This is a typical disc dog training session here at Pawsitive Vybe. We grab a leash, a handful of Frisbees, a highly aroused dog and walk across the tracks. This is a training session with Hops from beginning to end.
Setting the Tone & Loose Lead Walking
We set the tone right off the bat. The video starts with Hops offering 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... at the presence of the door. Eye contact makes the door open, and eye contact earns cookies on the inside of the door. Hops earned 5-10 cookies inside and then a couple cookies outside the door. Getting cookies on each side of the door for Attention (unsolicited eye contact) makes doorways a breeze.
With a high drive or reactive dog, just walking with discs in hand can be a problem, just walking towards the Frisbee field can be a major distraction. Hops does a pretty good job here, paying lots of attention to his handler and also giving to pressure any time the lead tightens as he forges. I reinforce him behind the seam of my left pantleg when he gives eye contact, falls into heel position, or makes a good decision.
Oppositional Feeding & Zig Zags
We’ve been using a ton of Oppositional Feeding for our dogs that have struggled with the Drop cue on the run and for the dogs who return too fast and too aggressively and pressure the handler. Reinforcing 10-20 yards behind the dog in nearly the opposite direction they are moving, will give them a reason to slow down. It will also help them become comfortable waiting and working out there at that 10-20 yard distance.
Hops’ Drop was pretty solid by his standards. we’ve really had some serious break throughs in the last couple weeks due to the application and experience of Oppositional Feeding is the opposite of Directional Feeding. The handler throws a disc in the opposite direction that the dog is moving. Oppositional Feeding is a flatwork and training technique used to slow dogs down and make them think and also to build distance on the cued Drop. Oppositional Feeding is primarily used on dogs with too much drive that....
If you watch closely, a few Zig Zags in this footage feature some Oppositional Feeding elements. I’m cuing the Drop and reinforcing with a disc placed at the A Zig Zag is a series of catches in smooth succession that forces the dog to move back and forth across the field. Usually performed at a distance of 8-20 yards, the Zig Zag is a skill that highlights teamwork, throwing, and leaping ability. It is also a tremendous leaping drill that can be used to teach a dog to... distance I’m looking for. Initially this looks the same as Oppositional Feeding, as Hops is really coming in towards me quite hard. As the session goes on we get more experience dropping on cue and get more value placed where we want the Zig Zag to happen, a few of these sessions and Hops’ Zig Zag will be rockin’.
Throwing with Intent, Vaults, Mo Moves & Fishes
Sprinkled throughout this Drop session are throws that are intended to get Hops at a big leaping height. Notice that most of the throws are basic Backhands. This is important because I want to present as consistent a target as possible for him so he can learn how to collect himself and leap appropriately.
There are a couple of vaults in this footage and a few on the cutting room floor. Nothing really special, but we add them in there to make it more of a jam session and as attempts at proofing the cued Drop. It’s not there yet, but we’re working on it.
I’m super excited to work Mo Moves with Hops. Mo Moves are running flips that happen under and around the handler. They are super flashy, simple and are prime for Fishing.
Hops and I also work on a Flying Retrieve. It’s a variation of a Fish (dog catches and gives the disc back to the handler), and is super slick and efficient disc management to boot. You might notice that I’m throwing the disc before Hops has dropped it. That’s cool. We’re not ready to proof this skill on a big field at the apex of Drive is focus and energy applied towards work. There are many kinds of Drive: social drive, tracking drive, prey drive, bite/kill, stalking, and food to name a few. Social drive, prey drive, and bite/kill are the types of Drive most active in the game of disc dog freestyle, and are all fairly desirable. Stalking and tracking drive can be tough.... We’ll probably start proofing that in the next few weeks.
Hops really killed it walking home. Nice, calm, attentive. It happens sometimes…
It’s been happening more and more over the last few weeks, as Hops has started to realize we are a team and we’ve been doing a bunch of high distraction loose lead work. When we get done jamming he’s happy to hook up with me and chill.