Reframing and Refining the Rear Cross

So I said I’d put together a video for the new rear cross language that I think might be helpful to people having trouble with the skill and the drill.

It’s a little cheesy, but I think this might communicate the idea better than me talking your ears off…

Let me know if this helps with refining the skill.


  1. Marion Paulson

    Thanks Ron! Someone like me may actually get this. And no it wasn’t cheesy *s* I was totally doing it wrong so this may turn me around the right way.


  2. Ron Watson Post author

    It’s really easy to get out of whack on that… the front cross can be even worse… you really don’t do much of anything…

    Please remember that the rear cross, this skill, means the dog turns away from you.


  3. Ann

    It seems to me that you just need to remember that rear cross is turn away and front cross is turning toward you. Am I oversimplifying it?

    1. Ron Watson Post author

      No, you are not.

      But some people have a problem with the mechanics of the skill – the choreography, if you will.

      That’s what this is about, creating 4 points to anchor the choreography – it’s like dance steps on the floor for the cha-cha…

  4. Marion Paulson


    You have it right when you say some people have problems with the mechanics and so on. I have bad coordination because of having one bad eye so even when I do exercise classes I get all screwed up when I have to do more then two moves in sequence. Some people have natura skill and some of us others are the ones who trip along.

  5. Marion Paulson


    I really have to say thank you for this video! I have this weird learning curve and when it involves a few movements I really have some issues. This Video breaking it all down helped so much for me. Kodo’s on making it for us.

    Now I have to hope what I think I am now doing is how I am suppose to do it *laugh* video to come in the near future.


  6. Susan Vrona

    would love this same breakdown for a front cross. It’s so much easier to understand the back cross with this type of video. Thanks Ron!

  7. myriad

    Ron, it is not difficult for me to visualize the crosses themselves (I’m an agility person too), but I wonder if you could point me to a video where these are used in an actual routine. I have problems visualizing the context, what they can be used to achieve. And as I’ve said, flow is definitely not my strong point, so I need all the help I can get 🙂

    1. Ron Watson Post author

      Here’s a video of LeiLei that has some examples: .

      Now Leilani has a massive outrun, so not all dog’s flatwork looks like her stuff, but the concepts are clear and if you’ve worked with a Round border collie before you know how difficult it is getting them to not take that additional lap around you and also how hard it is to create straight lines towards the handler off of that outrun.

      Here’s a rear cross as set up move and flow catalyst by Dre and Moxie: – 45 seconds – 1:45 – 1:48 – 2:50… Nice jam, eh?

      Now Dre is using a ‘flip’ cue essentially. I’ve discussed the hand to hand cue, more of a Mecklenberg style Rear Cross, and how it fits within our transfer of target from hand to hand cuing, but I can’t get her to get with the program. Using that flip like that does might accomplish the skill, but it does not help with the dog taking off-hand (left handed) cues.

      I really do believe that the continuity of that hand to hand target transfer, set up moves, flatwork, and vault cuing is hugely important in terms of foundational understanding.

      I’ll see about some additional footage. This is just right off the top of my head. There will be more flatwork examples in Week 2 as well.

  8. myriad

    Thanks, Ron, this is already lots of food for thought. And Dre and Moxie are SO amazing (not to mention you and Leilani, of course, but that’s a given). WOW. WOW. Speed, coordination and great flow, it’s all there.

    1. Ron Watson Post author

      Dre & Mox are amazing! That Butterfly back vault is pretty sick!

      That flow comes from having defined and predictable positions for both the dog and handler, more about the dog really. That Squib (Rear Cross) that Dre is doing there sets the dog at a proper distance and angle for the next move, as does Moxie’s flip and even the vaults and such wind up with a predictable distance, position and orientation of the dog that can be worked into your next move. You should see what happens to a complex sequence like the one Dre was doing here when that flip as set up move for the vault is missed. It doesn’t look so hot.

      Flow is just trick into trick and trick out of trick, something that Dre really showcases here. Another thing that really helps create flow is not setting up in front position all the time. Nothing will make a game look broken like having to start with your dog in front of you. We’ll talk more about that in weeks 2 and 6.

      Here’s some footage of a really nice foster we had a while back. There’s some groovy flatwork in there… That rear cross was sprung on him for the first time in that session. Such a nice athlete… Border collies can really look magical with crosses and flatwork.

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