Today, I did a couple of short sessions with Jake and Lil that focused on rear crosses. Lil tends to turn tightly, so the purpose of these sequences was to teach her that when I rear cross while continuing to drive forward, that she should turn but also continue to drive forward. With Jake, the sequences became about how NOT to pull him off tunnels. He did well with the rear crosses but did not understand to drive all the way down the line into the far tunnel entrance. He is very sensitive to changes in my acceleration and position and thus it doesn’t take much for me to pull him off a tunnel, as demonstrated at the trial last weekend and a few times during these sessions. I ran on the outside of the last 2 jumps/hoops on some reps but also tried taking the inside line a few times and he did take the correct tunnel but I could tell he was not 100% sure about it.
Another reason I am training strong forward drive with these types of rear crosses is because I think Lil has the potential to eventually do bonus lines in NADAC. A bonus line is a designated line the handler cannot cross. Its mind boggling to see a handler communicating a complex path to her dog from 80 feet away. Very few teams attempt bonus lines, and even fewer small dog teams attempt them. While I don’t know if we will even get close to being able to work at that kind of distance, its fun to consider the foundation skills necessary to do so and to begin building those types of skills with a dog who seems to enjoy working at a distance.
The sessions were super fun!