Rear Cross

We are going to work the Rear Cross on the entry to, and the exit of, the PVR. We’ll get the dog to drop at a comfortable distance and set the PVR with a Consequent Cue…


Cross On Entry

When we hook up on the Flank on the way into the PVR and the dog winds up abreast of us, we:

  1. Scoop and Step – sending the dog forward
  2. Match and Turn – transfer target and set direction
  3. Step and Finish – pull the dog in the new direction
  4. Throw

Our Dog will turn away from us and wind up going back in the direction from whence he came. This is depicted in the Diagram on the Right.

This is a fast and abrupt change in direction that can be used to set up sharply and with a POP! It’s flashy and efficient.

Cross On Exit

Working the rear cross out of the PVR creates another sweet pattern, depicted in the Diagram on the Left:

We work the PVR and pull the dog around. As the dog comes abreast of us and starts to get in front of the flank, we:

  1. Scoop and Step – sending the dog forward
  2. Match and Turn – transfer target and set direction
  3. Step and Finish – pull the dog in the new direction
  4. Throw

This sweet pattern is not fast and efficient, it is slow and groovy. There is drama. Teamwork is in full display.

Crossing Demonstration with Si

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  1. Diagram on the left…are we facing the dog/drop spot, as dog comes back towards handler…..and then turn into dog. (counterclock)..right hand out…bringing the dog around, placing toss….????

    1. Actually you will be turned kind of away from the dog – facing the the Left side of the picture , as if you will begin running together when the dog arrives on the Right side. Your right hand would be trailing. As the dog arrives and starts to pass you, you simply pull them around with your rotation and outstretched arm.

      You’ll notice that the dog is in Side position here (right side of the handler) – it might be a bit further out than actual Side position, then you just scoop, match turn and he should do a rear cross.

      So funny, it’s really much, much easier to show or demonstrate than it is to write/think about…

      Glad you got it working!

    1. Your first 1 minute was a PVR Warmup. No crosses in there… It was pretty solid too… a bit tentative…

      PVR Warmup

      First 30 seconds were nice, Cassi. Way to be consequent and to pull him around with that trailing arm. At 30 seconds you used your leading arm (throwing hand) to pull him around. Notice how this position opposes the dog’s motion – you are pushing him away with your shoulders. Compare it to the ones previous to see the difference.

      At 1:04, you actually do a front cross… Donovan is on your left side facing your left hand. Then you activate your right hand for the ‘Around’ cue, he leaves the left hand/left side for the right hand/right side and is turning towards you. That’s a front cross.

      Rear Cross

      At 1:06 you pull out the Rear Cross. It’s kind of a flick move, like Andrea Rigler. It works and it looks like you’ve got it to both sides, though, so that’s cool.

      Do you notice how this doesn’t fit the ‘hand to hand’ target thing we’ve been developing in our other set up move foundation? It totally works, but it’s not the way I’d like to see it done for the continuity of our cuing system.

      I’d lose the come cue, entirely, it’s confusing him. If you look at your body language during that come cue, there is no clue as to what direction he’s supposed to go.

      1:24 – Where’s the Mark?

      1:50 – is your counter clockwise go around cue “Behind”?

      Try This

      Grab a disc in each hand and send him around. As he’s finishing his go around, scoop him with your left hand, pulling him out front away from you. Then match the disc in your right hand to your left as you push Donovan to turn left away from you.

      You can do it in the other direction as well.

      This should clear up some of that confusion around your ‘come cue’. I think I’m going to have to whip up a video on this – really hard to explain in text… coming soon…

  2. hum ok, good, yeah still a bit shaky pulling it all together! We will keep working on this!

  3. This is our learning rear-cross workout. In the beginning Blu turned towards me instead of away, but quickly she got it. We mainly had two problems. One it that she often doesn’t turn until she is very close to me trying to understand what I want. We’re not used to working in a distance. The second is that I had to call her name before ‘squib’ when she was doing the roundabout. Should I let her run forever until she gives eye contact and then ask squib?

    1. In today’s practice I noticed that Blu made a lot of eye contact while running around but still couldn’t make her stop running and turn away in time, even when she was looking at me.

    2. Alright… looks like some good work… let’s take a look here.

      Hook Up

      This outrun is beautiful, so loose and easy. The one thing that I’d like to see is you actually pulling her around, as opposed to you following the dog around the circle.

      You should be driving this motion. As is, she’s running her pattern and you are dropping the rear cross on it at the same spot each time. Not bad for learning, not bad at all, but I’m concerned that without you leading her that getting these crosses when you want them could be difficult.

      I’d also like to see you marking the moment Blu commits to the rear cross. You might be doing that, but I can’t hear it on the video.

      0:22-28 Seconds

      Rear cross to front cross, nice job. I’d like to see more deliberate hand to hand transfers (you are using 1 hand and kind of doing a flip) during this so you can really clearly communicate the movement you want to see. This is working, but I’m not sure if it’s going to generalize well. Look at the cues, they are very similar and are entirely based on your shoulder or feet/legs position. This could become an issue when you throw, because frequently when throwing handlers violate shoulder and leg position with the body position of the throw.

      0:36 Seconds

      Here, Blu is on an outrun, and we get a very good look at the border collie balance point that we were talking about earlier this week. Because Blu is on her natural outrun as opposed to an outrun that you are leading, the balance point is really strong. At about 0:35 seconds she has committed to going around again, and it will be very hard to stop or reverse her, as you can see at 0:36.

      0:44 Seconds

      Here we get a really good look at the potential problems with not using your hands or not having a strong working understanding of that transfer of value from hand to hand and depending on the body position alone to cue your flatwork. As soon as your shoulders move to the left here, Blu pulls off the outrun towards you. This winds up being a Front Cross – Blu turns towards you shifting from Heel (your left side) to Side (your right side). Your hand cue was ignored because it is not strong enough to compete with the body. This is an excellent illustration of this too.


      Here we go… I noticed that you changed Blu’s position on the field and in relationship to you when you cue the Rear cross. That’s excellent. I was just going to mention that Blu is most likely learning the context of this skill,”I go all the way around, come in and then do the Squib.

      By changing this to earlier in the outrun, you are going to help to generalize the skill for her. Super important.

      We also get a really good look at your cue. This rear cross cue should be given with your other hand, your right hand. Right now you have to turn your feet and your body on the cue. If you were scooping, matching and then turning with your other hand, the body movement would be very subtle. Using the other hand alters the position of the shoulders in a very subtle, yet unmistakeable fashion.

      Also, turning with that hand and that body just screams Front Cross.


      Nice, I’d like to see a bit more field usage and continuing generalization of Blu’s position on the field and relationship to you – you’ve thrown no discs towards the camera or behind you.

      Love the nice thoughtful work by the dog here. Really nice.


      Love the Squib (Rear Cross) to over. Super cool. Also like your movement into the over. Interesting… we’ll talk about that in class…

      If you were to turn to your right instead of to the left on your over, you would counter Blu’s movement and force a very clear and stark straight line into the over. By turning with Blu, you allow the pattern she’s running, that round circle, to continue, in fact your shoulders and lower body, push her to that direction. This will wind up a loose slow developing over.

      If you turn against the dog’s movement after the Rear Cross, you will get a very sharp, straight line, that develops very quickly and Blue will rocket towards the target.

      Again, I’m not hearing much marking of behaviors.

      end of take 1 – continued…

    3. Take 2

      Nice location…


      Really nice, your verbal cue is working well. I’d really like to see your right hand finish your cue. It would really do a much better job of stopping Blu’s movement; she runs into the pressure of your right arm. Then that pressure pushes her away as the shoulders turn in the other direction. It’s just a much cleaner and clear cue.

      Also, using the right hand to cue changes the shoulder position automagically, instead of you having to change those shoulders by moving your feet and turning in the other direction.

      The transferring of value from hand to hand makes for a subtle and nuanced cue and also really separates the Front and Rear Crosses for the dog. Right now they are bleeding together.

      Your throwing and connection with Blue is much better here Noela, really nice job. Love it!

      2:08-2:40 – Clicker?

      I hear the click, are you using a clicker? If so, you are clicking the finish of the behavior. I would try to have a history of marking the beginning, the middle and the end of the behavior.

      Marking the beginning will make the rest happen faster – mark early for action.

      Marking in the middle (1/2 way around the turn) will isolate and reinforce the finish of the turn – appropriate timing.

      Marking after, as I believe you are doing, is going to mark the finish of the behavior – it will most likely promote a bit slower performance of the skill – mark late for duration.


      Way to get both directions working at the end Noela.

      Really nice job this session. Fun, isn’t it?

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