The Blind Cross violates two cardinal rules of agility:
- Never take your eyes off your dog.
- Never let your dog cut around behind you.
But there are times on course when the Blind Cross is the easiest way to handle. It saves time, wear and tear on knees and ankles, and once your team is used to it, it's fun to do. I wrote an earlier post on The Blind Cross, which now that I do it regularly, and teach it, I can see how much I've learned since I wrote that.
So here are examples of when I think the Blind Cross is perfectly acceptable.
Slower dogs may also take awhile to scramble up the A-frame or See-Saw, giving the handler time to blind cross in front of the down side. Distance handlers can cut more caty-corner to the A-frame on their send (green), and have time to BC before even faster dogs gets to the down contact.
Dogs on the dog walk can hardly choose to veer off path, so H can afford to run ahead and turn their back for a second before D reaches the down contact. At least in theory. I've never tried this.
The blind cross isn't for very many situations, and may not be for some handlers. But I'm seeing more and more advanced handlers doing it routinely, and it looks elegant when well executed.
Training the Blind Cross:
Start with Flatwork.
- Whenever you take your dog for a walk, on leash, and they happen to fall behind you, cross over in front of them without turning to face them. Pass the leash behind your back to your other hand. This naturally desensitizes both you and the dog to the maneuver.
- Put them in a sit/stay or stand/stay. Cross over in front of them with your back to the dog. If they stay put, click/treat out of the hand nearest the dog. Vary it up by walking circles around the dog, clockwise, then counterclockwise, always facing forward such that sometimes you'll be walking backwards.
So the Blind Cross is coming back into favor. Dont' be shy. Give it a try! If nothing else, it's great practice being out of your comfort zone, and "thinking out of the box".
Upwards and onward!