Irrational Leaping in Disc Dogs – Reframing Premature Ejumpulation

So the other day I was thinking about the Premature Ejumpulation thing… obviously, I wrote a blog post about it

But a funny thing happened while I was writing that piece. I had this idea: maybe Premature EjumpulationAlso 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.... is not the way we ought to be looking at this idea.

Maybe the problem isn’t one of waiting, or preserving their sanity longer. Maybe it’s not even a question of out of control drive.

Maybe the problem of dogs leaping for discs that they cannot possibly even hope to catch, big monster leaps at a space where there is no disc has nothing to do with drive or emotion at all. What if it is a completely rational problem… It’s been driving me nuts ever since…

Premature Ejumpulation – Just Wait

It’s a super clever term, Premature Ejumpulation. It’s funny and it makes people laugh. It’s a pretty good description of the motives we ascribe to the catching of a disc by our dog – orgasmic. At the very least, seriously desirable – the catch is the whole point, and our dogs love it right?

It also looks a lot like what we’re talking about with dogs that don’t wait for the disc. Everything is fine, and then there’s some kind of malfunction in the equipment and it’s over. If only the dog would wait…

So we have this over drive problem because the disc is so awesome that overwhelms our dog and forces them to act too quickly. The solutions are to teach a WaitWaiting on cue and situationally is extremely important for disc dog freestyle training. The competition field might not see too much waiting going on as everything is supposed to be happening in flow, but on the training field there probably is not a more important skill than a Wait. A Wait is critical for flipping and vaulting...., to give them pause, teach them not to jump, or adjust their drive out there.

That pretty much guarantees that the only solution ever tried out there to solve the problem of Premature Ejumpulation is to teach a Wait.

Irrational Leaping – What’s the problem?

So the idea I had that has been driving me crazy is this idea of Irrational Leaping. Same problem as before… dog runs off down the field, like an animal, and leaps at crazy and unpredictable times and targets:

It’s totally irrational!
I mean, sometimes the discs are not even there!”

This phrasing changes the entire conversation, doesn’t it? Instead of it being all about: too early, Wait!, and overwhelmed with drive…

Now it is,”Why is the dog not leaping rationally?” Viewing this as Irrational Leaping doesn’t give us a one size fits all answer, it asks us to find the problem.

Are they running too hard? Do they know to catch it? Do they like to pick it up off the ground or something? Is the angle correct? It’s now a search to find a gap in knowledge. So, how much knowledge of leaping catches at various distances and angles does your dog have? How much do you have?

The ideas that are conjured up if we’re thinking of Irrational Leaping – these ideas are where we need to be looking for our training solutions. These training solutions will build our knowledge base and practical experience with the skills at hand and improve our entire game.

I’ll probably be hitting upon this again in the near future and would love to have your thoughts and comments to add to the mix.