some people allow their dogs to be on sits and finishes, and loose their heeling is in the Rally ring. I figure if you're going to do it, why not do it right? Plus, if you decide later to go on to formal obedience, it's a LOT harder to tighten things up if you've allowed the dog to think it's OK to be sloppy.
I was talking to someone about that today. Kodi stood from a sit before I asked him to today. I COULD have just quickly moved forward as if he were just heeling with me. (which was what the other person and I were talking about) But _I_ knew I hadn't asked him to move yet. So I took a 3 point hit and re-did the sign, because I didn't want him to think that was OK.
Also, consider APDT Rally as well as AKC. I find APDT more fun... people are really supportive, and the courses are more challenging than AKC, slightly so at the beginning level (AKC Novice, APDT Level 1), but MUCH more at the higher levels. I like challenges.
Good luck, and keep us posted on how you are doing! We have several people here who are doing Rally, and it's always fun to hear how people are coming along!