Shaping the Spot Behavior with Dismissal

What Is DOC?

  • Dismiss – Say, “Go Do Dog Stuff…”
  • Observe – Watch the Dog
  • CaptureMarkShort 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... and Reinforce Desirable Behavior

DOC is our Environmental Management Protocol. It is designed to help handler’s learn to passively handle their dogs. Dismiss the dog and then let her hang out there on her own in the environment and shape behaviors you would like her to use while on her own. Spot can become a default behavior that can be shaped for Environmental Management.


DOC for Action

Once there is Desire for the Spot or Pedestal and/or Desire for Duration, dismissIf a dog is dismissed, it means the handler is "off limits". Dismissal does not mean the dog has to leave, just that the handler is not available. Dismissal is a valuable drive management tool. Used to great effect on both high drive and low drive dogs, Dismissal turns environmental management into a freeshaping opportunity.... the dog, observe her casually and wait for her to go hit the spotSpot 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.... .  Mark and reinforce. If you’ve done our job in building the spot so far, the dog should be waiting there right now…

Add value to Action, by marking and reinforcing as the dog gets to the spot, or marking and reinforcing the sit or down – ShapingShaping is a learning technique where successive approximation and a Positive Marker are used to teach behaviors and communicate concepts. Successive approximation essentially means continually closer to the target behavior. So Shaping is a learning technique where you continually get closer and closer to the target behavior using a Positive Marker to tell the dog when she is right. It... the Spot.


DOC for Duration

Add value to duration by walking over and paying the dog for lying down patiently. Don’t use a marker and move easily. Eye conctact can be marked during the down in order to ensure that the dog gets feedback and is likely to continue lying down during the handler’s approach, but the idea is to not mark at all so the state of being down is reinforced. Redlight/Greenlight could also be used in case of a break in Duration.

Again, the idea is to reinforce the state of being motionless, an absence of action. Repetitive action works against Duration. Marking duration can be counter productive. If the dog is not staying well while approaching to deliver reinforcement, you might want to go back a step or three and get better at Releasing your dog.

Clicking marks action. Duration is an absence of Action. Don’t mark and let the cookies speak for themselves – Reinforce the State of Being.

DOC for Generalization

When the dog is dismissed you are free to do whatever it is you please in order to generalize your position (and activity). Dismiss the dog and sit down. Observe her, mark and capture the moment she hits the spot if you’re looking for Action, or just quietly capture her being in a lying down position and drop a cookie on her for Duration. Dismiss the dog while doing dishes? Be ready to capture the Spot. Dismiss while holding discs. 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.... for the spot and mark it…

We hope you get the hang of the DOC handling concept, not just for Spot training either. It’s really elegant and is extremely flexible. Feel free to ask questions about DOC below.

Shaping the Spot with DOC