Monday, July 9, 2012

Collection Cues and Rear Crosses

This is the third exercise I built around Dawn Weaver's exercise (p.42, Knowledge Equals Speed).  Both the white course and the black call for a 180 before the tunnel.  On the white course, the easiest way to handle the 180 is with a post turn and then wrap the dog into the gap at #4.  However, as I quickly discovered with Belle, the collection cues before #3 must be timely and heeded.

My major collection cue was to slow or stop between 2 and 3.  However, it was much easier for Belle to catch the deceleration cue when I when I was running quickly before I decelerated.  I could have also reached across my body with my left hand to cue collection.  Then I could have smoothly pulled my left hand back across my body to indicate both the #4 hoop and the wrap.  When I was running with a toy in my left hand, I failed every time to reach across my body.  (I tried to refrain from using any verbals to indicate collection in this exercise.)

Way back in the day when I was a newbie, I learned to do a rear cross by first fading in the opposite direction as shown by the black line.  It worked, so I continued to do it that way.  However, thanks to Linda Mecklenburg and Dawn Weaver, I learned that fading in the opposite direction before executing the cross adds extra feet to the dog's path.  It is more efficient to follow the handling path indicated by the red dashed line.   Following that path, you are always moving in the direction your want your dog to go.  To be sure, if you want to use this more efficient path, you have to train your dog to recognize that you want a turn after the jump, and you have to make sure you give the proper cues.

The black course in my exercise above provides an opportunity to practice the mechanics of a good rear cross.  I thought Dusty would have a difficult time with this way of doing a rear cross, and he did.  However, I thought moving left without fading to the right first would cause him to turn before #3.  Instead, he totally missed the rear cross cue and went from #3 to the tunnel.

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