Early on I observed that crossing behind the dog on the approach to a contact obstacle is likely to cause a fault (notably a refusal). Consequently I resolved that changing sides on the dismount is almost always better handling.
But sometimes those crafty evil judges will design a course that traps us and takes away the option to cross on dismount. So it is a prudent matter to train and condition both the dog and handler to understand the technical Rear Cross.
There are an abundant number of scenarios which demand our attention in training. I have presented here a simple intro.
Follow these simple rules:
- You must allow the dog to go forward of the handler in a Rear Cross (you can’t cross behind if you’re not behind.)
- Work in a very straight line until the dog is committed to the obstacle (if the dog is on the A-frame, you can call him committed.)
- Don’t take the crossing step before the dog is committed. It is the premature step that elicits the refusal.
- Try to minimize the transitional line… that is, the length of the handler’s movement from side to side. The longer is that line, the greater the chance that the Cross will fail.
- If an all possible, the handler should appear alongside the dog before it even occurs to the dog that the handler has changed sides.
Please note that in the intro exercise another Rear Cross might be practiced on the second approach to the A-frame. We always endeavor to be ambidextrous in agility.
 No movement in agility NQs more dogs that the Rear Cross. It’s good to have a Rear Cross for the emergency. Not every emergency should not be of our own invention.
Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston Houston.Bud@gmail.com. The web store is up and running. www.dogagility.org/newstore. You’ll find in the web store The Book of Agility Games, an invaluable reference to clubs engaged in league play.