So weʼre starting to ramp up for Disc Dog Foundation Class here at PVybe HQ.
PVybe HQ has been restationed in Kingston, New York, and we are giddy as schoolgirls getting the new Lady Gaga album because we have some blazing fast internet speeds here. That means our online courses will be even more awesome.
We will be kicking off our Pvybe New York Operations with the first of several instructional blog posts about the movement of Disc Dogs and the powers of observation. This one is all about proper dog landing.
The “All Four Paws” Question
The other day I was asked, ”How do I teach my dog to land on all four feet?”
This concept has been floating around the Disc Dog World for a little while and Iʼve not really blared my opinion on it, until today. See, the thing is, you don’t really want a four legged landing. Grab a milkbone and keep reading…
Best Paws Forward
Dogs front ends were built for shock absorption and stabilization during directional changes and landings. The front end of the dog finds the ground, orients the body then the shoulders, neck and chest flex. This funnels and absorbs a large portion of the impact before passing on the remainder of the impact to the rear legs. Once the rear legs are engaged, the front legs step forward and the dog further disperses the impact by moving forward.
Four footed landings decrease the ability of the dogʼs body to function correctly: the Front is a stable position directly in front of the handler. Front is an traditional obedience skill. Usually your dog sits in this position, but standing is often acceptable as well, especially in the game of disc dog freestyle. It is important to have a stable Front position for training and performing many disc dog tricks. Your Front position should... legs canʼt funnel the impact to the rear because they hit simultaneously so the impact is taken up solely by the flexing of the front and rear legs, just a few inches of cushion, and then if thatʼs too much for the legs to handle, the remainder is taken by the rest of the body, which pretty much means the back.
No Really, Call Me
Itʼs not unlike a human running, fast to jump high and far and then trying to land on both feet. 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 try, but be careful, it doesnʼt work so well. We humans have a single shock absorber for stabilization and shock absorption during direction changes. Itʼs a single leg. It works well if you land on one leg and run out of it. If you land on both feet you put huge pressure on your knees and/or you fly forward losing your balance. Do that 5 or 10 times a day and youʼll feel it. Thereʼs a reason that long jumpers jump into a pit of sand. Itʼs just not the way our bodies were meant to work.
Dogs almost always land front feet first. Any time they land on their rears or all 4s, something weird happened like they jumped off a moving teeter or slipped on the truck bed or something. Watch your dog jump off of stuff or jump over stuff. Pay attention to getting out of the car, leaping out of a raised crate, jumping over a bush or garden plant – any leap that is natural and comfortable – and you give me a shout when you see a 4 legged landing that was intentional on the dogʼs part.
Ok so let me know what you think about 2 paws or 4 paws, front, center or rear landings. Leave a comment below and don’t hold back, I can take it.