Using a Double Rear Cross Instead of a Serpentine

Rear Cross vs Serpentine

Executing a good serpentine in agility requires you to be ahead of your dog on course. However, you can’t always be ahead of your dog. When this happens, a double rear cross is the perfect substitute for the serpentine maneuver. In the video below, the handler runs two rear crosses in a row instead of a serpentine, with the exact same time: 2.0 seconds from the moment the dog’s nose breaks the plane of the first jump to the landing of the front feet on the third jump. You can see in the side by side image below that the dog lands within inches of the same spot with both maneuvers.

Side by side image of the landing point of the serpentine (left) and double rear cross (right).

Keys to Success:

1. Set the line for each rear cross.

2. Drive the diagonal. But where’s the diagonal line? The diagonal path for the handler doesn’t really exist for this set up. Instead, you will try to skim along as close to the jumps as possible, basically facing the same way as you move forward, with small rotations to cue the jumps. It’s hard to describe, so watch the video.

Troubleshooting:
1. Set the right line by staying out of your dog’s way. If you get in the way and force your dog around your body, they will lose the angled approach to the jump and this will create a big S-shaped path that will bring the off course tunnels into view and give you a slower time. Wait for your dog to commit to the jump, then immediately rear cross. Compare the red and green paths for the dog below.

Stay out of your dog’s way to run a tight line (green).

2. If the tunnel is giving you problems, remove it from the picture. The spacing in the video is a very tight 8 feet from tunnel entrance to jump, with 6 feet in between each jump.

Have you heard the latest episode? #169: Creating a Crate to Crate Routine

x