September 6, 2012

Front Cross

A Front Cross is a maneuver in which you change handling sides in front of your dog. This typically occurs on a turn. The side change happens by turning toward your dog (you will be able to see your dog throughout). This is in contrast to the Blind Cross.

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  • For number 2, I mean that many handlers end up stopping their own movement as they watch their dog take a jump or go through a tunnel. These are perfect opportunities to get ahead of your dog since your dog is occupied with their job! You need to be aware of your dog, but also use those opportunities to put in some speed and get out ahead!

    Bad Dog Agility is our own little piece of the online world where we can share training exercises and tips; so website/blog – not a magazine (and not competing with Clean Run). Our site launched last December, but things really got going when we started our podcast in May of this year. We are also available for private lessons (both live in the Houston area and virtual) and seminars.

    I’m not sure which article you are referring to, but if the title will spark your memory, you can take a look at the archives:

    or posts in the Front Cross Category:

    • Many thanks for all the info! When you add to your material on front crosses see if you can think of exercises that people like me can do that makes us realize that we can take off earlier! Just watched a few more of what I think are your videos and I can REALLY see how you need to watch the dog up to take off but then need to move fast!

      I did find the video I was looking for — lots of excellent f.c.s in a small space so you don’t need to run far and fast! That’s what I need. I’ve greatly improved my running this year with yoga, pilates, aqua exercise and weight training, but at 77 there is a limit.

      I thank you and all those connected with this effort — some excellent stuff, and very up to date!

  • This is a nice slow demo of the front cross with the wonderful emphasis on what the handler needs to be doing! Bravo! However, this is all shown from a stationary position, we now need some help on how to do this in motion, i.e. when the f.c. is needed mid course. How do we make this transition?

    • Thanks Dina!
      First – both you and your dog need to be able to execute the front cross properly ‘without thinking’. It needs to be second nature. You can start with a lead out pivot which eliminates the need for you to move into position. This will let you work on your timing. Then you can start from a hefty lead-out (as shown above) to practice your footwork and moving into position while still maintaining your correct timing!

      Once these are second nature, you can add a little more complexity, or longer sequences, before the cross.

      However, if you are struggling to make the front cross mid-course, it may not be the appropriate move for you and your dog on that particular sequence. The more attention I paid to doing proper front crosses, the fewer I did on course! I realized that many of my front crosses were badly timed or poorly positioned. You will need the ability to get out in front of your dog to execute a nice front cross.

      Check back for future training segments on the front cross, you can find them by using the “Articles – By Skill” menu!

      • Hi Sarah! Many thanks for your response! Yes I agree that doing your exercises many times over until you feel totally comfortable is the way to go. However, I am one of those people who, despite doing agility for a number of years, have never really felt comfortable with the front cross. Part of the problem is that it is hard for me to get into position. I have done exercises similar to the one you describe following some of the Linda Mechlenbergh videos, and they work well when you begin with a sit-stay and are ahead on the course. Indeed I typically use lead out pivots (or pushes) to save me time at the beginning of a course. But I can’t seem to get to the next step, i.e. using front crosses with confidence while running. Some of this is just fear — so I’m looking for a way to practice, hopefully in slow motion, the step that gets you into the necessary position. I know that part of the problem is not leaving where you were before early enough — but I don’t know how to train myself to do this.

        • I think the three most common mistakes are
          1) Not committing to the cross – once you decide to do it, there can be no hesitation!
          2) Watching your dog – you have to trust that they are doing the right thing, you can’t watch them take each jump!
          3) Forcing a FC in a place where you can not realistically make the timing and position.

          So you first need to decide whether the FC you are attempting is reasonable for you and your dog. If you think it is, and you aren’t making it, then probably one of the first two is holding you back. Making a FC can be 90% mental!

          My advise would be to gradually add more and more obstacles before your attempted cross. We do seem to be a little light on FC articles (we did a whole rear cross series earlier this year!), so I’ll try to focus on the FC a bit in the coming months.

          Happy Training!

          • Interesting! I totally agree with (3) and as a consequence do a lot of rear crosses — used to feel guilty about it but have gotten over that. And I can see (1) as quite important altho there can be a conflict between (1) and (3), i.e. you think you can do a f.c. but when you run it you realize its not going to work.
            However, I’m not sure I understand (2) — do you mean that the handler should watch the dog MORE or LESS? I feel I don’t watch my dog enough because I am so concerned about where I am going.
            BTW the stuff on rear crosses is SUPER!

            P.S. What is Bad Dog? A training facility, website, blog, magazine….? How long have you been in existence and are you competing with Clean Run?

          • P.S. there is video on a really nice set up for doing a series of front crosses — but I can’t find it again?!?! How do I get to those exercises?

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