Tonight's agility class focused on rear crosses. For the non-agility folks, there are 2 ways to change directions on course; front crosses and rear crosses. In a front cross, you get in front of your dog, turn into them and pull them to the other side of your body. Rear crosses are accomplished when the dog is ahead of you and you move to the other side of your dog. So, if I was running with Moira on my right and did a rear cross, she would then be on my left.
I was originally taught that front crosses are used to generate speed because the dog is catching up to you. Rear crosses are used when the dog has a lot of speed already and you can't keep up but need to change direction. I don't think that is still the philosophy - now all dogs should be able to do both. Sam only did rear crosses by accident. I could get great lateral distance from him but couldn't send him out ahead of me. He was a velcro dog.
Back to tonight's class... we started with just 2 jumps, the 2 we wanted the cross to happen with. Moira started on my right and I sent her over the jump while I crossed behind her. Our instructor stood off to the left and threw a piece of meatball in front of Ra to help her understand where she was supposed to go. We did that a couple of times and then added the 2nd jump. Jump, cross, jump. No problem.
Next we backed up and added 2 more jumps. Now the sequence was jump, jump, cross, jump, jump. Again, no problem. Ra was reading my cross and easily making the slight right hand turn to get over the last jump.
Then I screwed up. I crossed between jumps 1 and 2 instead of between 2 and 3. And do you know what my awesome little dog did? EXACTLY what I told her to! She turned but, there wasn't a jump there. Instead she took the logical line, skipped jump 3 and went straight to jump 4. Patty, our instructor, screamed "THAT WAS BRILLIANT! Moira, not you. She read that cross perfectly and did exactly what she should have done based on what you told her." It's thrilling when your dog gets it.
Ra and I also worked weaves tonight before we went to class. I keep our sessions very short - 5 to 10 minutes. The channels are closed down to 3-4" and she's doing pretty well - right about 85-90% of the time. I'm really thrilled with her enthusiasm too. When we walk out the door I say, "Let's go" and she makes a beeline for the weaves and enters them. She's still not doing all 6 without support but she is beginning to understanding what she's supposed to do.
Maybe the trial next weekend won't be a total disaster.
5 days ago