Next to right and left side heeling, side changes are going to be one of the most important things you work on for the Versatility class. There are 7 side change exercises in Versatility however the fact that they must be performed from either side means there are actually 14 side change exercises.
In a Versatility course, there must be 4 side changes and in a Versatility Excellent course, there must be 3 side changes.
The side changes do not appear at any other level, therefore these exercises will be brand new to both you and your dog and you will need to invest some time learning a few foundation behaviors with your dog before moving on to the complete side change exercises.
Below I will cover the basic things you need to know about side changes and, for simplicity’s sake; I’ll divide side changes into two categories:
HEELING (IN MOTION) SIDE CHANGES
Cross in Front (V5)
While heeling forward, the handler cues the dog to cross in front and resume heel position on the opposite side of the handler.
Cross Behind (V4)
While heeling forward, the handler cues the dog to cross behind and resume heel position on the opposite side of the handler.
Weave Thru Legs (V7)
While heeling forward, the handler cues the dog to weave through his/her legs to change sides. Handlers who are not comfortable with performing this station due to the large size of their dog, or handlers who are physically challenged, shall make this known to the judge and the judge shall substitute this station with either V4 or V5.
CHANGE OF DIRECTION SIDE CHANGES
Turn In (V1)
The dog and handler simultaneously turn in towards each other and resume heeling with the dog on the opposite of the original side. This station will result in a change of direction of travel for the dog and handler.
Turn Away (V6)
While heeling forward, the dog and handler perform simultaneous turns in opposite directions and the dog resumes heel position on the opposite side of the handler. This station will result in a change of direction of travel.
Side by Side Left (V2)
The dog and handler perform simultaneous parallel left turns and resume heeling with the dog on the opposite of the original side. This station will result in a change of direction of travel for the dog and handler.
Side by Side Right (V3)
The dog and handler perform parallel simultaneous right turns and resume heeling. This station will result in a change of direction of travel for the dog and handler.
SIDE CHANGE SCORING
- -3 to -5 points: Depending on how smoothly (or not) the side change is performed.
- NQs for this exercise are not specified and will depend on the judge’s interpretation of the rules.
FOUNDATION BEHAVIOURS FOR SIDE CHANGES
The foundation behaviors your dog should be able to perform before you begin to teach the side changes are:
- Sit or Stand – in heel position on both right and left sides.
- Spin & Turn – in front of, to the right and to the left of the handler’s body.
- Weave Through Legs – when the handler is stationary.
- Hand Touch/Target Stick – optional, but can come in handy with particularly large or small dogs – or dogs that lose their minds at the sight of food.
2 thoughts on “CARO Versatility Side Changes – With Videos”
Cool videos. Very helpful. I didn’t know you can do at front cross like that on exercise #V5 in rally. I was doing it differently but the results were about the same, I like your way better. The dog ends up in heel position quicker.
Phyllis, I have always done #5 this way but there is a variation where you send your dog ahead of you and catch up on the other side. In agility this would be a rear cross, just on the flat.
I like the circle/pivot option because it allows me to keep in contact wth Bear who can drift a bit.
I have a feeling the ‘rear cross’ variation would be more sucessful with a smaller dog because they would not need to move out ahead as much.