04 May 2010

Blind Cross-the gateway move that you were warned about that leads to the hardcore stuff.

So we were out there walking a course the other day, and there was this bit of a tricky turn from a tunnel to an a-frame. It either necessitated a super speedy front cross or a weirdo over the toenails rear cross to the a-frame. One of those hairy eyeball turns. Um, my non dog agility friends, you are probably not going to like this story. But I should explain to you, before every run we do at a dog show, we all go out there and stumble around together pretending we are running really fast with our dogs. We point and mutter. Some people talk to invisible dogs. Some people pretend they ARE dogs. From a distance, we look like the undead, slowly shambling through a miniature golf course, preparing to tear drunk golfers on first dates limb from limb and feast on brains. Except we're wearing moisture wicking synthetic fabrics and sun hats.

Being incredibly focused and serious agility handlers, we all always walk our courses with our ipods on playing inspirational songs and never crack a smile and think about very serious things. Like how to execute good turns and perhaps at the same time we figure out how to get the oil out of the ocean down there where the offshore rig blew up and initiate health care reform.

Ha. I try to memorize, plan, and not let lunch thoughts creep in. I can tend to chit chat some. Or worry about if I have visible panty line. On this particular course, I respectfully requested from some of my fellow competitors a bit of handling advice.

Like this. "Hey you GUYS! How do we DO THIS?!?"

I say stuff like that a lot. I have focus issues in dog agility. Many of my agility pals are used to this and just readily hand me over their snooker or gamblers plans.

So one of my agility pals out there, and not naming names but he is taller than me and has a really fast dog with her own little personal dog treat cooler and I think was wearing a purple shirt that day, he's all, "Oh, just do a blind cross, Laura."

OMG. There was this hush.

I'm all, "GET OUT! You aren't doing a blind cross there??"

He's all, "Sure I am. It's easy."

I should note this particular agility pal flies to fancy dog shows in Europe and stuff and always wins. He sees stuff like this all the time.

My jaw dropped. "Greg Derrett says we shouldn't do this!"

At this point, my friend Wendy rushes over. "Laura Don't DO IT! What would Laura say?" Meaning the other Laura, that actual Mrs. Greg Derrett who has personally tried to instill these rules in me. Wendy cares about me. She knows I have invested a good many years in Keeping the Dog Out of the No Go Zone. She sees me teetering on the brink here. Because after the first one, the next one would be so easy. And the next. And the next. A slippery slope to no good.

The crack dealer is all, "Oh, in Europe and UKA they do them all the time." And he should know. He's in dog shows with those guys. Total peer pressure.

Mayhem breaks loose. There is discussion. The other Laura out there walking thinks I should try it. She's not married to any Derretts, but I sure as heck have never seen her put in a blind cross. She is one of those super rad front crossers. Or wait. Maybe she told me not to. It's all a blur now. Some people are trying to walk the course and don't care about the fact that I am teetering on a moral dilemma here. There maybe have been a glare. A snort. I take a short poll. "Who is trying a blind cross?"

Aghast stares. I am also blocking the tunnel. I give it a little practice run. It feels good. But so wrong. In a deliriously, rebellious way.

My non dog agility friend, perhaps the one that is still out there at this point, in a blind cross, your dog would see your ass for a moment, which is something we generally never, ever want to happen. Visible panty line and all that. But the hope being, on this particular one, handlers with nice fast running speediness could beat their dogs out of the tunnel and to a better position for an a-frame and the dog would never know what they almost just saw. I know. A lot of broohaha over WHAT?

The class starts. It was pairs. I haven't run pairs with Otterpop since 2008. It's just so short. But I recently noticed a glitch in my record keeping that meant Otterpop was missing an important pairs Q so I added one on to her already overloaded schedule, hoping to run it once and just once and be done with pairs for good. We sat there in the shade and watched a few runs. A lot of poorly timed, bone crushing front crosses. Some scarey a-frames from crummy rear crosses. Gnarly! Our judge had designed such lovely courses all day, then thrown in this little doozy of a corner almost at quittin' time.

Wait! A blind cross! Not naming names, but it's by someone you would NEVER think would put a blind cross in. A very solid, consistent, long time competitor. Get out of town! I look at one of my friends, eyes wide.

Someone says, "So are you gonna do it?"

My friend Wendy is still shaking her head. "You can't!" She's about ready to stage an intervention. Wendy is a very good agility pal.

Is this like a cliff hanger? Anyone still left?

To be Continued.


brittany said...

Clinging by a daisy root!

Dawn said...

Our instructor taught us blind crosses, just for situations like this one. I hope you went for it! I am betting it was extremely successful.

Anonymous said...

well, if you completed your blind cross while the dog is in the tunnel, it wouldn't be a blind cross because the dog can't see it. for all the dog knows, you could have been fast enough to do a nice fc... when it comes to tunnels, my sense of self preservation kicks in. it must be a proven scientific fact that dogs exit tunnels 10x faster than they run any other time.
so, no going past the tunnel unless i am 110% sure i will be ahead of my dog. and if i can be ahead of my dog, i can fc. unsure what to do? go with the across the feet rear.
and if you did the bc, and got away with it, how much more likely will it be that you will try it again?
kinda like heroin, you know you should never do it, but it feels good, and you didn't die.
don't desert your agility boyfriend greg and his other laura!!!

Elayne said...

If you do the blind cross and the dog doesn't see it is it still a blind cross? You know, like if a tree falls in the forest and nobody hears it sort of thing?

I would totally do a blind cross if I thought it was appropriate. But I do them on the downsides of A-frames sometimes so maybe you shouldn't listen to me.

Marilynn said...

OMG - Pleeze tell us the rest before I die a slow death of angst because of unfulfilled story ending-ness. You are a hoot, Ms. Laura.

maryclover said...

OMG this is hilarious! I took my young dog to a seminar a couple of weeks ago and the instructor (who also goes to Europe a lot) set up a course with a tricky weave entry. You could rear cross the weaves (not quite in my young dog's toolbox) or blind cross the JUMP before the weaves. It is indeed a slippery slope, but it feels soooooo good, and it worked so well. Babydog got the entrance perfectly and never thought twice about me crossing in front of her. I bet the purple shirt wearing tall guy has the same kind of dog that I do (and much longer legs).

Amanda said...

I'm with Elayne. It doesn't count if the dog doesn't see you! And yes, I have also done them at the bottoms of A-frames. I have a very daring friend that occasionally does them between jumps and contacts. Come over to the dark side!

call us team low drive said...

LOL, can't wait to hear what happened! I know it's appalling but I am the blind cross queen...my dog loves them...speeds him up. Yeah, I know, not exactly small-fast-kick-yer-ass-going-to-nationals, but we have a lot of fun anyway. Hope you slipped in that blind cross and had a nice clean run!

debbie in socal said...

Just do what works for you at any particular time. Blind crosses are just another tool in the box. No one way is always the best. 'Systems' are meant to be broken...rebel!!

Amy Carlson said...

I am with brittany, but I've grasped the violet root, since she already grabbed the daisy!

Anonymous said...

You know why doing the blind cross would be a bad idea? Only the dog in the blind cross picture has teeth! Don't do it! >.<


team small dog said...

Silvia Trkman tells me run faster, Mrs. Derrett tells me turn better. Oh, the quandry.

Anonymous said...

...isn't that called a "DOUBLE BLIND" where you do a blind cross and the dog doesn't see it??