Putting a Cross In Only to Take it Back Out

01 May 2009Steve Schwarz

Updated 1-May-2009 Added Video

If you walk a course and end up putting a cross in at an obstacle only to take it back out again before the next obstacle you should take a minute to reconsider your handling plan for that course. That is usually a sign that you are coming into the sequence on the wrong side, missing a skill and/or you are over-handling your dog. I’ve invented the term “Cross In/Cross Out” for this handling situation.

Here’s an example from a recent class course from Dana Pike:

Sequence Demonstrating Putting In a
Cross and Taking it Back Out

In the course above my initial handling for jump 3 to tunnel 4 was as shown by the red line. I wanted to wrap Jump Wrap/WrapHandling 360 Jump Wraps aka "Over and Over" - VideoJump Wrap Handling TipsJump Wrap Handling - With Video jump 3 to make certain Meeker didn’t take the off course dog walk. I wrapped by fully Front Crossing Front CrossLearning the Front Cross over the jump and put Meeker on my right arm on the way to the tunnel. But this meant I had to Rear Cross Rear CrossLearning the Rear Cross almost immediately as Meeker entered the tunnel. So I put in the Front Cross only to take out it right back out by Rear Crossing.

So that should be “red flag” that another handling approach or more training would solve the handling problem.

A different handling that Dana discussed is shown by the green line. Still wrap jump 3 but keep your dog on your right hand afterwards. This is still a Front Cross since your dog would have been on your left arm on the approach to jump 3. Then move backwards enough to draw your dog past the dog walk ramp. Then rotate to your right and push your dog into the tunnel with your left arm. So only a single cross was needed to handle this sequence and keep the dog away from the off course (This is the alternative to RFP handling Mary Ellen Barry was describing at a seminar

back in 2006.

Here’s a video showing the In and Out Cross handling and the handling Dana proposed:

It Depends

I’m sure there are some legitimate situations where two crosses between obstacles are required by a course. But like all “rules of thumb” I’ve found this one to be useful most of the time.

One situation where unnecessary crosses are helpful is when it gets the dog more revved up. Teams where the handler can easily get ahead of the dog can sometimes benefit from the handler staying moving via additional crosses or taking the “long way around”

The other case where I find myself doing this is if I get too far ahead of my dog. It seems my default behavior is to throw in an unnecessary Front Cross in these situations. Then I end up being on the wrong side of the dog or obstacle and taking it right back out. But that is a different problem than planning your handling to include “In and Out Crosses”.

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