Today is day three of our first camp here in Florida. I think everyone is enjoying themselves, even though the weather is atypical for Florida at this time of year. I feel a bit sorry for all of my Canadian students who made the long trip south to get away from the freezing temperatures! Oh well, I can always turn up the heat when they are working in my session if at all required 😈

My first topic at camp was on rear cross execution, my next was on lead out options. I might have thrown a curve ball yesterday when I included a snooker opening for one of their lead outs.  A lot of wailing to start, but in the end everyone recovered and handled it well.

One of the biggest rear cross weaknesses I saw was students not knowing to drive deep to set a line for the cross. As you can see in this first diagram as a handler you can “cut” the corner on your handling path from 2-3-4, allowing the dog to do the pinwheel on his own while you move ahead. But if you do that before  5-6-7 (before the rear cross) you end up too far up the line towards jump 8 in an effort to allow the dog to catch up and pass you so you can set up the rear cross. The resultant poor handling path ends up, pulling the dog off of jump 9.

You can see in this next diagram if the handler would only run deeper into the “pocket” supporting 5-6-7 it would allow the dog to drive ahead enough that they (the handler) could now run a nice diagonal line towards the left upright of 8, thus having the dog confidently power to obstacle 9.

It is those little finesses that help to make agility more enjoyable for both dog and handler!

Today I am grateful for Greg and Laura and the great in depth handling discussions we have after camp.