27 September 2011

A very special Team Small Dog review of Daisy's Peel's Blind Cross Video, "Look Back".

Daisy Peel, bold and intrepid blind crosser and big huge world champion of dog agility, asked me to review her new video on Blind Crosses. This is an exciting and daunting subject for me, mostly because I have never, ever tried a blind cross. Our leader, my dog agility boyfriend Robert Downey Jr, has explained to us for many years the horrible dangers and pitfalls of the no-go zone. Letting your dog see your hiney causes cancer, fibromyalgia, flicks, meth addiction, and lots of naughty trips into the wrong side of the tunnel during Snooker. I have been many times tempted, but always chickened out.

I thought this would be a cool new thing to try though. Maybe not with Gustavo of the sensitive constitution, but me and Otterpop, we could go for something new and dangerous. Wait til you see the trailer for the video. Daisy's blind crosses look scary and insanely dangerous. We like dangerous, I got sucked in right away. Sort of like when the Crocodile Hunter, RIP, would roll up his sleeves and go after some kind of scaley, fanged animal in the bush. He didn't come out alive, but Daisy's doing all right. And me and Otterpop, we have dabbled in the dark arts before in the quest of her Jedi Master of Gambling Title. I think this is something we could try.

So blind crossing it will be. A new project. I mean, what's the worst that can happen? South Dakota goes out in a blaze of firestorm and the polar icecaps ooze 14% more quickly into the sea causing Finland to lose a beach? Our nation delves deeper into the worldwide recession and fossil fuels shrink away leaving us with no more plastics, facebook, combustion engines or genetically modified fertilizers? Hell. Bring it on.

Daisy, who I believe leans towards more the more Mecklenbergian side of the political spectrum, has no issues with her dog knowingly running behind her ass. She does advocates for this only happening on special occasions, however. The whole video is all about teaching this responsibly, as a skill. Kind of like, ok kids. Drinking can lead to bad things. Car wrecks, life crippling alcoholism; everyone knows wine before beer, das is fear. But if you follow these instructions for cocktail mixing, the impeccable gin and tonic with a designated driver can be your key to the city. City of bars. Blind crosses. You get what I mean.

Also, Daisy is totally fearless. A whole video featuring many shots of her shapely booty skorted ass! But no hotpants. Which you would sort of think would go hand in hand. Blind crosses, hotpants, maybe even worn with boots. Very west coast summer 2011, but noticeably absent in "Look Back."

Daisy starts out the video speaking to us from the forest. It looks a bit like one of our forests. Her dogs are all good dogs, laying there all quiet at her feet while she softly tells us about blind crossing. She is subtle and has real nice eyebrows, like pixie eyebrows. I'd like eyebrows like that. You watch her run like a bat out of hell in the video, then she is murmuring under trees in the woods. None of her dogs ever once jumps up to snatch a quail mid air out of the bushes or just flat out run away. This lends most excellent credibility to her mad dog training skilz.

So there's 3 types of Blind Crosses. Who knew?

Number 1 is the crazy insane send your dog behind your ass waving your evil arm then arm changing. Before watching the video, I couldn't even explain this to you. But it gets Daisy on helluva tight turn. Just get the video. My god. I had no idea.

Next kind, the Number 2 kind. I understand some words from my rules - decel and shoulder rotation - except here they are in a totally voodoo context. I'm going to call this kind of Blind Cross the somewhat sneaky kind.

Number 3: The no turning cue kind. This one looks really rad and dangerous. Your dog is on a straight line and you are running your ass off ahead of them and they see your butt as you cross their path. Sort of like a reverse rear cross on a straight line? Holy smokes. Nobody show my boyfriend this video.

So to teach them, she starts out showing us how to teach Side Cues. They look like dance moves! They'd probably work on Dancing With the Stars. Don't let this scare you though, because you can practice Side Cues with trees before you teach it to your dog. Once you have the trees Side Cueing, then you teach it to your dog. The way Daisy teaches it on the flat and over jumps makes perfect sense. We get side cues. I went outside and taught a bunch of trees how to do this right away. Once I got good at the trees, I showed Otterpop how to do them at the beach. I think even Robert Downey Jr. wouldn't mind this so much.

I mean, don't tell him, or his family that I'm trying them though, OK? It's a surprise.

Once Daisy starts doing sequencing, it was a relief to see my old friend front cross show up. And decel. She is speaking our language. But then we see it. The tricky bit of where a blind cross could be your friend, and dark art or not, a nifty little party trick, especially the Number 2 kind. And the crazy Number 1's are demystified! Ooh and the fast running of Number 3's! I see the light. We see a front cross make her dog land on his face, and then she blind crosses it, and tight, tight tight. I'm not going to explain it. You watch the video instead. You will see.

Also Daisy does announce some of the dangerousness of them. If you have a Gustavo type dog at home, she flat out says, maybe you stick with the fronts and rears. And I think if you are not a fast runner, you there could be consequences. But if you have the braveness, you can get ahead of your dog, and you're ready for some new skills, this might be a fun thing for you to try. I'll let you know how it goes, I haven't had time to progress past teaching them to the trees. If you're ready to learn, visit Daisy's website, and download your own copy of the video.

Let me know how it goes! And tell Daisy I sent you.


Anonymous said...

I have a dog sorta like the Gustavo and he really enjoys the blind crosses (or looking at my ass)...

You never know until you try. Just sayin...


team small dog said...

With Gustavo, I've worked so long and hard at being perfectly consistent in my handling to keep him not confused, and still sometimes he throws in his own blind cross all on his own, usually when a tunnel tempts him. So I am gonna probably steer clear of these until he feels more trained...he might like them very much-too much!

Cedarfield said...

I wonder if these are any different than the ones Nancy Gyes used to teach?
We did some of these at a recent MEB seminar and I liked them because they meant I could stay facing the course and not get disoriented spinning around in space. Plus, for little dogs where you sometimes run out of room when doing rears, they are a great alternative and get you moving back up the line tout de suite (practicing my French for when I get to see Daisy and other handlers doing some kick ass agility).

Jodi, eh? said...

I did one in practise the other day while training with a famous Czech handler. My dog didn't know what I was doing and bumped into me as I wasn't fast enough, my Canadian trainer was outraged and I'll probably never do one again. At least I can say I once tried one. Hilarious blog.

Elizabeth said...

As a devout follower of ...errhm Robert Downey Jr we also never blind cross. At least not on purpose.

There are times when we accidentally break the first rule of Robert Downey Jr's handling system. Never take your eye off the dog, and a blind cross just happens.

That thought process usually involves:

Oh crud, where's my dog? I swear he was there just a second ago. But I had to forget the course and spend several seconds trying to read numbers while running. I really need to learn to memorize courses better...

OH NO HE'S RIGHT BEHIND ME. Now we will collide in a spectacular fashion and I will slip and fall flat on my ten pound dog, and everyone in the audience will make the gasp noise they save for dogs that jump off the top of the A-frame or border collies that take the double sideways. But only it will be worse because I'll have a squished dog and there will be no more agility. And he'll have to get a little cart, and we'll have to do the little chariot races they always have at dachshund meet ups, or like APDT rally, they allow cart dogs right?

Oh thank g-d we didn't collide! But now I've completely forgotten the course. And my dog looks irritated, and like maybe barking at the judge is a much better plan than following this lady who obviously doesn't know where she's going or what she wants.

So in summary we stay away from the blind crosses because of our fear of APDT Rally trials.

maryclover said...

Come to the Dark Side...we have cookies. Many years ago, with my very slow TT, a used-to-be-famous handler/instructor told me I was a natural at the blind cross - HORROR said my kinda RDJ instructors. Flash forward to me with a herding breed who thought blind crosses were the bomb whether or not I planned them. Ooops could my instructors have been right and the error of my past life was biting me in the proverbial blind cross zone? Flash even farther forward to lessons with a certain Euro famous instructor who is all about the blind cross (is your head spinning yet). I have come full circle. Wow! They sure are cool, fun and effective when you use them correctly, but they can also bite you in the zone if you don't know what you are doing. I will continue to explore them with my resilient partner.

Thanks for the review. I might just have to download Daisy's video.

Unknown said...

Nice review Laura! I was already gonna purchase the video but now I'll be doing it sooner :) Go team small dog :)

liz said...

Forest and I live on the edge and risk the blind cross sometimes. Usually at tunnels, once in a while when just jumps are involved. I promise you, no one had yet spontaneously combusted upon completion.

For me and my sometimes demotivated dearest dog, the blind cross pulls him along, keeping him happily motoring onward. I use them judiciously to keep things kosher, but I have to say I am a fan. I used one in Snooker last week and it helped me solve an agonizing potential back-jump puzzle. Ending in Q success!

It sounds like we only know the number three kind I had no idea there were so many...

Daisy said...

I love your review, it's better than the video itself, I think! ;)

I wasn't doing agility when blind crosses were first en vogue, but I suspect that my information is nothing new - after all, really, once you get over the 'taboo' quality that blind crosses have garnered for some reason, there's really nothing all that sexy about them...in fact, I was consciously trying to, shall we say, DEsex the blind cross... :)

Anonymous said...

They are great eyebrows aren't they? I covet them myself.

Dogskills in the Catskills said...

LOL! Very special review. But I do believe it would be "Mecklenburgian". ;-)