a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Rear Crossing Tunnels

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Rear Crossing Tunnels

SUMMARY: Trying to fix Boost's problem again.

Boost has never seemed to figure out rear crosses on tunnels. (That's where I send her into a tunnel and cross behind her, so that she needs to come out aware that I have changed sides.) She always turns towards the side I originally started on.

I've tried tackling this before, with a greatly shortened tunnel, running into the rear cross from different angles, tried starting from different distances from the tunnel to give more or less space for me to cross before she went completely in, tried being quiet, tried yelling her name, tried yelling "left" or "right" just so she could take the hint, tried doing exactly the same thing over and over to see whether she'd figure out that when I did XYZ, I always ended up on the opposite side... but no, I could do it 10 times (as an experiment) and every time she turned to the original side. So much for dogs figuring things out by repetition.

This weekend, what I finally hit on that seems to have some response is this: run straight down one side of the tunnel (parallel to the dog as she goes into the tunnel and runs through it), and she turns towards me. Repeat. Run straight down the other side of the tunnel, and she turns towards me. Repeat. NOW try a blatant rear cross, and she catches it. I've tried a few combinations of that sequence, and she seems to get the rear cross by comparison with running straight.

But if I go off and do a sequence of obstacles leading into a rear cross, boom, she's turning the wrong way coming out again.

Will have to research this a bit more. It's just very odd to me. Obviously some cue that I think that she should be getting that she isn't, or doesn't understand what it means, or that I give in different situations that means something different and I don't realize it. Maybe later this week I'll get out the video camera and try taping some sequences.


  1. Hi Ellen,

    Moe tells me that if my dog doesn't see me do the cross BEFORE she goes into the tunnel, she is going to assume I'm on the same side. So I've learned to cross behind early on tunnels. Also, I call when I think Fin is half way and that helps her.

    Don't know if that will help, but rear crosses are my bane of existence. I never really had to do them with Taz so it is a whole new world with the Finster.

    Good luck.

  2. If I cut too early, I pull her right off the tunnel. It might just be timing, but I'm not sure, because I can't seem to find the spot between pulling her off the tunnel and her not realizing I've changed sides.

  3. (And as I noted, calling doesn't seem to help.)