The Flank is Out to Your Left and Your Right
think of the Clockwise Flank like heel position at a distance. when your dog is working out on your left, facing the same direction as you, you are working the Clockwise Flank.
3 keys to the Clock Flank:
- turn to your right to make it happen
- throw left to make it happen
- stay connected with your dog
- forget about the throwing hand
- solve trouble with reward placement
Turn Right and Your Dog is on Your Left
when your dog is in front of you, if you turn to your right, the dog will wind up on your left. this is the Clockwise Flank.
You can set the Clockwise flank with a toss to your left. The dog will move in a clockwise fashion to a spot somewhere in front of the handler. Another way you can accomplish setting the flank is to simply turn to your right a bit until your dog is out to your left side.
This is great for dynamic sequencing and beautiful flow from vaults, overs, and passes.
Throw Left to Make it Happen
if you throw to your left, the dog will approach in a Clockwise fashion and will be on the Clock Flank.
Throw to the left either out of a Go Around or from Front position and you will set the dog on a Clockwise Flank. As your dog is returning to the front with the disc, if you turns ever so slightly to your right and look back at your dog, you can get your dog to continue to try to circle to the front. It’s pretty sweet.
Stay Connected with Your Dog
when you set the flank, work to hold it. working the Flank is a bit of a give and take. too fast or too slow and you lose it. stay connected. you’ll feel it.
When you set the Flank and you and your dog are hooked up, understand that you are engaged in a cooperative effort. You might be leading, but you have to make sure your dog is following. The Flank is a team effort. You’ll feel the hookup. Once you feel it, hold it until you throw.
If you look at the picture you’ll see that the disc is being pointed at the dog. The higher your disc is, the further away your dog will work. Point at the ground and your dog will work on you, point ‘out there’ and your dog will work a bit further away. This is only true if you have a full spectrum of reward placement – everything from Bite to 30 yard throw.
Forget About the Throwing Hand
the biggest problem with working the Flank is the idea that the handler has to throw the disc. the flank happens before the throw.
Your throwing hand is irrelevant to the Flank and to setting the Flank. The only thing that is important is the hand closest to the dog, that trailing hand, that is what is important. With the Clockwise Flank you will be pulling with the Left hand, even if you are a right hander. You will pull with your left hand until you decide to throw, at which point you will deliver a disc from your throwing hand.
A good rule of thumb is to keep 1 disc in each hand when working these flanking skills.
Troubleshooting with Reward Placement
your dog goes where the discs happen. use this to create or bolster the flank pattern. throw it where you want the dog to be or to create the directional change that you are looking for.
Dog is out on your left. You want to run a Clockwise Flank, but the dog is beelining it right towards you. Throw out to your left, to where you want the dog to report to at the start of the flank. It’s nice to work off the Drop cue… “Drop! – Yes!
Many times problems Working the Flank come from not having experience dropping a disc at a distance and/or not catching consecutive discs away from the handler – the dog always runs out for a disc and brings it back. That pattern is hard to break especially if it has been reinforced for a few years.