We’ve been talking about Unsolicited Eye Contact, aka Unsolicited eye contact or Attention is a great way to hook up with a dog. If you have something the dog wants he should give eye contact in order to get access to it. This quickly becomes akin to asking permission for things that the dog wants. If your dog offers Attention when they see something they want, most dog..., over the last week. Most of the time we’re talking about it in the context of a game of disc, and this is what it looks like.
Eye contact in the presence of a disc earns the opportunity to bite the disc. It’s brutally simple and effective for keeping dogs off of the handler and for helping them understand when it’s acceptable to bite. Along with the much needed patience aspect of the Attention behavior, we also get to make looking at the handler a super cool experience, something that the dog looks forward to happening. This is a huge deal for many teams, as there are more than a few disc dogs out there who don’t even know their handler is there, much less look at them.
When the dog has a history of looking at the handler and having awesome things happen, the dog looks at the handler more frequently. If our dog is actively looking at us we’re in a better position to hook up as a team.
The second portion of this quick video is just a bit of Bitework is an activity or a game that consists of biting and dropping a toy on cue. Cued Bites and cued Drops (and Gives) can be used to teach and reinforce many behaviors. Bitework is the framework to use to create a high rate of reinforcement and the repetition necessary to teach and hone skills. There are 3 rules in... with the focus placed on the Drop behavior. The dog is biting and dropping, over and over. The A cued Drop, or Drop for short, means that you tell your dog when to drop, purposefully, and upon your discretion. A cued Drop is a must in the game of disc in order to maximize training opportunities, create a flexible game and controlled game, and for Disc Management. It also becomes a Secondary Reinforcer. The Drop is different from... becomes valuable because of it’s prediction of Bite. Essentially what we want to do is to teach the dog that the cued Drop makes the Bite happen.
When the dog believes that the cued Drop makes the Bite happen, the dog will spit out the disc on cue.
The really cool aspect of this drill is that these two behaviors, dropping a disc and looking at the handler, become Secondary Reinforcers because of their relationship to the Bite and the awesomeness of the Bitework game. The cued Drop allows the Bite and Tug to happen. Offered Eye Contact also makes good things happen.
The Give is a retrieve to the hand. A cued Give is a foundational skill that is not super useful in the actual performance of disc dog freestyle, and has huge applications for training and skills development . A Give is distinctly different from a Drop because of the localized nature of the skill. Give only happens in the hand,... it a shot. If you have Attention for Cookies, this is no different. Same drill. Treat your discs like cookies. If you don’t have Attention, here’s how:
- Waiting on cue and situationally is extremely important for disc dog freestyle training. The competition field might not see too much waiting going on as everything is supposed to be happening in flow, but on the training field there probably is not a more important skill than a Wait. A Wait is critical for flipping and vaulting.... for your dog to give you Eye Contact…
- Short for “Positive Marker”, a Mark is a word or signal given at the exact moment a desired behavior is performed. It’s like a clicker. Mark can also mean the act of marking behaviors. “Did you Mark that?” asks if the positive marker was given to tell the dog he was correct. When playing disc it is important to Mark... it and reward with a Bite, The Roller is a great throw for reinforcing a dog with a disc. Instead of flying through the air like a wing, the Roller rolls on the ground like a wheel; a fast, bouncy, super exciting wheel. Dogs really like Rollers as reinforcement. Rollers make great cookies. Rollers are also great teaching tools for the catch. They stand up and... or Throw.
Like I said, brutally simple.