Rear Crossing to Setup The Dog's Line

10 Aug 2004Steve Schwarz

This is a sequence from one of Dana Pike’s courses this past Wednesday night. There were two other interesting handling sequences; but I was surprised by the trouble I had handling this part of the course.

Here is the sequence for the opening of the course:

Course With Obstacle Numbers

I planned to keep Milo on my right through this portion of the course and just pull him through the 270 degree jumps and Rear Cross the A-Frame as shown below:

Course With Dog and Handler Paths

I lead out most of the way down the chute. I kept him pushed out to the far side of jump 3 with my right arm extended. I brought him over jump 3 on my right hand side and accelerated toward jump 4. I slowed approaching the jump to cue him to collect and not extend over the jump. Even though I shoulder pulled to my left (towards jump 5) I had my right arm out and Milo turned towards the off course jump “X”. I tried this same approach several times with at best a spin on the far side of the jump. This is shown below:

Course With Dog and Handler Paths

Clearly this was an unsuccessful strategy. Dana walked us through the course and pointed out the key point I was missing. Since there were no obstacles to his left as he went over jump 4 he turned right towards the only obstacle he saw (my big arm sticking out wasn’t helping either). More importantly he wasn’t on a left lead going to the jump; so he wasn’t going to land turning to the left.

So to get Milo to turn left the solution was to change him to a left lead before the jump. The easiest method; Rear Cross Rear CrossLearning the Rear Cross before the jump. So working backwards, that meant Front Crossing Front CrossLearning the Front Cross on the landing side of jump 3 while Milo was on the take off side. Then slow to let him pass and execute the Rear Cross to end up on his left side as he takes the jump. Completing the sequence, execute another front cross over jump 5 to continue on to the A Frame with him on my left side. Maybe it is clearer in the figure below:

Course With Dog and Handler Paths

This approach worked perfectly. This was a fun part of the overall course and most importantly helped me think outside of my Front Cross mindset.

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