Ron Watson | Squib – Rear Cross

Dog Gets in Front of Handler and Turns Away to Switch Working Sides

the rear cross can be used as kind of a remote Around – like an Around but out there…

Keys to the Trick:

  1. It is a Turn, Not a Twist
  2. Switch Working Sides
  3. Remote Around
  4. Throw the Line
  5. Send THEN Bend
  6. Strong and Weak Flank Bias

It’s a Turn, Not a Twist

the Rear Cross is a switch of working sides or of working direction. if the dog always comes in to the handler after a Rear Cross (Squib) this turn will become a spin/twist, and the change of sides/direction never happens.

There is nothing wrong with throwing a spin or a twist out there while your dog is moving. But it might be wrong to call that move a Rear Cross or to believe that it demonstrates strong flatwork. Having the ability to both spin and twist your dog on their line and Rear Cross them and smoothly change their line is pretty useful.

To keep your Rear Cross from getting twisty or skinny, simply do the skill and throw the disc so the dog turns smoothly rather than skid or spin out changing directions to go get the disc.

Switch Working Sides – Clock and Counter Flanks

using the Rear Cross to switch sides with purpose is pretty bad ass. the handler looks like a Boss and the dog looks like a smart, well schooled athlete doing their job. be sure to work both ways and deliver throws with resonant spins.

Be sure to change flanks and work both flanks. Once you’ve got the turn, make your throws with Resonant spins – clock throws go clock and counter throws go counter. Make those throws to reinforce the intensity of the turn and the line coming out of it.

If your dog is turning beautifully and follow you, lead them around, repeat the Rear Cross. Be sure to work both directions if you can and play with you, your dog’s, and the team’s movement.

Generally speaking, when working the Rear Cross you don’t want to be in a rush to throw. Take your time. Pull the dog… push the dog – you can move and push the dog out after the turn.

Remote Around – Go Around – Out There >>

take a look at the picture and imagine Loot is going around his handler. the Rear Cross is essentially a Go Around around an imaginary object out there. it’s a terrific Flatwork skill for timing, leaping, and smooth Team Movement.

I love to use the Rear Cross as a “Remote Around”. When your dog is turning in the Rear Cross and following the handler this skill functions completely as an Around at whatever distance and angle we pull the move at.

The Around is a special move because it creates timing and connection. To create this same thing on the run, under control, and as a team is pretty bad ass Team Movement. Flatwork AND Flow…

Throw the Line

when learning, tuning, or maintaining the Rear Cross as a Flatwork skill it might be necessary to very clearly use Reward Placement to carve and shape the dog’s line and to maintain or shape the curving nature of that turn.

I know, earlier we talked about not throwing right away. That’s more of a guideline rather than a rule.

You will want to use your throw to pull the dog out of the turn in the direction and at an intensity you desire. It is very easy to get the dog to alter a line if they are chasing a disc. Do good work here. Explore this. Shape round turns and flip the dog from clock to counter without spinning or twisting.

3-5 well placed “cookies” can change a pattern and change behavior. This throwing the line thing can be combined with Posing to enhance connection as well.

Send THEN Bend

not sending the dog before trying to turn the Rear Cross is the number one reason for refusals on this skill. well papered-over weak skills that happen in training are likely to fail in a competitive or show environment.

Make sure you send your dog forward before trying to turn. The little twisty hand gesture without the send is not delivering any relevant information to the dog it is simply relying on how well you taught the skill in the first place and how well your likely reward placement resonates with the intensity and direction of this move at this moment in time.

Sending the dog puts the dog slightly out of position. The only way to stay hooked up is to turn away from the handler. Without the Send, the dog can turn in either direction and “stay connected” with the handler. This will almost always lead to a Front Cross because the dog wants to watch the handler and the cookie.

Send the dog THEN bend the dog for the Cross.

Strong and Weak Flank Bias

changing from the Weak Flank to the Strong Flank with the Rear Cross is nearly automagic. changing from Strong to Weak can be quite the challenge. recognize this and use clear cuing, marking and Reward Placement to your advantage.

Do you know your dog’s Strong Flank?

Moving to the Strong Flank is like gravity or a magnet. The dog just wants to be there. If you’re on the Weak Flank a Rear Cross to the Strong should be rather easy.

Moving from the Strong Flank to the Weak can be very difficult especially with a pushy dog. Use Reward Placement, with actual food cookies and with discs, to reinforce the skill moving to the Weak Flank. Place extra value out there.

Marking the following of the hand to hand transfer in the Rear Cross and reinforcing with good reward placement can be helpful for reinforcing the Strong to Weak Rear Cross.

A good verbal followed by clearly sending your dog, matching your discs (cookies), and turning the dog is also super important for not only the Strong to Weak Rear Cross but also for general control and connection via Team Movement.