A Front Crossing Workout

My work study camp is underway. I’ve two ladies show up for afternoon work. They’ve already become champion wood splitters and stackers. I have hundreds of oversized wood cuts and stumps around the property. We’re getting them all cut and organized. With any luck I won’t be using much propane to heat the place this winter.

These two are from State College, PA. And they’ve told me what they’d like to do in the “study” portion of the agenda is master the Front Cross. I understand the sentiment completely. The Front Cross is one of the most common movements in agility, but also one of the most flawed. I have an eye for sublime movement and so that shall be our objective.

Wouldn’t you like to move in sublime manner? Who wouldn’t?

Okay, I’ve come up with a bit of a lesson plan for tomorrow morning using a reasonably small space on the floor of the training building. I recognized a long time ago that for teaching it’s best to avoid a cluttered working space. And what causes the clutter is the misperception that everything needs to be on the floor at once.

We’ll start with a simple sequence that might begin with a single simple Front Cross, between jumps #1 and #2. Many handlers would do this opening with a Bending movement… meaning that they lead out dog on right, and step into the dog’s path to bend the dog away. What I’ll encourage is a lead-out dog-on-left into an opening Front Cross to draw the dog around into the closing loop.

For my own part I’ll put my boy Kory on this sequence and work on my down contact of the A-frame as well while I layer to the opposite side of the weave poles and jump #1. I’m training Kory to be the perfect dog for an old man.

This is basically a reversal of the intro sequence with one little hitch… in the turn after jump #5 into the pipe tunnel. Frankly this might be accomplished with something as simple as a static Post Turn. But this is intended to be a Front Crossing exercise.

The real question of course is how the handler will get forward of the dog for a Front Cross (or for a static Post, for that matter). A well trained dog should work through the outer loop while the handler takes a much more economical path, possibly layering to the opposite side of the weave poles and moving snugly against the tunnel.

Note that from the pipe tunnel to jump #7 the handler will need a careful Post Turn, drawing the dog out enough to have an adequate approach to the jump.

This sequence too is a lot like the first one we ran.  Rather than just a run around the loop the handler will have to manage the dog in the turn from jump #3 into the pipe tunnel. We continue the discussion of the Lead Out Pivot (okay, it’s just a Front Cross). I want to show my students how aggressive the lead-out can be. The dog turns when the handler turns not where the handler turns. The initial lead-out should be to just about where the number 4 is on the course map. This allows the handler to easily be in position for a Front Cross on the landing side of jump #4.

Okay, this sequence is completely relentless. The exercise opens like the last one. But now the handler is faced with getting to jump #7 for a wrapping turn back the opposite direction.  And the sequence calls for yet another Front Cross after jump #9. I’ll look for at least one more Front Cross drawing the dog out of the pipe tunnel for an approach to jump #11.

The final Front Cross, out of the pipe tunnel, is what I call a serpentine Front Cross. If you really think about it this is a combination movement Front Cross to Post Turn. After the Front Cross the handler should draw the dog neatly and carefully around his body to open up the approach to jump #11.

In this final sequence we get to practice the Front Cross three more times… after jump #2; after jump #5; and out of the pipe tunnel at #6.

Bud’s Google-proof Trivia Contest

Who is this cartoon character? Who was the artist?

First correct answer, posted as a reply to this blog post, wins a free copy of the June Jokers Notebook.

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Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston: BudHouston@hughes.net. Check out my latest publication the Jokers Notebook ~ Dog Agility Distance Training Plan – June 2010 available on the Country Dream Web Store: http://countrydream.wordpress.com/web-store/ . Readers of my web log get a discount: Enter “special05” in the box for the discount code. And that will take $5.00 off the price of the order.

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3 Responses to “A Front Crossing Workout”

  1. Char Says:

    Steamboat Willie? Walt Disney?

  2. Paula Price Says:

    That’s Andy Panda. Artist Carl Barks.

  3. Erica Says:

    Andy Panda, but I think Les Kline was the artist at the time of this image (1947).

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