The dog is man’s best friend. More and more options are being sought to share our lives with them and keep them happy. Also, of course, various dog sports are part of this overall offer, so that the four-legged can really let off steam. A trend, whose name is not yet so long known, is the Crossdogging. So that we can make ourselves however all a picture of it, the Crossdogging is to be introduced today once, completely in detail.
What is crossdogging?
Strictly speaking, crossdogging is a circuit training, as we know it from physical education classes or various human sports. Two people are at one station. The work is done in two-minute intervals. First, it is the turn of one person to complete the given task in the best possible way within the two-minute period. The other counts the completed passes. When the two-minute period is over, the team changes. Then it goes on to the next station. In total, five stations are set up for Crossdogging. Waiting times are completely avoided in this way, because in a crossdogging team there are only these 10 teams, consisting of dog and handler.
It is important for the participants that they do not know which tasks will be set up for them until the start of the crossdogging round. The tasks will be composed from the different dog sports. Thus, there is something for every dog team: a little agility, something tricky , maybe a little trick dog or mantrailing. Exactly the participants know only if they have run through the course. No, you don’t have to break all records at every station. But you find out that there are tasks that suit you better than others, something completely normal. Despite everything, crossdogging is a lot of fun for everyone involved, at least that’s how the participants appear to the observer.
Where can crossdogging be experienced?
Crossdogging is offered in dog schools all over the country. They all receive the same tasks during the same week. Thus, within each individual dog school, but also among the dog schools, the respective score can be determined. These numbers are recorded in an online ranking. USA far in such a way the best dogs can be determined, without having to place themselves to the stress of a “genuine” competition. Participation in the ranking is voluntary. Participants who take part in crossdogging just for the fun of it are of course just as welcome as competitive teams.
How exactly do you have to imagine crossdogging?
At the beginning of each month three main topics are determined. Nobody knows beforehand from which areas of crossdogging they will come. You have to be surprised. So one month it may be carrying buckets, changing pace with constant distraction, and sitting between the handler’s legs and running. The next month, on the other hand, it may be crossing the seesaw, playing dead, and running through the hose. The “makers” of crossdogging are very resourceful in this regard and equally varied.
Now, especially in the first hour of training, it is up to the trainers not only to explain the lesson to each participant. Rather, it is a matter of teaching the participants the structure of the signals and putting together the tasks for them to train at home.
The monthly training revolves around these three main points. The weekly five stations of crossdogging also focus on them, even though only at least three of the stations need to address these topics. To best prepare for them, participants receive instructions that target these exact exercises, as well as associated homework.
How can a “circuit training” be structured?
- The trainer is solely responsible for setting up the stations.
- The explanation of the stations takes place together with the whole group at the beginning of a training session.
- Now everyone is given 15 minutes in which to go through the tasks. It is important not to ask for too much, so that everyone still has enough strength for the actual runs.
- Now comes the exciting part: Two teams meet at each station.
- The team that is initially busy with counting stands slightly away from the action station. The handler receives a score card on which he records the other team’s points at that station. He stands on the short leash of his own dog. The other team can perform the set tasks with full concentration. The time is basically stopped by the trainer himself for all together. The points are recorded by the scorekeeper. If the first team has passed the appointed time, the positions are changed and the roles are exchanged.
- Now both teams have completed the first station, so everyone moves clockwise one station further. This continues until all five stations have been completed.
- The coach receives all the score cards after the entire round is completed.
- The results of all teams that want to participate in the nationwide ranking are now entered into the online list. Because of the nationwide equal tasks this comparison is only possible.
- Remember: Participation in the ranking is and remains voluntary. Nobody is angry if you do not want to participate.
- Of course there is also the group winner of the individual dog school, no question.
For whom is crossdogging suitable?
Here we have to distinguish between dog and human. Because both must fit to the crossdogging. If one of them does not enjoy it, this project is already dead for the team.
What requirements does the human have for crossdogging?
First things first: it doesn’t matter what age the dog handler is. Young people or older children can do the exercises just as well as older people. There are tasks where the young participants have an advantage, such as when some agility is required, like squatting. Other tasks, however, will ask for experience and a certain creativity. In these tasks, the older participants have a clear advantage due to their years of experience. So both can definitely give a team the appropriate points needed to advance. In the end, however, the decisive factor is how the dog-human team works together. Thus also the dog race is not the crucial factor.
Let’s just list the decisive factors for humans:
- Curiosity; pigeonholing is not required in Crossdogging, even hindering.
- Cross-discipline thinking. If you think outside the box, you will quickly lose the fun of crossdogging.
- Come, see, do! – This could be the motto of crossdogging, as it involves, among other things, a flexible mindset and quick action.
- Empathy: Empathize with your dog so that you can fully support him to complete the tasks in the best possible way.
- Have fun: Tasks can tolerate or bring out a touch of silliness at times. Fine – because laughter keeps you healthy.
- Believing in your dog: trust your dog. Just believe that he can actually do all the tasks to the best of his ability. Then he will be able to do it.
What requirements should the dog have?
Why should not every dog also be able to do everything or at least have tried? Correct, and that is exactly why the all-rounder is sought for crossdogging. However, this cannot be found within certain breeds. It can be the Australian Sheppard as well as the Pug. Who knows exactly what is in his dog before you have tried it? The only ability that must be mandatory is the animal’s ability to communicate. It must be able to understand its handler, but also to communicate with him from his side. Everything else results then from itself.
At this point it should be reminded once again that it is important to think unconventionally if you want to deal intensively with crossdogging. Why shouldn’t a Pug be able to retrieve or run the slalom just as well as the Australian Sheppard or the Labrador?
The following characteristics will help the dog to complete the tasks quite well:
- Joy to be able to learn new things
- Eagerness to be kept busy by his human as often as possible
- The love to do something together with his human, to learn something and to go on a little adventure.
Does crossdogging benefit me and my dog?
Being different? – You’re welcome!
Whether we want to admit it or not, we associate certain abilities and attributes with every dog breed. Certain lessons he has to be able to do, while others are so out of the question for him. Or is it just our rose-colored glasses through which we often look at our four-legged friends? It is true that we have chosen exactly this dog because of the breed description and the corresponding dispositions of the dog. But STOP! In this point we commit a thinking error. Because only a part of the existing potential is actually innate. Everything else the dog can learn, if the dog is in the “right” environment. So let’s do something untypical for the breed.
Because it is fun
The demands of crossdogging are definitely something different than what you learn in dog school. And yet, they are almost always related to everyday life. So it can happen that an exercise of Crossdogging can actually be used once in an everyday situation. For the dog owner / dog handler it can be a great relief when the little four-legged friend can push the door shut with his nose. The command of Crossdogging for this would be for example “Touch the door with the nose”. What works in the game, of course, also works in everyday life.
Excitement for dog and master
There are new tasks for the team every week. Certainly not every task is equally easy. Maybe some of them are even really tricky and difficult to implement. And yet, they yield fantastic results that you would never have tackled without the challenge. No wonder, if you would have stayed in the given thought structures with your dog, you wouldn’t have dared to tackle these lessons in the first place. Even if one or the other could not be implemented perfectly, both dog and master have learned a lot. Who knows what this knowledge can be useful for again.
Some new tasks may well already be familiar. But some tasks may also require all the courage of dog and master to even approach them. So crossdogging is also about courage and confidence. Of course, at the beginning of a new exercise, the commands and approach must be practiced first. However, once this step has been mastered, the steady practice can continue. With every exercise you become more confident, dog and master as a team. And in the end, you have mastered exercises that you never even dreamed about before.
Dear dog, chill out!
Many dog owners feel that their dog is still very tense even after a long walk. Dog owners who go crossdogging with their dog do not know this situation. Because in crossdogging there is a balance between tension and relaxation during the training. No wonder, while the team acts as a scorekeeper, the dog is kept on a short leash and deliberately ignored by the owner. After all, he must concentrate on the points of the other team. Mistakes must not be made here, if possible. The dog quickly learns to use this regularly occurring break of two minutes to regenerate. Especially in the beginning this is the most difficult lesson for most dogs, to accept that the master ignores him completely. But they quickly learn that such a short break can be worth its weight in gold.
Inner peace, also in the dog
An important element of crossdogging is the starting point for each exercise. Because at the end of the same the dog is back in exactly this position. After a few rounds of the exercise, the dog has understood that it is not the error-free running through the exercise that is expected of him, but also the return to the starting position. To a position where nothing is expected of him, so that he can relax. This knowledge gives the dog peace of mind and confidence. The dog is actually able to follow this task together with the master, even to plan it in advance, and then to execute it exactly before returning to the relaxed starting position.
The inner peace, which the dog attains thereby, transfers itself also on humans and/or it can experience it likewise. So both team members benefit from this effect.
What is the league in crossdogging all about?
The league is, first of all, incidental. What is important for the friends of crossdogging is that beginners are brought together with experienced participants. The idea is to create a space where beginners can pick up a trick or two from the old hands. Conversations and practical help should be given as a matter of course. Competition – no, actually this term should not appear in the field of crossdogging. Because even if the tasks are the same for all teams. The level of difficulty is the only thing that distinguishes the beginners from the professionals. For this reason, different “classifications” are used to distinguish the different levels of difficulty.
The Study is the beginner. At this stage, the dog is still accompanied by his handler. Later, he has to do the tasks he has learned on his own, without human accompaniment. At this later stage he is sent by his master and ordered back. This advantage can be used for oneself, because the transition from the regular dog school to crossdogging can be done without any problems. Without any problems one can get a taste of the different dog sports that are combined in crossdogging. There are only a few requirements that must be met:
- The basic concepts “sit, down, stay” must already be able to be executed flawlessly.
- It should be possible for the dog to work attentively for 2 minutes at a time.
- At this time it is still allowed to lure with food.
This is the advanced level in Crossdogging. Basically, he completes the same exercises that the Study goes through. But they are already a little more difficult than those of the beginner. Also the basic requirements become more difficult now:
- The basic terms “sit, down, and stay” are still used, of course. However, compliance with distraction as well as at a distance is now expected.
- At this stage of training, the dog is taught to carry objects. These are of course adapted to the size of the dog.
- Of course, praise is still used constantly at this stage of training. However, food is no longer used to accomplish this purpose.
The Master, as he is called in crossdogging, is the professional among the crossdogging teams. In order to conquer this title, the dog-human team must already have a lot going for it. Certainly, at first glance, it may not look that hard. After all, the tasks are the same as in the Studys and the Bachelors. But these tasks are not only complex, they also have a very high degree of difficulty.
- Objects are not only carried by the profin. They are also put in the hand of the human.
- “Sit, down, stand” – of course, these commands are asked. They have to be executed no matter if the owner is visible or no matter where he is and if he looks at the dog or not.
- Objects are circled by the master dog. He has to do this even if there is food in these bowls. This must not distract him anymore!
- Tricks are also performed at a distance. This includes, for example, placing the paws on objects or picking up objects and putting them down again.
- As before, the dog is praised a lot and extensively. The food, however, remains where it belongs – in the food bowl.
The league and the ranking – how does it work?
The ranking within the league is based on different pillars that build on each other.
- The score cards: They are always distributed at the beginning of a lesson. On the card you mark in which league, Study, Bacholor or Master, you want to move. A change can only be made at the beginning of a quarter. Thus, it should be well thought out in which league one would like to be evaluated in the next three months.
- Counting: Basically, one team is “in work” while the other is busy counting. To do this, the human stands on the dog’s short leash so that the dog stays in place and can be counted in a concentrated manner. Points are totaled at the end of each run.
- VOLUNTARY: Participation in the ranking is voluntary. If a team decides not to, it is also not necessary to count its points during the run, which of course can still be done. Those who decide to participate in the ranking will have to complete the task within this league. It is irrelevant whether one has chosen the appropriate league or not.
- The trainer as a referee on site: On a weekly basis, the on-site coach will enter the points into the ranking. If an entry is forgotten, it cannot be made up. The rules are very strict here. The calculations are very specific. Even if there is a weekly winning team, only one quarterly winner is always chosen. Here, however, only those teams can participate, which are registered in the ranking at least 5 weeks. In addition, of course, internal evaluations can be made in the various dog schools.
The Crossdogging is a dog sport, which consists of different dog sport disciplines. This creates for the owner as well as for the dog a large repertoire of tasks that are practiced and expanded. Thus no boredom can arise. One grows formally together with the dog to a team.
Crossdogging is suitable for every dog and for people of every age. This brings the advantage that the older participants can share their knowledge with the younger ones or the beginners, support them on their development. And all this without competition.
Those who like to move outside set boundaries should consider crossdogging. It is the only dog sport that goes beyond disciplines and can be connected directly to the basic dog training.