What Can I expect to Learn at a Pawsitive Vybe Disc Dog Seminar?
You can expect to learn a ton about throwing, handling and playing the game of disc with your dog. There is no set schedule in our seminars – learning takes place a bit more organically. Essentially we’re approaching teaching seminar participants the same way we approach our dog training:
Below I’ve listed 57 of our lessons that we have available to us in a seminar. For those of you who have taken seminars from us, many of these will sound familiar. For those of you who are considering learning with us, each of these lessons can be compressed into 2 or three sentences or expanded to fill 30 minutes. Many of these lessons tie into eachother and are often organized to mesh seamlessly and some are always covered at our seminars.
Training Menu – Jamming in 57 Flavors
A Proper Foundation Built on Positive Training.
- Two Targets – Live & Dead
- Choosing a disc – Choose your Weapon
- Marking Behaviors – Yes! Good!
- Criteria is a key concept of dog training. Criteria is what exactly the handler is looking for out of the dog at any given time as a metric for success. Criteria is the thing the Positive Marker is marking. It is the desired behavior. It really should be criterion, as that is the singular expression of criteria and a discrete,... More – Set it and Get it!
- Rate of Reinforcement can be expressed in terms of Cookies Per Minute (CPM). How many cookies delivered over time has a great impact on dog training. Traditional positive training says you should shoot for 15-30 CPM for learning and heavy distractions. Rate of reinforcement should strategically be used to teach and leverage and reinforce good behavior. Tons of Cookies while... More – Success is Catchy!
- Patience – Waiting Works
- Go Do Dog Stuff... Dismissal means that the handler is off limits. It doesn’t mean the dog has to go, or that work is finished, or stop doing that behavior, it just means that the handler is off limits now and the dog has to occupy her own time. This is a powerful concept that can be leveraged to manage... More – Go do dog stuff
- Tugging – Bite and Bond
- Out – Pavlov’s Drop
- Back Chain the Catch – Toss to Bite
- Go Round – Spinning Lure
- Short Toss – Short Catch
- The Roller is a great throw for reinforcing a dog with a disc. Instead of flying through the air like a wing, the Roller rolls on the ground like a wheel; a fast, bouncy, super exciting wheel. Dogs really like Rollers as reinforcement. Rollers make great cookies. Rollers are also great teaching tools for the catch. They stand up and... More – More time, hitting the rim.
- Slider – Rewarding for Position
Learning to Run
Team Movement is how dog and handler move, as a team, out there on the field. It is a judging category in some organizations and certainly is a focus of many judges, players, and fans, when assessing the performance of a freestyle routine. Is movement synchronized? Is it cooperative?Do dog and handler move well together? Are they moving together at... More is a key to consistency and performance.
- Directional Feeding is the underlying essence of disc dog freestyle. As a concept, it consists of reading the dog’s line and delivering a well placed disc that elicits a leap where she is going to be. Directional Feeding is an important drill and skill for all disc dogs and handlers. It teaches the handler how to read a dog and... More – Throw it to where I’m gonna be!
- Directional Leading – Moving in Concert
- Consequent Game – Communicating with Flow is a key component of the modern day disc dog game. Keeping your dog moving with seamless, ever moving and flowing sequences with little to no set up time is the goal for many disc doggers. Moving smoothly between tricks and sequences establishes flow. Doing that creatively and in unique fashion makes for great flow.... More
Here and There
Building patterns on the Field of Play.
- The dog puts his face where the Cookie or the disc happens. Where you put the reward matters. Reward Placement is huge in disc dog freestyle. Your dog’s face will always wind up where you throw the disc. He will go where the disc happens. If a disc in thrown to a place, the dog will return from that place.... More – Discs are Dog Magnets!
- Toss and Fetch – Go Deep!
- Setting the Flank means to throw out to your right or left. It’s really simple, just face any direction, send the dog Around, and then turn and throw the disc out to the side. It is important to face forward first, as the Flank is out at 9 or 3 o’clock, and you want to condition the dog to be... More – Work on the Side
- A Zig Zag is a series of catches in smooth succession that forces the dog to move back and forth across the field. Usually performed at a distance of 8-20 yards, the Zig Zag is a skill that highlights teamwork, throwing, and leaping ability. It is also a tremendous leaping drill that can be used to teach a dog to... More – Xs
- Round the World – Os
Basic Throwing Skills
One of the hardest lessons to learn in disc sports is that it’s always easier than you think.
- Catch High – Overhand Wrist Flip & Push
- Catch Low – Side Arm & The Backhand toss is the traditional disc throw. While it might not be the easiest throw of them all, it is the easiest to throw a hundred yards, and it is the easiest to float and hover, and that’s what discs are supposed to do. The Backhand throw will be your best and most accurate throw. Be sure to leverage... More
- Human Freestyle Basis for Learning – Learning through Play
- Shoulders – Dial it In
- The Flick Myth
Enhanced Throwing Skills
Taking Throwing to the next level. Learn to Throw with Intent
- At Pawsitive Vybe we call discs that hover above the target Floaters. Floaters float and hover in the air above the target creating more time for a dog to make the decision to leap up and snatch it. Floaters are like a dare, they almost tease the dog into leaping. A well floated disc is a nearly irresistible target for... More – Hang Time
- Placement Drills – Bullseye
- Placement Theory – Right Place – Right Time
Rounding out the game.
- Set Up Moves are tricks that are used to establish timing and position in disc dog freestyle. Traditional tricks include: Around, Through, Backwards Through, and Scoot, but any or all of your tricks, could, conceivably, become a Set Up Move, just put it in front of something else. Set Up Moves are tricks that are used to establish timing and... More & Position – Get Set for a Good Start
- Flipping – So that’s what Geometry was for…
- Sequencing – … Through…Wait… Flip
- Unsolicited eye contact or Attention is a great way to hook up with a dog. If you have something the dog wants he should give eye contact in order to get access to it. This quickly becomes akin to asking permission for things that the dog wants. If your dog offers Attention when they see something they want, most dog... More – Creating Operant Drive is focus and energy applied towards work. There are many kinds of Drive: social drive, tracking drive, prey drive, bite/kill, stalking, and food to name a few. Social drive, prey drive, and bite/kill are the types of Drive most active in the game of disc dog freestyle, and are all fairly desirable. Stalking and tracking drive can be tough... More
Vaults and Overs
Vaulting and Overs are about Teamwork and Understanding.
- Teaching the An Over is any leaping catch that happens over top of the handler’s body. Overs are usually named by the part of the body over which the dog flies, i.e - Leg Over, or the position you are in while doing the Over - Seated Over, Spinning Over, etc. Overs should be taught before Vaults.... More – Hup Pup!
- Lower is Not always Safer – The ‘Safe’ The dog uses the player´s body as a launching pad to jump for a disc. A Vault is a leaping catch from the handler’s body. The dog leaves the ground for the target and uses the handler’s body to get there. There are many different styles and variations of vaults, but they are commonly described by the part of the... More
- Timing – Too Late
- Vault Toss – Set it Right There!
- A Stall has the dog leaping up and chilling out on the handler’s back. Stalls are great for showmanship and for presenting a dog to the crowd. They create a dramatic or emotive pause amidst the craziness of a disc dog freestyle routine.... More – Top – Rebound – Vaulting Concepts
- Landing Safe – Trajectory, Funnel and Flow
- Repetitive Stress – What’s the Frequency?
Flatwork is Flow
Learn to Move as a Team.
- Foundational Theory – Fluid Dynamics
- Crosses – Agility Crossover
- Xs and Os – Reading Your Dog’s Lines
- Inside/Outside Push – Get in or Get out
- Position – Predictable Positioning with Discs
- Directional Leading – Shape Patterns with your Dog
- Positional Pressure comes in many forms in dog training. Positional Pressure, Performance Pressure, Environmental Pressure, the Plane of the handler’s body. Pressure is a fact. How you wield it or leverage it is up to you. Dogs tend to avoid Pressure and tend to hang out in areas where the Pressure is lower and can be pulled into areas or situations... More – Getting Pushed Around…
There is much to be taught with Bite and Drop.
- Rules – Rules of Biteclub
- Mechanics and Technique – Efficiency is a must in fast games
- Jedi Mind Drop – I am the Drop
- Waiting Works – Waiting 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.... More for it…
- Eye Contact – Automagic Attention
- Reward for Position – Money Spot
- Variable Reinforcement– Slot Machine Syndrome
- Patience in Drive – Good things happen to those who wait
- Consequent Game – Ebb and Flow
- Freight Training – The addition of something desirable to increase the likelihood of a behavior happening in the future. Reinforcement promotes behavior, it makes it more likely to happen. The “Positive” part of Positive Reinforcement means you add something of value away to reinforce behavior. In disc dog freestyle Positive Reinforcement is adding the opportunity to get a disc or to do more... More Feedback Loop
How Does that Work?
We evaluate each individual, each team and the group then try to deliver tailored instruction to the individuals and teams while keeping the flow going for the group. It’s a delicate act, but it works well for our style of teaching. Playing disc with your dog is a game with many, many variables, and we cannot cover all of those variables with a formal schedule.
Sometimes we go into a seminar planning to do one thing and the skillset from the participating teams does not match up with our intent. Sometimes the foundation is entirely missing. Sometimes there’s a regional or club bias that is hard for us to work with on the 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.... More.
I remember doing a seminar in the Netherlands and we were quite excited to deliver some of our flag and flash cuing and bitework to the Dutch teams. It was brand new at the time. The entire focus of the seminar was built around this bitework stuff. When we got there, we realized that nobody could get their dogs to bite discs in their hand. “Hups!…um… OK, let’s move on to Plan B!”
This has happened to us several times, and it is uncomfortable, for instructors, handlers and dogs, to try to cram square pegs into round holes. It’s much better to go with the flow and get the most out of our time. So instead of having a set itinerary, we’ve developed a menu of sorts.
A Typical Seminar
We open the seminar with some throwing warmup then we do a quick Evaluation Jam. The Eval Jam is 2 minutes max/team, and the seminar instructor takes notes and prepares a lesson plan.
After the Eval Jam we start throwing. We do lots of throwing. We teach you to throw cool throws, run drills to enable you to place discs in the right spot to make your dog look good, and we breakdown foundational disc principles into regular old English.
Personal Sessions usually take place right after lunch. Apryl and I will work with each Working Team for 10 minutes. Participants that are not working with the instructor are encouraged to observe other participants personal sessions. If there are 18 working teams, an observant handler can get 180 minutes of very good disc dog instruction and can see it in action on several dogs. There is much to learn observing teams in a learning process.
We do a little distance throwing, some fidgets, do a cookie or a bitework session with the dogs, and add in some in depth analysis on safety, vaulting, throwing, routine building, sequencing, and all kinds of other things.
We might get a 3rd jam session, we might not.
That’s about it.
It Sounds Hard. I Don’t Think I’m Ready
We structure our instruction so it fits the team. If you just want to get your catch discs and bring them back for a backyard game of catch, that’s cool. We can do that. Want your dog to give up the disc for you? No problem. You’ll get more than that, and you’ll have fun doing it, but we can keep it simple.
A Pawsitive Vybe Disc Dog seminar can put a great foundation on a dog and handler in an afternoon and can help you and your dog develop a solid communication system.
If your dog plays with toys and is fairly well socialized you’re ready for a working spot.
If you have any questions or comments post them below or Shoot me a note.