Dog Agility Turns and Crosses

learning turns and wrapsThe only way to get around harder courses will be by employing different turns and crosses. Course designers make sure of that. Watching these harder course can be very daunting especially if you are not familiar with the harder moves. We will do our best to help differentiate them, it will be up to you to try them out and find the ones that work best for your team. Because many handling techniques in turns and crosses use the basic crosses we will cover those first.

The Front Cross is easy enough to execute by the handler allowing them to change from one side of the dog to the other and is usually done on a turn to help start or maintain the turn in the dog’s path.  In a nutshell, the handler starts off in front of the dog and crosses in front of the dog before an obstacle to encourage the dog to turn with the handler toward the obstacle.

The Rear Cross can be equally easy to execute by the handler, but it takes some practice for the dog to follow the handler’s change of sides.  It is a really nice cross to use that keeps the handler’s line shorter and allows the dog to maintain full speed. This cross requires the dog to be in front of the handler so the handler can cross to the rear of the dog.

The Post Turn is used to turn a dog with the dog staying on the same side of the handler throughout the turn. The handler remains in the same location on the course and pivots about that location. It is frequently used on simple pinwheels.

The Blind Cross is a harder cross as the handler crosses in front of his dog but instead of turning to face the dog, the handler changes sides with his back to the dog.  The change of sides is done in front of the dog and requires a dog that does not need constant supervision.

The Tandem Turn is where the dog turns away from the handler between obstacles to a new line that puts the dog on the other side of the handler as both dog and handler turn the same direction. In essence, it looks like both are doing a u-turn.

The Lap Turn starts by the dog coming towards the handler. The handler uses their arm to turn the dog away. After the turn the lines of the dog and handler are again going to parallel direction.

Now for the harder maneuvers starting with the Ketschker Turn or Ass Pass which is a Reverse Front Cross to Blind Cross. It is a combination maneuver where the handler cues a front cross at an obstacle, and then as the dog commits to the obstacle, executes a blind cross and primarily used to get a tight wrap around a jump using the hand closet to the dog.

The Jaakko Turn the dog wraps the wing behind the handlers back and returns to the same side of the handler as the approach and the guiding arm doesn’t change.  The Jaakko mainly differs from the Ketschker in that the handler throws the dog across their body forward to cue the wrap while in the Ketschker the handler rocks their body backward to cue the wrap.

The German Turn used in a S pattern on a jump. The dog takes the jump from behind the handler. After the dog has landed the handler performs a blind cross.

The Double Lap Turn is as the name implies. It is one lap turn followed immediately by a second lap turn to create a wrap on a jump where the dog does a 360 around the jump standard with the dog going between the handler and the standard.

Not an exhaustive list of all the turns and wraps, but a great start for you to get practicing on. Even if you never plan on competing on a higher level, it is great to further your level of communication with your dog by finding new challenges to overcome.