Video Assessment – Flip to Dog Catch with Blue

0:00 – 0:23 – The flip and catch are working great. Nice gainer flip for a well established target. Catching Blu on your hip nicely. Looks comfy…but your throw needs a bit of work.

Toss or Take

Are you trying to bridge from a “Take” to a “Toss”? That’s what it looks like to me.

The toss needs to be fluid, just like There Is no Flick. We can dial it in physically in a hangout sometime soon.

It also should be quite obviously out of your hand when Blu strikes the disc. The separation in a flip between the hand and the disc, while maintaining a predictable, reliable, and cool looking flip, is a big part of the game of disc.

Discs should fly like Frisbees, not like balls or tug toys. If there is no separation between hand and disc then you’re not really playing disc. And you can get out of control with that, take it too far, but the point is that you will look cooler if you throw the discs a bit more… Set the throw and then ask your dog to go and get it.

Fake Out

Give a couple of reps of There Is no Flick and fake Blu out a few times. This will get her excited and dialed in and will also help keep her honest about targeting then jumping to catch a frisbee vs jumping to where she thinks the frisbee should be.

So you’ll fake a few crisp, There Is No Flick kind of tosses, and then toss the disc to where you guys have been biting takes and she should really nail it.

Hope that makes sense.

BTW… Love the intent to elicit a leap on your out throws as well. Great intent and way to be present at release.

Setting Up

00:30-1:00 – I was going to mention that your scoot was kind of habitual or ritual in your flipping, and it looks to be the case for the dog catch skill, and not the flip. @0:40 you have that nice little through to back flip (where you get the separation I mentioned above), but then you go right back into the scoot to dog catch.

I think you should break up that pattern in general, mix in a non-gainer flip here and there for contrast, and work from a couple of different set up moves and from a simple front. To make sure that you’re not just pattern training based on your body language.

Horizontal Placement

1:00-1:30 – Looks like the horizontal placement is stronger both in terms of performance and in terms of separation.

1:30-2:30 – I’d be willing to bet that Blu thinks that the dog catch only happens after a scoot and that ritualistic presentation of the disc. I don’t think you altered that look once since starting.

You don’t want to have to do that set up anytime you want to catch your dog. This is that Contextual vs Conceptual understanding that we’ve talked about so much.

You want a dog catch from Front position. Dog catch from heel position. Dog catch after a through. After a scoot… etc. all with the same cadence and general presentation – a sharper, crisper wet noodle kind of toss. 🙂

2:30-3:43 – Oh wow, interesting… your leap cue is the lifting of the target. When the target is lifted Blu jumps for it.

Dogs never, or hardly ever leap and catch a disc that’s rising. Dogs are catching when the discs are hovering or falling. I think the lifting of the target might be beneficial earlier in training, Blu is slow and plans to leap, but at this point in time you need to get her more committed to the target.

Try This

  1. When you do an over or a flip, get the target to the spot quickly and leave it there.
  2. For the flip, work various set up moves to a sharp, crisp, There Is no Flick, kind of take, make note of where you guys are connecting, and once she’s on that presentation, then put the throw there – crisp and sharp-like. It’s a vertical hover.
  3. For the Over you’ll present it sharply and crisply earlier before Blu decides to leap for it. This should trigger prey drive and tell Blue where to leap for the catch. If she doesn’t go for it, take the disc away, reset and try again.
  4. We’ll work on the mechanics of the vertical hover in the next hangout we’re in.
  5. Make sure you verbally cue the dog catch before the dog leaps. It’s important for the dog to know that you, the handler, are responsible for the landing.


  1. Efi Noela

    First of all, thank you for telling me on the hangout to try it out. I wouldn’t even give it a try, as it looks difficult and complicated.
    On the first try I resisted catching and remained in to just touching Blu. On the third try we could do it at the level you see. It wasn’t impossible after all.
    You are right, several times at our disc sessions, she grabs the frisbee before I even toss it. I’ll practice for better throwing. This has happened for two reasons.
    1. Blu wouldn’t jump high enough at flips, so I couldn’t catch her.
    2. If I threw the disc as I do in flips, she was too far away from me.
    I tried after your advice but it has become such a strong habit on me that I tried very hard to throw as I do in flips when I want a dog catch. Muscle memory is hard to get rid of. :-p For the distance problem, if I can manage to throw as in flips, eventhough I want a catch, I solved it by stepping towards her. I think that with practice I’ll get used to it.

    By fake out you mean that because I flick Blu thinks that the disc will be somewhere else? Do I have to pretend to throw by stopping my arm and then not releasing the disc? I didn’t get that.
    I tried the no flick thing and besides that the disc goes further, I have no control at all to where I throw as I’ve gotten used to throwing this way up to now.
    What puzzles me is that, is there no flick even for close throws, such as flips and vaults? I do use my wrist a lot for stationary, vertical throws.

    Yes, through means a flip may follow, scoot means a flip with a catch will follow. I don’t have a verbal cue for catching (we don’t get along with words) so I introduced this so she will feel at ease – and know it – when I catch her. I’m fading that out as we’ll get better. When should I give the verbal cue? Before the cue for the flip? Or is it one cue for both flipping and dog catch?

    “Dogs never, or hardly ever leap and catch a disc that’s rising. Dogs are catching when the discs are hovering or falling”. Really? I thought otherwise. That’s another reason I hardly separate disc from hand for the dog catch.

    Thank you for all you help and advice!

  2. noela

    I also have one more question about the over. Blu should catch the frisbee when jumping over me, right?
    I should throw the frisbee between me and her for the over-catch, right?
    I’ve been wondering for months how on earth I will do the throw, she will catch it and then land after me. Is there a video showing this happen so I get an idea?

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