Disc Dog Flatwork | Flank Mechanics

Expansion or Contraction of the Flank

Setting the Flank can be done to expand or contract the flank. Throwing to expand the flank makes the flank wider, giving the dog and handler more time and space to work and cultivates a bigger or more loose outrun. Contracting the flank shrinks the outrun and makes the interaction between dog and handler happen more quickly.

A normal throw is what we call a Free Release, and does not have much to do with the flank other than the basic direction, clock or counter.

Strong and Weak Flank

Most dogs have a bias towards the clockwise or counter clockwise direction. That is what we call the Strong Flank. Most handlers (right handers) tend to work in the clockwise direction, which may or may not be the dog’s Strong or Weak Flank.

The Strong Flank wants to continue moving, and the Weak Flank wants to change to the strong working side.

Very few dogs are truly balanced, so one flank will be more likely to happen than the other. Knowing this is key to being able to plan team movement and disc management.

The Release

The direction and movement after the catch is a Release. Dogs want to release to the Strong Flank.

If you are throwing to the Weak Flank and not rushing to make another throw, the dog will often peel off, to get back on the Strong Flank. This peeling off is quite reliable and is illustrated above by the yellow line after the catch.

If you are throwing to the dog’s Strong Flank, the dog will most likely continue on the Strong Flank, as illustrated by the Red line.

A throw out the the front of the handler is not truly a flank, as it’s going out to the front, but it does have a Strong or Weak Release based upon the direction the dog is going.

The Strong Release tends to lead to a longer outrun, as the dog is comfy moving in that direction and doesn’t see a pressing need to change directions. The Weak Release happens a bit faster as the dog is eager to get back onto the Strong Flank or to be moving in his or her preferred direction.

Stay Tuned

Stay tuned. We’ll be taking a look at usage of this in the near future.

Check out the next installment:

Disc Dog Flatwork | Mechanics of the Intercepted Release