Dogs often leap after they have missed the disc. This dog has over pursued and is leaping as a last resort.
Also known as Irrational Leaping, Premature Ejumpulation happens when a dog leaps before a disc is catchable. This phenomena is most often seen in long tosses and is almost always caused by running too aggressively and over-pursuing the disc.... Solutions in 3 Part Harmony
We’re often asked about the serious disc dog problem of Premature Ejumpulation. Nothing is more frustrating than having an awesome freestyle dog that does everything right and then totally bones out in your toss and fetch round – jumping for discs at 12 feet in the air as they soar under the disc with a heroic leap. Or they over-pursue and try to head off the disc by getting in front of it. Believe me, I know. Been there, done that…
It’s also pretty frustrating when you have a great leaper who loves to kill the disc that just doesn’t really seem care about the catch all that much on Zig Zags or out throws. In fact they kind of seem to like picking up the disc from the ground. Been there, too.
At Pawsitive Vybe we believe these kinds of issues are all variants of the disease known as Premature Ejumpulation, which, if we really boil it down to brass tacks means,”Doesn’t know how to catch discs at a distance.” Heh, kind of makes you think that waiting is not the only solution doesn’t it… maybe Irrational Leaping Syndrome is a better name…
Here’s a message I got the other day about this question via FB and my response:
Hi Ron, I hope you won’t mind a quick question. I have a young pup with very nice jumping potential, but… she takes off too early. Way too early. Quite spectacular but she misses a lot of discs, particularly when she’s excited. Do you have any reliable strategy for dealing with this? Thanks in advance! Justyna
And my answer:
[icon_list style=”font-size:24px; color:#ffba00; margin-bottom:0;”style=”] [icon_list_item type=”exclamation-circle”] 1. Short 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... the Catch well. Reinforce well…[/icon_list_item] [icon_list_item type=”exclamation-circle”]2. Manipulate and Force Collection [/icon_list_item] [icon_list_item type=”exclamation-circle”] 3. Leverage Pattern Training [/icon_list_item] [/icon_list]
Read these articles:
Mark and Reinforce Well
This dog has lined up the target and is leaping to go get it. It’s much different than leaping as a last resort, or after you have missed…
This really is a huge part of catching disc sometimes. Especially when there is a long or storied history of missed discs in training. Some really awesome Frisbee Dogs really don’t understand that they are supposed to catch the disc on toss and fetch. For many disc dogs the catch is kind of a bonus. For others the epic chase is plenty enough reinforcement, and are often more stimulated by the additional chase and bite of the disc bouncing off the ground, or ripping it from the ground than they are by any stupid old catch. The crowd can really influence this with serious competitive dogs – the collective oohs and aahs and other emotive responses from the crowd can totally mark and reinforce heroic misses.
It’s your job to draw attention to the catch and make it worth the dog’s while. That might mean offering a bite on a disc on the handler or throwing another disc immediately. This often runs into the ‘OMG! NO!!! We’re training toss and fetch! Don’t be that person…
Drills and skill development often violate the rules of the game. Turning off portions of the rules to deliver a pointed lesson is a hallmark and key to great training in sport – running tires in football, multiple futbols on the field at a time, 3 man teams, shorter distances, starting blocks only, no bar to jump over, higher hurdles, lower hurdles, [insert good sport drill here], I think you get the picture…
Throw It High
This provides 2 benefits. It forces the dog to track the disc and turns off the autopilot and eyes rolling back in the head approach to the disc. They’re working the catch, not running to a 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.... and trying to bite it.
The second benefit is that the dog winds up slowing down and lifting their head. It’s kind of like they crab their way down the field. This often happens while tracking the disc, and is not compatible with too much linear speed. It is a permanent state of Collection.
It’s important to make sure the disc doesn’t fall back on itself while curving. You want it to gently roll away from the dog – just a hair in front of them and running away when they near the catch. It’s not a leap you are looking for, and it probably won’t be too pretty, or effective when the dog does leap. Once the dog is slowed down and paying attention you can start to get back to the leaping and toss and fetch practice.
Leverage Pattern Training
Pattern training is an extremely important aspect to any athletic endeavor. Building a successful pattern that smooths over or eliminates a trouble spot is just smart dog training. First thing is to make the good behavior happen. Whether it’s The Catch in the case of Step, Step, Collect… Jump! or it is The Chase in Curving for Collection, creating and leveraging a pattern is a huge deal.