Reverse flow pivots, judge’s briefings and body magnet positions. Canine Agility is so diverse in terms, one may wish for a glossary just to understand the flow of a Trials course! Yet another skill to learn and commit to memory in the quest to become a great dog/handler Agility duo is the layered front cross.
To understand the layered front cross, one must first know the front cross, which is the foundation for a number of Agility handling skills. The purpose of the front cross is to effectively move the handler from one side of the dog to the other, without disrupting the dog’s movement. Common uses of the front cross are to change the dog’s lead leg, or to initiate a turn. To begin the front cross, the handler will pivot in front of the dog (always face-to-face, never turning his/her back) and position him or herself on the dog’s opposite side. This is intended to be a quick maneuver, so a poorly executed front cross may result in collision with the dog.
A layered front cross follows the same principle, however the cross is initiated when the dog sets up for a jump. An easy way to visualize this maneuver is to consider two jumps positioned next to one another that will require the dog to make an 180o degree turn after the first jump to complete the second. A layered front cross can be used here to guide the dog into the jump and also block the dog from approaching an incorrect obstacle after the second jump is completed. The dog and handler will approach the first jump with the handler on the right side of the dog. Once the dog commits to the first jump, the handler will position him or herself on the landing side of the second jump. The handler’s body position will cause the dog to turn and keep him on course to complete the jump.
The front cross and layered front cross are two skills every Agility handler should have in his or her arsenal. These maneuvers help the handler position the dog to execute difficult turns, and are also effective for obstacle discrimination. Mastering these movements sets the groundwork for future success!