Crossing and the 4 Keys of Flatwork

Communication is Key

If you listen to the audio from this footage you can hear the communication going on. Marking the drop of the disc and reinforcing with that Consequent Cue, that pop of the hand and sweeping movement. Marking the commitment to moving with the handler and reinforcing with a throw. It’s nice teamwork.

Contrast that with the times that Loot doesn’t Drop on cue or refuses a directional cue. What game would you want to play?

The Drop is Key

The drop makes the Consequent CueA cue that is given as a consequence for correct behavior is a Consequent Cue. In the game of disc dog freestyle, the consequent cue is extremely important. Dogs are reinforced by opportunity, and there is not much greater opportunity in the game of disc than more play (Next). If you offer your cue before your dog has complied with... More happen. Nothing happens without the cued Drop. As soon as the teeth come off on the Drop, the cue pops out. The Drop is a strong point of leverage in dog training. It’s a linchpin concept for many skills.

The Hook Up is Key

Notice the Hook Up position that Loot is presented after the drop. That hookup Sets a Working FlankThe Working Flank is a moving position. On a Working Flank the dog is out to your side some distance and holds position, moving with you as you move around the field. The Working Flank happens on both the clockwise and counter clockwise flank. The clockwise flank is out to the handler’s left with dog and handler oriented in a... More. The handler needs to set up and turn so we are moving in the same direction as the dog – just a little bit if you want to move slowly or easily, or turn a bunch and make the dog feel as if they are losing a race behind you.

If you put your disc filled hand up towards them a bit and guide them in, the Hook is Set. You can now start to push and pull the dog around, bring them in close to us, or we can give CrossA Cross is an canine agility term that describes a change of working sides. Your dog moves from your left to your right (Heel to Side) or from Clock to Counter. Crosses are labeled be the relationship of handler to the dog. A Front Cross is a cross with the handler in front of the dog. A Rear Cross has... More cue – heck we can do any of them, because the dog and handler are hooked up.

Commitment is Key

What you are doing with FlatworkFlatwork is the stuff that happens between the catches. How the team moves and transitions, often without the disc, is flatwork. Flatwork concepts in disc dog are taken from the agility and herding world.... More is moving your dog around the field. You are pushing and pulling. This happens through handler movement, primarily your shoulder orientation and the orientation of upper torso, but also your feet, legs and hips. Movement, intended movement, or simulated movement by the handler creates and relieves pressure that pulls or pushes on the dog.

When the handler commits to a movement it is much easier for the dog to follow. Watch these videos a few times and notice how the dog commits to these shoulder and body movements. We’ve got to Set the Hook here, just like with LuringLuring is a technique in which the handler entices a dog to follow and pursue a primary motivator for position and movement. Luring is a technique that requires handler leadership. You must lead when luring. If you try to help or follow the dog while luring it just doesn’t work. The dog follows the lure because it is being taken... More, to get the commitment of the dog. Once the hook is set and the handler is committed to a movement, the dog will follow.

4 Keys of Flatwork

  1. Communicate

    MarkShort for “Positive Marker”, a Mark is a word or signal given at the exact moment a desired behavior is performed. It’s like a clicker. Mark can also mean the act of marking behaviors. “Did you Mark that?” asks if the positive marker was given to tell the dog he was correct. When playing disc it is important to Mark... More what you like and be consequent

  2. Drop

    Be honest on the Drop

  3. Hook Up

    Set the Hook with the trailing hand

  4. Commit

    Dog and Handler must commit


  1. Ann

    Ron – I’m having trouble downloading this. No “save as” option is popping up when I right-click.

  2. Ann

    No dice….could it be something on my end? I can watch it, just can’t download.

  3. Ann

    working now! I’m downloading them…

  4. Laura McKinney

    Hi Ron,
    Here’s a vid of a short session with me and Allister.


    1. Ron Watson Post author

      Watched it with Abby… Assessment coming soon… Great stuff, Laura. Loved the Rear Crosses.

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