A Pendulum for Better Flatwork and for Big Leaping

Ron Watson Flatwork

The Video

This is a demonstration of the Pendulum, a disc dog pattern that helps teams develop a working flank, a key foundational element in the game of Dog Frisbee.

The Pendulum pattern is created using alternating clockwise and counter clockwise “Arounds”. This balanced approach slows the dog down and helps dog and handler hook up as a team on the flank (out to either side of the handler).

There are three levels of experience on this video:

0:12 – Ron & Si demonstrate a solid working Pendulum complete with big leaping catches.
0:57 – Georgios & Lupo demonstrate a Pendulum that is a work in progress for dialing timing and placement.
1:30 – Ron & Sydney put together a pendulum on the fly. This was Sydney’s first attempt at the Pendulum pattern.

Why a Pendulum?

The traditional disc dog pattern — go around, run out in front of me to catch and bring the disc back, quickly — primarily develops out of a Toss and Fetch and single disc foundation. This is a highly predictable pattern and it is a pattern that leaves the handler outside of the picture entirely after the go around part. Essentially the handler says,”Go Around,” and then the dog takes off to the spot where the disc is going to be.

The handler disappears as the dog is focused on getting to the spot where the catch is suppsed to happen or is hyper-focused on the disc. Either way, there’s not much teamwork going on after the Set Up Move, the handler is an afterthought.

When a handler sets the flank or works on the flank (throw out to the left or right side), the dog is engaged with both the handler and the disc. The handler remains in focus and is an integral part of the game. With the Pendulum, alternating flanks (clockwise and counterclockwise – left or right) the dog works in both directions in concert with the handler giving the team tons of flexibility and experience moving around the field.

Another benefit of the Pendulum is that it sets up interceptions. Intercepting targets instead of chasing them down forces the dog to create a plan to catch the disc with the handler’s input. This leads to better leaping performance.

How It Works

The Pendulum is rather simple, just send the dog around and toss a disc out to the other side of your body, toss it early to drive the dog to that spot. Once the dog has secured the disc, cue the Drop and send them around in the other direction, tossing the disc, again, out to the side. This is nothing more than setting the flank in both directions.

Once the dog is going in both directions fairly well, withhold the throw to the flank and wait, and like Si in the video, she will perform a small outrun due to the reward history and reward placement from the Pendulum and then she will look at you,”Dude! Where’s the disc?

Mark the look if you want and deliver a leaping strike to the dog as she starts to drive across the field in front of you.

Pendulum Disc Dog Flatwork Pattern