Ron Watson | Front Cross

The Most Important Trick in DiscDog and Dog Sports

the Front Cross is, perhaps, the most important skill in Dog Frisbee. it certainly is the most utilized. whether it is set up, flatwork, or sequencing, the Front Cross is a key to DiscDog competence.

A Big Front Cross / Flatwork Playlist…

Keys to the Trick:

  1. Know that it is in Everything
  2. Push | Pull | Block
  3. Match at the Dog
  4. Handler Makes It Happen
  5. Foundation Foundation Foundation
  6. Front Cross as Trigger

The Front Cross is Literally Everywhere

the Front Cross is used for Posing, Set Up, Flips, transitions, Vaulting, Overs, as a Trigger, and as a Flatwork tool. you only need 1 skill to move a disc dog and that is a Front Cross.

The Front Cross, as a discrete skill, is in just about every single thing we do with a dog and movement. And while it isn’t the full skill, an actual change of working sides, the Front Cross dynamics and mechanics are involved in the most mundane of Team Movements.

Posing in Basic Standing Position (BSP)? Standing there in traditional disc dog ready position? You Front Crossed to stop the dog. If the line up wasn’t perfect, you finagled the dog’s angle using a Front Cross.

Are you good at Back and Leg Vaults? Then you’re doing a good job on the Front Cross. If you’re struggling with getting hooked up with the dog or are always rushed, the Front Cross would be a helpful skill.

Push | Pull Block – Not Necessarily In that Order

the Front Cross is a balancing act of Pressure. the handler is pulling the dog, Pushing the Dog, or Blocking the dog with pressure from position and movement. the dog wants to be in Front of the handler.

The Front Cross is an elastic skill. This is most easily felt in cookie work or in close disc work when you are lining your dog up using your movement and the cookie/target position. That elastic, rubber-bandy kind of connection that happens. That is pulling, blocking, pushing, and going neutral.

The same thing is happening in big sweeping Flatwork far away from you, and it feels and acts the same. You’re pulling the dog, you’re switching directions, blocking, then pushing… Pay attention to that feeling and those mechanics when working your dog.

Switch Deliberately On the Dog’s Face

transfer value and movement from hand to hand directly on the dog’s face and in the dog’s direction. make it super simple to see the Line change and to shift to the other hand signal and flank.

This image in the card was selected for a reason. The deliberate pointing at the dog with both hands – this is the moment I am shifting from flank to flank. You can’t tell which direction we’re going to go, and neither can the dog. This is the middle, undeclared point. The dog is watching me to see where we are going to go.

From here the hand that attracts the dog’s attention will be followed if (we’ve done our foundation). Having a clear and direct signal right at the dog’s face of matching and switching rehashes our foundation and delivers completely clear communication of where we’re going.

Handler Facilitates the Front Cross

there is no need for the dog to change direction at all for a Front Cross to happen. movement from the handler alone is all that is required. subtle shifts of pressure are often hidden front crosses.

The dog does not need to move or change direction at all. Watch this video of the Handler Facilitated Front Cross:

The dog need not move at all to have changed working sides. Learn to work these angles and create movement without asking too much from the dog.

Teach the Dog to Follow the Handler

to be successful Dog, Handler, and Team all need to know what their roles are in the Front Cross. it is the handler’s role to read the dog and take the initiative. it is the Dog’s job to follow the Handler. this is a Team.

Establishing strong Flatwork and Team Movement skills from the get go using cookies is really critical. The dog needs to follow the handler, not run where he thinks things are gonna happen.

Handler leads, the dog follows. The Front Cross gives you the opportunity to prove that and the experience making it happen.

Front Cross as Trigger

the Front Cross is THE Trigger for sequencing and tricks. most all tricks and transitions start and/or are triggered by the Front Cross. it is a ubiquitous Trigger.

A Trigger is the actual thing that makes a skill happen. Identifying it and leveraging it is key to rapidly developing and deploying sequences, like Jam in a Flash Stuff.

The Front Cross is a Trigger for many skills, many of your skills are triggered with a Front Cross. The Front Cross is a common unintentional Drop cue. The list goes on and on…

I use a Front Cross as a trigger for all of my moving vaults, Jakies, directional changes, and set ups into Front Position. You do too. Recognize this and leverage it to your advantage for Better Team Movement.