Monday, May 16, 2011

Rear Crosses (and how they trouble me)

Agility truly makes me feel like I'm in a foreign place and everyone is speaking a language that I don't know but 2 words of ('okay' and 'hup'). I feel like everyone else is "getting it" and I'm just struggling along thinking, "will this ever get any easier?"

A prime example is the Rear Cross (RC). It's a seemingly simple move whereby you step laterally behind your dog while he continues forward  to complete a change of sides.

The Rear Cross is a handling maneuver that, like all crosses, is used to allow the handler to change from one side of the dog to the other or to initiate/maintain a turn in the dog's path. The Rear Cross has the following properties:

  • The dog must move ahead of the handler in order for the handler to cross behind the dog
  • The handler remains behind the dog immediately afterwards
  • The dog is visible to the handler throughout the cross
  • When used close to the dog, it can strongly effect the dog's path (for better or worse)
  • When the handler doesn't yield position to the dog a collision can occur

I learned quickly that things that seem simple, often aren't and the RC is one of those things (for me at least). I also learned that when it comes to a RC, timing is truly everything.

Here's the thing though... there's not just one RC, there are 2. Of course there are...

First, there's the Rear Cross On The Flat (RCOTF). All this time, I thought OTF referred to shadow handling or training exercises. Wrong again! OTF also refers to the space between obstacles. (Again, it sounds simple but to me it's not that clear when we're running a sequence!) Therefore, a RCOTF is performed after the dog completes one obstacle turning the dog to face the next obstacle.

RC On the Flat courtesy of :

[The pictures below show the handler position after each step for Rear Crosses starting on the handler's left and right. Imagine the dog is moving forward and his nose is right where the finger of my lead arm is pointing (obviously my lead arm changes as I change the dog from one side to the other).]
StepRear Cross Without Dog
Dog On Handler's Left
Rear Cross Without Dog
Dog On Handler's Right
Rear Cross Left Step 0Rear Cross Right Step 0
Step 1Rear Cross Left Step 1Rear Cross Right Step 1
Step 2Rear Cross Left Step 2Rear Cross Right Step 2
Step 3Rear Cross Left Step 3Rear Cross Right Step 3
CompleteRear Cross Left Step 4Rear Cross Right Step 4

The second type of RC can be done on the takeoff side OR the landing side of an obstacle. This RC turns the dog while he is performing the obstacle.

If you are thoroughly confused, Here are links to some Agility Nerd Videos and more videos! which are very helpful for the eternally confused...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well if it makes you feel any better, even those of us with lots of experience miss them. I have video of me clearly on time with my rear cross and Gunner didn't even glance my way but continued on to the off course jump. Agility looks like an easy game but there is a lot going on every second.
Sue & Zoe & Gunner & Taylor (who is learning rear crosses on the flat right now!)