Thursday, November 19, 2009

Front cross rules per Deannas class and other training pearls..

Deanna breaks things down a lot in our class and really teaches why things work or don't, so one of the things she constantly reviews, asks us about, etc... are her rules for the Front Cross, and they usually work mighty fine.

1. You have to be ahead of the dog, if you are several obstacles behind, a front cross is not a good choice ;-) simple but true
2. Keep your eye on the dog-when you do a front cross you need to keep your eye on the dog and make sure you actually picked the dog up when you changed sides, and make sure they read it and are where they need to be.
3. A front cross involves a change of side, you are going to end up on the opposite side of the dog
4. Place your front cross as close to the next obstacle as possible
5. This is the hardest one to actually see sometimes in my opinion, but a Front cross should be placed on a turn or a curve, . Now the thing that can be hard about that is that you have to look at the PATH OF THE DOG and not your path to make sure the front cross is on a turn or a curve. An example of where it could be confusing or hard to see where the front cross should go to place it on a turn or a curve is this exercise below that Deanna uses to show us that. In the first course, the jump where the front cross goes looks like a straight line if you just look at the placement of the jumps, but if you walk the actual path of the DOG you see that it is indeed a curve. So I think that is rather trippy.

Another pearl I got today in class with Breeze was one about your feet placement. I have always just thought well, I know the feet are way important and if your feet are not pointed and committed the right way then of course your dog does not see where you want to go. But I had sort of figured that dogs mainly looked at your upper body, for large dogs and the feet for smaller dogs. ACTUALLY the topic of this class was foot placement, and we ran a bunch of exercises and you were supposed to stop and FREEZE and look at your feet if your dog went off course. We also we not supposed to use our arms very much. Well, Deanna pointed out that the feet control the whole body. So if you turn your feet a certain direction, your hips open up and point that way, your shoulders turn that way your body orients that way, so no matter where your dog watches to get cues on where to go next, foot placement is going to have a lot to do with that, ahhh haaaaaa, another light bulb moment for me. I always knew foot placement was important but I guess I never fully appreciated why.

Another development I noticed about Breeze today in class, one I have been noticing the last few weeks..., that is good overall, but a little scary right now...BREEZE IS GETTING WAYYYYYYYYY FASTER. She finally understands to just look for the line I am setting up and she is awesome reading it and just takes off. I mean FLIES. Half the time she is soooo far ahead of me it is scary and sad. I had thought up until now that I was doing awesome keeping up with her and thought I had that handled, but this new confidence and excitement has her just smoking around the course, and if she gets any faster....I may be in some serious trouble for sure.


Diana said...

Thanks for these tips. I didnt know about #5 on the front cross. Diana

Sara said...

Wow. That is so much to think about, you're making my brain hurt. LOL.

Ricky the Sheltie said...

Yes, thanks for posting the 5 rules! I didn't know about #5 either and it really is hard to see in the first example. Reminding about the importance about feet is also good! Thanks for sharing great info!

Sam said...

Before I started doing agility, if you would have asked me how to run a course, I would have thought I was an expert... just make sure your dog goes the right way. LOL

It's really amazing how technical it is. I'm truly learning a brand new sport and I love it.

Morganne said...

Good information! I always forget about the eye contact. Something I need to work on more.

Dogs get faster when they gain confidence and know where they are going next. Summit's speed increased too as I got better an faster at cueing him. Then I had to work more on Sends so I had time to get downstream!