Here’s a recent training session with Loot that features some A Disc Dog handling system practiced by the Japanese USDDN contingent, developed by Yachi Hirai with the spirit and influence of Melissa Heeter and Pam Martin. ... things we learned at Camp Hirai.
This drill is pretty standard, but the combination with the Low High toss and the variable distances really are key elements to successful Big Overs and Big Leaping in general.
High Jump – No Disc
One of the things that the various distance aims to cultivate is a sense of “touch” on behalf of the dog when it comes to leaping. Most disc dogs just BLAST through, full throttle, after the disc when a target as luscious and beautifully teed up as these over tosses are. They kind of lose their minds.
The high jump warm up, at near maximum leaping height is a great way to force a realization of “touch” as the dog throttles down to go as high as they can over the jump.
The various distances are key as well. Most people realize that a long run up to a high jump is probably not a good technique for successful high jumping – too much speed makes it hard to leap high.
The various approach distances to the jump expands the dog’s understanding of speed and jumping, much like localized landing, or set point work.
A real high high jump will force the dog to slow down and collect well. Having that on the mind while working a Most players have several overs and the Big Over is the largest, and most impressive of them. Frequently, the Big Over goes over the center of the handler’s body, but that is not a necessity. Generally speaking, the Big Over is your largest and most impressive Over.... is a nice bonus.
36 Inch Jump with Toss
36 inches seems a good height for Loot and the Big An Over is any leaping catch that happens over top of the handler’s body. Overs are usually named by the part of the body over which the dog flies, i.e - Leg Over, or the position you are in while doing the Over - Seated Over, Spinning Over, etc. Overs should be taught before Vaults.... at this time. 44 requires too much focus and exertion. I’d like to get there some day, but at this time, we need success and confidence to challenge this big Skill.
This is our first work at 36 inches. We’ve only been up to 33 or so with our cone jumps. So it’s a bit high.
I think the height of the jump should be challenging, to not be challenged by the height is to accept it as something the aggressive chasing dog can simply blast through.
I worked Loot on a 52 inch jump, a hair too high for him, and it drastically altered his collection. He didn’t fly over it on the run like he did with the 44 inch warm up in the video.
Something challenging, I’m at 28 inches with Epic, and he’s kind of a big leaper for a little guy. But 20-24 could be a great height for dogs that are challenged on the leaping front.
Low High Timing
This drill is about getting the team’s timing right to handle the throw on the Big Over. Finding that timing is hard. There are several angles to timing the throw using the Low High technique that are important for communication and commitment by the dog.
In a proper Low High toss the disc drops in vertical fashion and bounces, at the bottom, into a horizontal flying position. The rhythm of this bounce is highly communicative of the intent of the thrower and the likely trajectory of the disc. It’s how we throw to babies, only better.
When the disc bounces from vertical to horizontal at the bottom of the toss, the dog is compelled to collect for the leap. When done properly, the dog seems to be torn of the ground by the action of the disc.
Compare the last two thrown Overs in the video to the first two. You should be able to notice that the last two seem to tear Loot off the ground. This is because that bouncing action is happening at the bottom of my toss and the dog is a proper distance away from the jump.
Finding the timing of when to start your toss is hard. It’s why we’re doing this drill.
Starting the toss at the right time to create the collection at an appropriate distance from the jump is no easy task. I’m happy to have a video camera on a tripod to compare the timing of various repetitions. It makes frame by frame comparisons simple.
More to Come
I’ll be working on this all winter. I’ve got a lot of other ideas and thoughts on this, but we’ll keep things short and sweet. Nice and topical. I’ll have more about this video on the blog in a bit.
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