August 20, 2012

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.

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.

You may also like

Trial Review Tuesday 4/9/2024

Trial Review Tuesday 4/9/2024
  • I also think the serp could have been faster if you cues the jump with an invitation of the left arm instead of bringing up the right hand across the body. This almost indicates a front cross and could slow the dog down? So much fun exploring your site!

  • I’d say the serp would have been faster if you hadn’t gone so close to the fArthest wing on the third jump. Your position on the double rear cued a tighter turn because you were closer to the first wing vs the serp where you were closer to the farthest wing when you cued it. What if you cued the third jump from the first wing, instead of the second?

    • Good eye! The paths were timed from nose breaking the plane of the first jump to the landing after the third jump–the turn to the tunnel was not included. I’ve added a photo to the article above that demonstrate the dog took the same path and landed within inches of the same spot. So serpentine=double rear cross.

      BUT you are 100% right, the cue for the turn to the tunnel on the serpentine was WAY LATE, she was in the air before I ever moved toward the tunnel, as shown at

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

    Looking for more?

    Become a Bad Dog Agility VIP Member for exclusive training tailored to you and your dog. Enjoy the motivational benefits of our supportive community of agility trainers. Transform the way you think, train, and compete. Our online VIP program opens just once a year—we are currently CLOSED for registration. Enrollment will open April/Map 2024.