I find it simply amazing/shocking that people are paying money to have so called “Professional” disc players come teach them how to throw and train their dogs.
While I never have, nor never will, profess to be a dog trainer, I think I know a bit about throwing a disc. So, I feel I am qualified to call people out when I see posted pictures, YouTube videos and publications, of them teaching people to throw, INCORRECTLY!!
Not only are you wasting your money to have these people teach you something they don’t know a thing about, but you are creating bad habits by doing what these people are telling you.
All you have to do is “buy” a copy of any of the three or four awesome books (written over 30 years ago) about how to throw correctly (and learn the basics of throwing, which it is obvious these people have never learned) and read them and you will know more than the people that are training you.
I am not pointing a finger at any one person here because there are a ton of people out there doing this injustice to our sport. AND, I am not the only person that feels this way as I have had this conversation with a few people over the past couple of weeks.
We get it that everyone can learn something from anyone, but to charge people money to teach them something you don’t know yourself is just wrong….
And a huge discussion ensued… it’s interesting, you should read it.
My response was kind of too long and thoughtful for the Facebook memory hole, so I moved it over here.
Yo, Lawrence, thanks for the plug. I appreciate it.
The discussion was great.
I’m not sure how I should respond to this, Lawrence. I mean, teaching this sport and training dogs is my livelihood, so I’m one of those people making money on this, and have probably provided the mold for others to do so as well. I’ve been teaching disc dog seminars for money since 2003, and have been pursuing it full time since 2010.
I think PVybe does pretty good – the people we work with all improve and many of our clients are now top shelf, world class players who are still paying clients. We improve the relationship and communication between dog and handler, and always bring a fresh perspective to performance.
It’s been a bit hard to see a bunch of people coming into the disc dog seminar and camp scene, noobies and veterans alike. More than a few people I have worked with and taught are now my competitors for the very few non-contest weekend camp opportunities. But that’s cool, I’m stoked for them – sincerely.
If they are out there getting people playing with their dogs it serves me and my business and it serves the sport. I’m totally cool with our ability to deliver a great learning experience. More teachers means more opportunities. Opportunities are better than cookies here at Pawsitive Vybe.
People who have passion for the game of disc who organize instruction are awesome. Do they get ahead of themselves sometimes? I think so. It’s not easy out there teaching a bunch of different people and different dogs. I don’t really think you can fake the seminar and camp thing very well. You either can do it or not. Classes are hit or miss from my point of view, and tend to only keep running if they are successful.
Is some of the training out there suspect? Sure. But I’m sure a bunch of our stuff seems suspect, especially third hand or through the grapevine… holy cow the things I’ve been responsible for teaching… And that’s the thing about dog sport training – there are many ways to go about it.
We fix lots of broken stuff, and encounter some very interesting learned training techniques, but as long as the instruction isn’t patently wrong or dangerous, I’m cool. Regardless of their experience level in competitive disc dog formats, if they’re getting people out there playing with dogs and discs it’s cool with me.
A clever dog dancing freestyle person could totally teach me a thing or two about playing disc. And it might totally be worth paying for that access to dog training/dog sport knowledge even though the instruction may or may not have been entirely proper from a competitive standpoint.
I’ve been asked to do work with Flyball and Agility teams on behavior and drive and for out of the box solutions to competitive behavior. I’m not a Flyballer or Agility person.
Am I of no value there because of my lack of competitive experience?
Cultivate Learning Culture
The thing that bothers me is our general fear of paying for knowledge and instruction as a sport. What Chuck teaches is invaluable. What we teach is invaluable. Tracy Custer? As soon as we can travel again guess where we’re going?
In all other sports there is an understanding that knowledge has value and people who are knowledgeable should be compensated for dispensing that knowledge. Those teachers and that culture of learning create a working body of knowledge that the sport absorbs and passes on to future players and future foundation.
A common vocabulary develops. Different frameworks of play and handling systems. These things don’t get exposure or shared unless the teacher is compensated. They live and die with the rise and fall of the competitor. A culture of learning values that knowledge and holds on to it.
Easy Come, Easy Go
But in the Disc Dog game we’re supposed to give it away. And we do, BTW, all of our instruction is publicly available at our site – 300+ disc dog articles and videos. I’m always jamming and teaching on the sidelines of events. Our personal lessons are 2 hours instead of the billed 1… Learning, sharing, and playing is what we do here at Pawsitive Vybe. It’s who we are.
My point is that we should cultivate a culture of learning where it’s common to pay to bring Chuck, Tracy, or PVybe in to do some teaching. Where we support knowledgable leaders and teachers in our sport and help them to build and grow their teaching ability and knowledge. That’s a vital resource for continued growth of the sport and ever more awe inspiring performances.
It’s happened in Europe, they pay for training – they value it. They bring in the biggest names in dog Frisbee. But it’s been kind of slow to catch on here in the States. When it happens for real we will start to generate that working body of knowledge – the dog training, the disc training, the disc dog training – that will make a “butterfly reverse back vault” as readily accessible as a “Front Cross” is in agility. .
Bringing It Home
People paying for disc dog instruction at the local level is an incredible development for our sport. This is one way to bring it to the masses. Would I like to keep that instruction perfect and proper? Of course! It would make our job of jamming or fixing things that much easier, and I’d certainly rather have the instruction be of a high enough quality to hold the attention of dog and handler.
But instead of trying to keep people from teaching, I’d rather reach out to these upstart teachers and young players and help them get some proper skills together. Connect them with other reputable trainers and leverage that interest that they share with their crew to grow the sport.
A general culture of learning in k9disc means the ignorant trainers and the fraudsters can’t keep up with quality instruction and a knowledgeable community.
In the FB Comment thread, Lawrence references these books as must haves for disc sport enthusiasts: Frisbee by The Masters by Charles Tips Frisbee Players Handbook By Mark Danna and Dan Poynter Frisbee – A Practitioner’s manual and definitive treatise by Dr. Stancil E. D. Johnson
I’ll be ordering our copies in the near future…
This is Ron’s followup to the Try This segment on our weekly 1/2 hour dog training and lifestyle series on YouTube, Pawsitive Vybe.
Session 1 – Hoop as Threshold
Ska – Experienced
Ska & Kiva work on crossing the threshold of the hoop on cue. Ska has much more experience than Kiva with hoops (and buckets :-), so she’s a bit more solid.
I missed a really important moment in her session. She reacts to, acknowledges the threshold then checks in with me at about 1:12. That was a pretty critical moment. I’m glad it happened with Ska instead of Kiva.
Kiva – Noob
Kiva is new to this skill with hoops. He’s really animated and is extremely vocal when frustrated. He gets frustrated a couple of times here, but does some pretty nice work. We think it’s important to see some ‘not so perfect’ training and dogs…
Session 2 – XPens & Baby Gates with a Bunch of Dogs
Ska, Hops, Loot, Harpyr, Pan, Juicy, and Si work an important threshold in an exciting location in the Studio here. This was shot right at the front door. That makeshift XPen gate is the second to the last stop on the road to freedom!
We work the XPen threshold as a gate or door and as an open gap.
I think Loot is interesting to watch here – he really thinks he’s gotten away with something, doesn’t he. Funny that nothing of interest happens whatsoever, and it’s not until he gets back behind the threshold that things get interesting.
In the full cut of this video, towards the end he was really pretty solid. All the dogs got better as time went on. Repetition is huge here. I moved all the dogs into all 3 spaces – both sides of the XPen Threshold, in the grooming room, and into and out of the XPen itself.
Session 3 – Hoop Threshold for Localized Leaping
Not too long ago, I was working on this skill with a dog (can’t remember who) leaping from hoop to hoop. It was awesome. I gave it a shot with Si and we had some fun.
We warmed up the Threshold by freeshaping the in and out and then went on to leaping.
Si actually decided to do the vault skill on her own (a pretty bad disc dog issue!) but I went with it as I thought it was pretty cool and would be a nice use of the Threshold as a leaping localization device.
Hope you enjoyed it as much as we enjoyed doing it.
We’d love to hear from you if you’ve tried this or have questions…
a message to our incredibly wonderful Backers: Apryl and I are inspired, excited, and extremely grateful for your generous support. $1000 down, $4400 to go! Thank you so much!
Season 2 Coming Soon!
We’re 18% Funded – $1000
Before I get started here, thanks need to go out to those of you who have already backed the project.
I’ve been neglecting the blog a bit over the last couple months I guess, but we’ve been working really hard kicking out content, but if you’re hooked up with us on FB or G+, you know that already.
In case you didn’t know we have been kicking out a 1/2 weekly dog training and lifestyle show on YouTube for the last 10 weeks. Episodes 1-10 functioned as a pilot season allowing us to dial in production and story development. The show aims to draw focus on life with a dozen plus dogs and deliver top shelf dog training instruction and concepts.
Crowd funding or crowdfunding (alternately crowd financing, equity crowdfunding, or hyper funding) describes the collective effort of individuals who network and pool their money, usually via theInternet, to support efforts initiated by other people or organizations. Crowd funding is used in support of a wide variety of activities, including disaster relief, citizen journalism, support of artists by fans, political campaigns, startup company funding,movie or free software development, inventions development and scientific research.
Project & Perks
We have a $5466 (spells Kimo on a phone) project on Indiegogo, a crowdfunding company that has put out thousands of awesome projects. The way that Indiegogo is set up is super cool. It’s kind of like a telethon – you decide what you’re willing invest in the show and we give you awesome gifts and perks in exchange for your support. This project when we hit 100% will net us just over $5000
We’re looking to tap our network of crazy dog people, family and friends to help fund this show. We have a lot of professional connections, we have big families, and quite a few friends and acquaintances. To all of you guys:
We’ve been putting out some great content for the last few years, on this blog and on YouTube and we really want to keep it coming and keep it free. We also want to improve our production value so it’s easier to take a couple of Expert Frisbee Hippies™ with crazy pack of dogs seriously. We do a good job of delivering effective, efficient, and outside the box dog training and disc dog instruction, and we have this pack of unique and interesting dogs…
Let me put it to you this way? When’s the last time you’ve seen someone work 7-10 dogs at once? Not like a routine, but actual off the cuff interaction? Where else are you going to see a dozen dogs’ natural interaction for a couple minutes?
We have hit the wall in terms of our production ability on a few fronts. Broken cameras, not enough storage, not enough light, jury rigged wireless audio, there’s a bunch of things we need to take this show to the next level.
Where Will the Money Go?
One word,”Equipment.” Cameras, audio, storage, and lighting, if you want a bit more specificity. We have a wishlist of equipment you can check out at BH Photo. That’s where the money is going to go. It’s properly prioritized and is the minimum we require to put out a broadcast quality show. You can see that all but a sliver of the money is accounted for in that list of equipment. The rest will go towards paint and such to dress up the studio a bit more.
Having just wrapped up Season 1, we’re turning our attention to our Indiegogo project. At the time of writing, we’re sitting at 18% of our goal. Not bad for not really having pushed it outside of a few posts on facebook. Over next 30 days we will be promoting the show, and fulfilling our obligations to our backers: sending out handwritten letters, making art, organizing online instruction… Stay tuned to our project page on Indiegogo and our social media channels for the latest news.
Here’s the third episode of the PVybe Show. We just got done with disc dog camp and got some video of the trip and some personal work with pretty awesome disc doggers.
0:00 – Rajin’ Cajun evaluation
Gail Mirabella, ex-circus performer and a legend in Dog Frisbee stopped by to hang out and to have us eval this awesome Performance Rescue, Cajun.
Cajun is pretty much perfect according to Gail and also according to what we saw here at PVybe HQ while he was here. We didn’t have the camera out much while he was indoors, and Cajun was a bit distracted on the field.
Apryl works some bitework with him and you get a good chance to see what the guy is made of. He’s awesome and available for adoption, as Gail already has 13 dogs on the road, and Cajun doesn’t get along, at all, with one of her stars.
05:20 – Driving down to Sunny FLA
We got a bit of a late start heading down to Dade City FLA. We’re lucky we did. If not we wouldn’t have gotten to experience this…
05:52 – Pitstop with 14 dogs
Potty breaks on the road with our pack are always interesting. Here we are in downtown Savannah, GA after a long hard pull from NY, stretching our legs and chilling out in the sun for a while.
Leilani & Juicy do some pairs synchronized something at the beginning of this segment.
07:26 – Arriving at One Drop Ranch for Camp
Driving in to the Fahle’s One Drop Ranch is a pretty wild experience. Grass roads, whoopty-doos, hairpin turns, it’s pretty crazy. It’s like driving in to a Scooby Doo episode.
Once we got there, the dogs did great and settled in rather quickly.
Just a quick 20 second shot of some campers throwing distance during a distance session.
08:54 – Dre & Mox – Over Toss Adjustment & Yachi Vault
Dre & Moxie are an incredible team. I saw them perform a few times this year, and they were definitely in my top 3 for 2012. They are big, fast, and technically mature. Great team.
Dre wanted to work on Overs with Moxie, and we cover this in our personal session. The idea here is to set the disc towards the dog about a yard or so in order to ensure that the dog leaps early and gets conditioned to leap early.
This is not at all easy, especially when Moxie is moving so fast. Moxie, like many disc dogs, often moves too fast. Dogs that are sprinting can’t leap well. Part of the instruction for fixing her Over was to work Oppositional Feeding to slow Moxie down.
We started with a short Passing maneuver to time the skill and to reduce the responsibility of the handler and to keep criteria low.
Dre does a good job here, a little slower and some more tuning on the toss and she can easily turn this into just about any Over she wants. As a bonus, it should help Moxies leaping for discs at a distance as well, due to her being conditioned to leap early through disc placement.
We also worked the Yachi Vault, a spin kick kind of vault created by Yachi Hirai. Dre did a nice job here as well. The proper set up distance is hard to judge – this vault, especially when learning, requires a lot of distance, much more than you would expect.
The other thing that is important here is her right heel. It needs to turn first, 180 degrees, so the heel is pointing towards your dog. This is important for completing the spin on the finished product.
13:31 – Scott & Hazel Chest Vault adjustment
This session started out with Notecards, but the second skill, the Chest Vault, was really problematic for the team, and it was something that Scott wanted to improve. I decided to shift gears and focus on the Chest Vault.
Once Scott got the idea of cuing the vault verbally and then offering a directional cue instead of tapping the object, Hazel just kills it. Seriously, watch it.
16:46 – Notecard Demo with Jay & Kai
Jason and the Kai Bear do a Notecard Demo for everyone, and does it well. The only improvement that should be made would be to mark behaviors.
19:32 – New Years Eve with Apryl Art
Camp finished up on New Years Eve and those of us diehards hung out and brought in the new year with some Disc Dogging Debauchery and Demolition. Hanging out around the firepit that Apryl Lea made for the Fahle’s was a riot, and I’m very, very sorry that I lost the footage of the game of catch with discs and sparklers… woo hoo!
20:48 – Pendulum & Marking with Jan
Jan & Dakota really came a long way this weekend. The one thing that Jan wanted was to slow Dakota down so she didn’t feel the pressure of that crazy English Shepherd.
After working on slowing Dakota down with Oppositional Feeding, we started to use that slow purposeful movement and wouldn’t you know it, patterns became easy to create.
Here’s Jan & Dakota working on the Pendulum Pattern – dueling clockwise and counter clockwise flanks. Pretty sweet!
Well we survived another Christmas. Here’s what went down that week…
00:00 – Pan Hot Hunts a piece of string.
Pan, our Boston mix goes nuts for a piece of hanging string. She’s a serious hunter.
There was a cat toy attached to the string that Pan really wanted to put some hurt on. She worked this toy until I wound it up around the sprinkler system.
The guy hanging out with us is Kenny, and he’s super cool. He makes a yearly pilgrimage to Michigan to see family around the holidays, and Apryl is on his short list of visits.
01:13 – Doing Nothing is Hard Work
Our dogs have been classically conditioned to go bonkers when someone walks out on the astroturf in the studio; they know that exciting things are going to happen. And most of the time they are correct.
One thing that you can do to remedy this is to belie that classical conditioned understanding. If the dog believes something is going to happen and has a physiological response because of that belief, don’t go there. Have a problem with a bonkers dog walking to the Frisbee field? Walk out there and don’t play, just chill out, then leave. A few reps of the dog not playing at the field can have massive impact on the classically conditioned state.
This session was supposed to be about doing nothing, which is not really that easy to do. Here I am giving it a shot. Looks like I make it about 20 seconds before I toss Hops a ball. I did manage to keep it super low key.
Notice how the game changes when Leilani (border collie on the couch) gets excited. I really blow the session by allowing the energy to get away from me.
04:34 – Ballwork for Dog Catch
Apryl and Lexi use an exercise ball to assist with early dog catch training. Lexi is a pretty simple dog and is quite the athlete. Once she figures that out, she’ll be dangerous.
This is a really nice bridge between ballwork (Top, Stall & Rebound) and dog catch. You can see Apryl using reward placement to set Lexi’s approach and Apryl’s giving a ton of cookies in the Dog catch.
At 5:33, you can see her balk on the right to left side. Dogs don’t often like to work both ways, and handler’s often only use their right hand to give cookies. So the dog works in one direction. Work the strong side way more than the weak if you have a problem with this as a team. It’s more important to make the dog catch valuable and achievable first. Once you have that, you can get the other direction fairly easily.
Apryl starts with the Stall cue and quickly moves to “Dog Catch” as the cue and she also starts to generalize the handler position by standing up after the catch. She wraps it up with the finished dog catch.
08:08 – Skratty Hugs
Apryl & Skratty work on a new freeshaped skill – Hug – thanks Georgios!
This skill is a duration behavior. Apryl will bookend it – cuing the skill, paying while the behavior is happening and then making it to the release. Duration is defined by the release.
The frantic nature can be combated by a more constant flow of cookies.
The session ends with Dismissal.
10:15 – Daily Life @ PVybe – Going Outside
Typical going outside chaos. I think we have 8 dogs going out here.
I work threshold with my crew at the x-pen gate and the door. Eye contact is what is being marked at each threshold. We come in and work a downstay for a while after this. It’s kind of standard operating procedure when we have guests.
15:33 – Daily Life @ PVybe – Group Down Stay
So mean, turning on the vacuum cleaner while they’re staying, but that’s life here. Notice pan still working the string @16:11.
20:38 – Early Over with Lexi
Notice that Lexi has a hard time doing this skill from Apryl’s right to left. Left to right is pretty easy, but there’s not enough value in the left hand for her to commit to it.
Apryl tries a flag and flash over which Lexi wasn’t quite ready for, and then wound up moving to a kneeling over to generalize the skill a bit.
More bitework would be helpful.
23:30 – Special Art with Apryl Lea
Apryl Lea whips up some special metal art…
These are the prizes for the Spooky Jam, custom made “Grateful Jack-O-Lanterns” by Apryl Lea.
We had a glut of video footage. Nothing special really, just a couple days of filming casual training sessions and life here at Pvybe HQ. There was nothing really special enough for it’s own video, so I slapped it all together into a long form YouTube video and really liked what I saw.
This episode here is what started us going down the path to creating a full blown half hour dog training show.
Here’s the chapter navigation that you experience if you watch the video on Youtube and navigate from the description. Since You’re already here you’ll probably just scrub your way to the proper timecode in the youtube player from the featured image above.
0:00:10 – Ball Intro with Reggie
Here’s Reggie working the ball. This was his first session with the ball after a very quick introduction where it became quite clear that I needed a camera…
You can see that he’s a kuttle shakey to start, butit’s an aggressive ball. The tire is too small. You can also see that I pay the heck out of him creating a desire to be on the ball. On his second rep, I hold the ball to make it more stable for him, paying him the whole time. This is key. You can see that he doesn’t want to get off the ball. That’s desire.
At 0:01:30, Reggie gives eye contact and I reinforce with the presentation of the cue for the Stall behavior (jump up and chill). This is what we call rewarding with action, and is a really nice technique for making things happen. You mark a behavior, like eye contact, and then reinforce with the presentation of the cookie or the Stall cue.
Around the 1:35 mark I move to vault discrimination. I’m randomizing “Top” – the linear vault cue, and “Stall” – the jump up and chill cue. You can probably see that Reggie is biased from my left to right. Offering the vault when moving towards the camera and balking when moving from my right to left, or away from the camera.
This left and right handed bias is really common. Reggie is moving towards the camera because he’s moving towards the right hand. Lots of cool things happen in the right hand. The left handed cue is not so strong and should be cultivated.
0:02:38 – Retrieve with Parkour
Apryl is working with bones. She’s trying to make the bone an opportunity. Using dismissal (go do dog stuff) to push the dog away from the handler, Apryl helps Parkour realize that working with her is an opportunity. You can see the results of this at 0:03:40. He hops on that dumbbell and is happy to use it to get access to Apryl.
A little bit of play with the object and some restraint on the collar helps to cement the idea that the dumbbell is an opportunity. When Apryl ups the ante to the PVC Pipe, it’s a no brainer. Parkour’s down on this game. A little teasing with the object keeps Parkour engaged.
The position that Apryl is using is approximating the positon of the object sitting on the ground. It also can be faded into a simulated tossed object. It’s nice work.
0:05:27 – Ball Intro with Lexi
You can probably see that Lexi doesn’t have much experience on the ball, but she’s a gamer. Apryl pays liberally, about 15 cookies, and then makes it to the release. Making it to the release is key when it comes to duration behaviors. Build desire to do the behavior then cue and pay the release.
Apryl moves to the Top cue, which means to vault in linear fashion – jump on and off in a line. This should be contrasted with the Stall cue.
0:09:47 – Advanced Ballwork with Reggie – Landing Ramp
The idea with this drill is to get the dog to focus on the landing instead of the jump itself and also to over jump, or jump up and then fall down upon the object. Then we take it a bit further and work on vault discrimination.
When I was a kid, I was a good bike rider. We jumped monster jumps – 3 cinder blocks high – but we landed on flat ground. We could only do so much. As I grew to be too large for BMX bikes, the landing ramp became the norm. Kids were now not only jumping their bikes, but strategically landing them. Enter the X Games.
What we are talking about here is a localized landing. Asking the dog not only to leap over an object, but to also select a proper landing spot is a big deal when it comes to understanding the leaping behavior.
I really like the leaping off over the jump as well. In fact, if you place enough value on the ball and get the leap off over the jump, the dog will jump on the ball, over the jump cleanly. It’s spectacular.
0:13:12 – Intermission – Group Stay
A downstay session with Kiva, Harpyr, Prima, Ska, Si, EZ Ryder, & Reggie (look at the rescue dog looking like part of the pack…).
0:15:29 – Backing Up with Jericho
The idea here is to use the channels to keep the dog in line and then to use the alternate surface as a signal to the dog that the behavior is over. At this point in time, Apryl is clicking the alternate surface being touched with a rear foot. This will be changed to a verbal “terminal cue” later.
If you’ve taught backing up with pressure, notice the way Jericho’s feet are lifting up and reaching back looking for the alternate surface. It’s different than a pressured back up.
Apryl changes to the welcome mat half way through this session to generalize the alternate surface. Also notice that Apryl is really generalizing her body position, making it easier for Jericho to handler the backing up from the wheelchair.
0:21:31 – Advanced Ballwork with Hops – Landing Ramp
We push the landing ramp idea pretty far with this little crazy man Hops. The ball is too high and the bars are too far. But he’s a Jack. He’ll be fine… lol
The break in the action when a bar is dropped is a feature not a bug. That down time helps the dog realize that dropping bars is probably not a great idea.
We go rather quickly to the vault discrimination, as Hops has a pretty solid history on the ball.
Towards the end we get a little nutty by adding a get out to set the skill.
0:24:13 – Object Targeting with Reggie
Reggie could not take a lure when we got him. He’s a really nice young man.
A few weeks ago, as the End of the World and Christmas were bearing down on us, we had a glut of video footage. That’s often the case here, we shoot lots of video… I decided to throw caution to the wind and put together a weekly 1/2 hour dog training show. 22 minutes or more, per week, of dog training, disc dogging and general PVybe Lifestyle. A half hour episode per week is a pretty serious endeavor…
PVybe Life is a dog training variety show with short edutainment pieces based on our dog training and lifestyle. It’s pretty sweet. Each short segment is linked from the YouTube description page and allows you to surf segment by segment.
We’re now on Episode 4 of Season 1 (coming out this afternoon @ 12:30 PM ET) and are gearing up for 6 more episodes to round out the season. Click the image above for the lean back experience and if you want to check out the navigation, you’ll have to go to the video on our YT page.
We will also be using timecode links to these segments to supplement our distance learning program and other blog posts with topical video content, which is super cool. You can surf the episode segment by segment.
In order to push ourselves into creating a bonafide show, we’re just doing it. Putting ourselves on a schedule and working to dial things in as we go. Each week things are getting a bit more tight. We’ve done rescue dog pieces, disc dog training, disc dog camp, and some traveling with the pack kind of stuff. There’s some fluff, and it’s rather long form, but it’s full of tips and tricks and valuable dog training.
This first season is pretty much a pilot program; getting our workflow together, smoothing out technical details and developing different types of segments, etc. We’ll get 10 episodes in the bag and take a break to evaluate our situation and get our stuff together to create a bigger and better 2nd season sometime in the spring.
Apryl & I are both really excited about this project and hope you are too. We will be posting serious breakdowns of each episode here on the blog, so stay tuned.
Pretty sweet archival type disc dog footage here of the 2002 Incredible Dog Winter Challenge. Lou Mack & Buddy, Lourdes Edlin & Stryker, Mark Brisse & Gabby, Marie Earle & Bo, Chris Sexton & Laika, Chris Perondi & Pepper, Christie Goodman & Rider, Zane Nail & Kaia, Andy Busby & Cody. Hope I got all those right.
I loved it when the Challenge had the bonus zone throws all wrapped up into the freestyle portion of the contest instead of as an after thought. I miss that contest. It really put the game on edge and gave it that freewheeling jam session kind of vybe. Did you catch the seamless flow from freestyle to toss and fetch action at 18:45 with Chris & Laika… That’s pretty cool.
And what the heck was that at 19:07 …INSANE!!! Here, watch it if you are not watching the video right now:
If you click one thing on this page click here Magical
It is important to have a distinction between Drop and Give, not just in dog Frisbee, but in dog training in general.
Many people don’t see the need to distinguish between Drop and Give. “Why bother? The dog drops it all the same…” But it doesn’t go down like that. Drop means to drop it to the ground – where you are at. Essentially Drop is teeth off without regard to position or locale. Give is a highly localized skill. It only happens on the handler, and into the handler’s hand, period. While their is a Drop component to a Give, Give is very different from Drop.
Hops as Crash Test Dummy
Some of you may know that I have had some serious trouble obtaining a Drop on cue while playing Frisbee with Hops for a long time now. He fully believes that all Drops need to happen on the handler.
He has easily sidestepped all of my training tricks. Over the last 4 months or so we’ve been working with reward placement with Oppositional Feeding using a prompt switch. It’s been pretty successful. We’ve been able to link some sequences together and do some flowing stuff, but it’s still not quite right, it doesn’t seem to hold.
I’m all about trying to communicate concepts and using oppositional behaviors and back-chaining to get what I want out of my dogs. I know that Give and Drop are different and I have worked both skills a ton with Hops, but until a couple days ago, I had not played them off of each other. I was afraid to work the Give because I thought it would reinforce the drop location,”He already drops there. He always drops there… He only drops there.”
Don’t Be Afraid
I think many of us wind up getting scared about this kind of thing. “I don’t want to practice and reinforce there. Reward placement is important!” It is important, but it’s not everything. None of the major principles of positive dog training is everything. Alternating between Drop and Give provide a strong contrast between the location of the Give and the lack of location on the Drop. I believe this distinction has helped Hops immensely in just the last 2 sessions. It’s also helped us a ton as a team.
Give It a Shot
Set up the Drop several times when and how it is likely to happen. Hops drops well on the flank and not so well when approaching from the front. This is a common problem with dogs who are highly focused on the Fetch part of Frisbee. Be sure to set up situations where it’s likely that your dog will drop and then get that ball rolling.
Once you get a few reps on Drop then you set up the Give, on purpose, by just withholding the Drop Cue. Your dog will come in and put it right in your hand. Offer your Give cue and reinforce with a bite, flip or roller. Maybe one or 2 reps on Give then 5-10 Drops.
This rather quickly sets up a clear distinction between Drop and Give. Drop winds up well reinforced as does the Give. Drop happens anywhere and Give happens on the handler. Compliance with each cue is what allows the game to continue, wherever it may be. Working the Give allows you to capitalize on, and leverage, a likely behavior. It also doubles the rate of reinforcement.
Things to keep in mind:
Drop and Give are different behaviors.
You are reinforcing with Next and not just a Frisbee.
The dog will go (or work) where the reinforcement happens.
Success is contagious.
You can reinforce a cued Drop with a Bite at the Handler for Give & Retrieve
Si has always been a great athlete, her saving grace, but she was never smooth. I’ve been working with her for more than 3 years now, drawing out her inner athlete and bringing her game together. It’s been a slow but steady march to a more explosive, successful, and competitive, type of performance.
Up until last fall, Si had always looked uncomfortable in the air. She kind of looked like a horse leaping for a disc. You can easily imagine the power, and scale but the grace is hard to find in your mind’s eye. She looked like that for a couple years, and probably would for the rest of her career if I didn’t make this critical adjustment. I started to run Si in the opposite direction. Instead of the normal, and nearly mandatory in the disc dog world, clockwise go round and working direction, I shifted to counter.
A Change of Direction Can Change the Game
This one simple adjustment, switching directions, changed Si from a horse chasing a Frisbee to a big cat leaping for it’s prey. The difference could not be more startling. It, literally, freaked me out. When she leapt up there all crunched up and tweaked and snatched the disc out of the air to the left of her face with a graceful turn and stretch of her big muppet giraffe neck, I’m pretty sure my jaw dropped. I repeated it a few times with similar, but somewhat less impressive results, but I was still a bit shocked. Here was my good little steed, the Si Biscuit, leaping like a cat and looking all graceful and stuff. So cool…
Over the next few months, I dialed in her counter clockwise go round and was quite pleased with the results. It was a bit weird at first, but I started to figure it out after a few sessions. Her leaping ability and confidence soared. Then it started to bleed over into the clockwise direction – not a lot, but noticeably. Working both Clock and Counter can be a huge deal for a team.
Strong Hand Tied Behind the Back and a Half Opened Christmas Present
I briefly mentioned the left and right handed nature of dogs and balance in the close of the original Xs and Os of Diverse Routines, but it was kind of an afterthought. After seeing the response of Si to this simple change this concept of strong and weak circular patterns jumped to the top of my brain.
This is how I think of teams that are running in the wrong direction. There is so much pressure to send the dog around clockwise in the disc dog world, and probably somewhere around 50+% of the time it’s a good idea. The dog is either balanced or a dog that works Clock. But for dogs that want or need to work counter clock, this can be a big problem.
Imagine being forced to play your sport with your off hand. Or being forced to leap off the wrong foot. That would stink, man. Your performance, if you were able to perform the skills and compete at all, would be like a half opened Christmas present.
Many dogs, perhaps even yours, are playing this game with their strong hand tied behind their back and are half opened Christmas presents in terms of performance. I know Si was.
Down the Rabbit Hole
I got a bit caught up in working this skill over the last year. It was just so darned interesting and exciting to play around with these things that made such a drastic difference in performance. I quickly found myself in a flatwork and big leaping rabbit hole – down it went… and I took the trip.
Xs and Os Revisited is due in large part to going down this rabbit hole, and is being written to help disc doggers get a short cut to applying this stuff so you don’t spend a year dialing it in. That said if you do find that your dog needs to work counter clock, you might wind up spending a good portion of the season exploring that rabbit hole. It’s a valuable journey though. You will learn tons, become a much better team, and your dog will thank you.
Disc Dog sequences and routines are just long behavior chains. Dog Frisbee is just dog training with a slightly different focus. It’s easy to forget that. When you’re talking about how shapes and patterns develop, the Xs and Os, it can be helpful to fall back on what you know about dog training.
Xs and Os are large part Reward Placement. How and where you place rewards affects the patterns your dog runs and how he runs them.
Throughout this series there will be some strange and empowering vocabulary. It’s not easy to think about stuff without words sometimes. Here are some common terms that we will be using in Xs and Os Revisited.
Arcs and Lines
So often we think of discdogging as throwing to a place, in some cases a very fuzzy place “out there some where-ish…”. Seriously. Where do you throw for your dog?
Back in the day, 2004, if memory serves me, I wrote a piece called Xs and Os of Diverse Routines. It’s a pretty good piece on reading dogs and working patterns in dog Frisbee, but it was written about 5 years before the idea of organized disc dog flatwork crossed my mind. It’s dated and things have changed.
A Year of Work
Over the last year, Si and I have been learning a ton together. From the realization that she’s really only comfortable leaping while on a counter clockwise flank (looking over her left shoulder) to being able to put her at maximum leaping height on most every throw, we worked Flatwork, Flanking, Interception, the Bent Cavaletti and are a far better team for it.
Apryl and Kiva did some of this work as well, but they were pretty close to being ready for the bigtime contests so they focused more on Owning the Drop and sequence building. You will probably see the results of her work on TV this winter in the Purina Pro Plan Incredible Dog Challenge Finals where they had a strong showing in an incredible field of teams.
We had the ability to field test a bunch of this stuff in our seminars and camps over the year, and it went quite well. Flatwork is becoming a common concept throughout the disc dog world.
Xs and Os Revisited
This is the first piece of a series where we Revisit Xs and Os of disc dog routines. Over the next few weeks to help bring some more clarity to both Flatwork and patterns that we can use (or get used by) on the field.
Keep your eyes peeled to our FB Page and G+ page. And please be sure to share this stuff far and wide.
Meet our new intern, Georgios & his pal, the Lupo as they demonstrate what they got out of PVybe’s online disc dog foundation classes. The video below shows some pretty cool stuff here from this rookie team from Greece. A year ago Georgios and Lupo took our Disc Dog Foundation Class and went at it pretty hard.
Georgios had been trying to find a job for his one year old adrenaline junkie buddy, and dog Frisbee seemed a good fit. He got a bit more than he bargained for, given Disc Dog Foundation‘s focus on positive training methods and learning theory, and soon was applying the skills from disc dog class in lifestyle situations. The way he generalized the information was quite impressive so when he asked us about becoming an intern it was a no brainer despite his lack of experience.
Georgios arrived about 3 weeks ago and found himself immersed in a sea of crazy dogs (video to come, lol). Barking, running around, high as kites… The first few days must have been pretty jarring. Georgios took it all in stride and inside of a week he and Lupo became part of our pack.
While Georgios dropped right into the PVybe daily grind quite easily, Lupo, his 2 year old Border Collie, is having a bit more trouble getting into the swing of things. Lupo, aka “the Lupo”, is an only dog and does not have an “Off switch”. He is go go go! all the time and doesn’t do well with impulse control. Lupo has come a long way in just a couple weeks in America, but Georgios has his work cut out for him finishing that Off Switch installation. >
Two Months of Learning and Experience
We are very excited to work with Georgios and Lupo over the next 2 months. Having these guys here at Pawsitive Vybe is a great learning experience for our entire pack and brings a ton of creative energy and passion into our lives.
Georgios and Lupo will be making the trip down to the USDDN in a few weeks and will help us conduct some seminars in addition to their daily learning regiment. Hopefully some of you guys get a chance to hook up with them.
Apryl made the MN State Championship Trophy and also the Wazee Spirit Trophy for the Minnesota Disc Dog Club. We delivered them to camp this summer. We had to sit on it for a while, as it was kind of a surprise…
This footage was taken in Michigan while on our coast to coast Disc Dog Camp tour as Apryl was dropping off the metal sculpture to Mark Vainner of Turnadaisy so he could make the bases for the pieces.
I’ve been working on a new throw here over the last few days… It’s been coming together for some time, bits and pieces. It’s essentially a spinning overhand airbounce. It’s based off of the Push throw, and it’s super cool. Here’s about 40 seconds of our second session on this throw, a recovery session if you will, as the first session put some muscles through their paces that had not been worked in a while…
Here are nine things that noobs do that everyone should be aware of so they can avoid doing them and get bigger and better scores on the competition field. Any one of these issues can and will cost you more than a few points in a contest:
The best way to lose 4 points a round in Freestyle is to bend at the waist and knees while you are playing with your dog. It’s hard to look cool while you’re bending down
This puppy playing position is a hallmark of new players and people who are not confident athletes, although confident athletes are often caught up in this as well. It’s a defensive, cautious, and weak position that makes it near impossible to project an air of experience and competence.
As soon as you present this position the judges will be likely to lowball your skill level and might mistake your skill and intent for luck and happenstance. It also looks pretty bad to boot. Don’t do it!
stand up tall, lean back, and look cool… like Fonzie.
Any time you deliver a disc to your dog you should be intending to deliver it to the correct spot at the correct time to make your dog look good. That’s your intent.
Simply defining a target with placement and timing criteria improve precision and accuracy from both the thrower’s perspective and also from the dog’s perspective. The dog should expect to leap for a well placed target and the handler should intend put it there. Practicing and exercising this makes it more likely to happen.