The Pawsitive Vybe Ribbon is a flatwork pattern we developed to help handlers learn to move their dogs around the field and also to help handlers escape the pressure that a dog with an aggressive style or aggressive retrieve puts on a handler. Oh, and it looks real cool too.
The Consequent Cue
What we do is to make a nice toss out to our dogs, and as they are retrieving the disc, we ask for the out and wait. When the drop happens, we mark and reinforce by presenting the cue to the dog – an outstretched trailing hand (the hand from the side that the dog is working on) – and then pull the dog around with that cue.
The Consequent cue is quite important because many dogs really like to move with their handler. Once we have a disc in our hand and are moving the dog around the field without presenting a throwing position, the dog senses opportunity and is likely to hold on to the disc until the moment of truth. We have to be sure to get the drop before the cue is given. The dog needs to believe that the Drop Makes the Cue, and therefore the opportunity, happen.
Pulling the Dog
Once we turn and present the cue, the dog has a target to move to, our the trailing hand (remember foundational set up moves & flatwork) and we are sending out very clear directional signals – the dog will go where our shoulders are pointed. All that’s left to do is to hook up with the dog with the trailing hand and pull them around.
We need to keep the disc high, the tendency to point our trailing hand and our disc towards the ground will bring the dog in quite close for the looping part of the ribbon, keeping the disc about shoulder high will cue the dog to keep their distance a bit.
Once the dog has committed to the cue the flank is set. We need to mark the moment that the flank is set, that commitment to arc we’re drawing with our hands. This mark is vital information and the dog should continue to work, with gusto, as the chase is on and they’ve earned the throw that is soon to come.
Make the toss
We can make the toss at any point after the commitment, but we should recall our directional feeding work and take a moment to hook up and deliver a well placed disc for a real nice leap. Every time we throw a disc, we have to take that moment to ensure that dog and handler are hooked up and that we are intending to hit the Spot is a “go to a place”, or “go to a mat” behavior. This means that the dog seeks out and performs a duration behavior on a spot of the handler’s choosing. A Pedestal is a raised spot. Anything a dog can leap onto and perch upon. Spots and Pedestals are important dog training tools.... at the correct time that will enable the dog to look good.
Once we’re dialed in, we should be able to get a dog to work both clockwise and counter clockwise. We can alternate between clock and counter clockwise (left hand or right handed pickup) to get some balance in our flatwork game.
This pattern will initially be seen by our dogs as a simple ‘go Around’ set up move and will be performed the same way – tight, close to the handler, so they can get right back out to where the catch will be made. We’ll change that understanding in a later lesson.