Quick and Dirty Prey Driven Cuing
flag and flash cuing provides for lively and explosive set up moves and also helps dogs commit to vaults and overs.
Flag and Flash is a type of cuing based upon prey drive. The pops the disc out sharply to be taken by the dog – this is the Flag. When the dog commits, the handler Flashes the disc away creating an eye popping near miss that is highly reinforcing.
This skill is about 4 things:
- build off the bite
- dog puts their face where the disc is
- arm and disc stay tight to the body
- be mindful of Reward Placement
Bite for Commitment
your dog should be committed to the Flag. that happens through solid bitework and occasionally letting the dog actually get the disc as presented.
Bitework is key for this skill. The handler is essentially asking the dog to fly around after the target, it’s often not very thoughtful work. The reactive nature of prey driven cuing is tempered by good bitework technique and mechanics.
Your dog must perceive opportunity in this cue. If the dog never, ever gets the bite, or you Flash too early before the dog has committed to the leap, you can drastically reduce the perceived opportunity in the presentation of the cue. Good flashing for the near miss, active chasing of the Flash during the skill, and sharp presentation of the Flag all can enhance the opportunity of this cue.
Dog Puts Their Face Where the Disc Is
put it higher! your dog puts their face where the disc is. make sure that is high enough for them to clear the obstacle.
When you place a target up in the air for your dog to bite be mindful that the dog’s head is at the top of their body. If the dog’s head is up top, and the dog is 22 inches tall, then you require about 20 inches of clearance between the disc and the obstacle. Anything less and your disc position will make the dog run into your obstacle.
Putting the target super high, like way higher than the skill requires, will ensure that your dog tries to put their face there. This can be extremely helpful in getting rid of the ‘dirty over’ aspect to this trick – that middle ground between over and vault. Lift that target super high and then when the dog commits, duck under and drop your body down a bit. It looks sweet!
Arm Stays Close the Body
on all of these Flag and Flash overs, your disc needs to remain close to your body above the obstacle. if your arm and disc gets away from your body, your dog is likely to avoid the obstacle.
Setting the Flag to send your dog over the back is tough for many handlers. Everyone wants to bend over and move their arm out to their right or left to set the Flag. The body doesn’t bend like that. Instead, put your disc on your hip, bend over, and pull your pinky up and behind your body towards your head – pretty much as high as you can. That sets the target plenty high for the dog to clear your body.
When flagging over your leg, for a Leg Over or a Leg Vault with a take, keep the disc on your body – above your hip, not the knee. The further away you get from your body the more likely the dog is to avoid the obstacle.
Be Mindful of Reward Placement
patterns develop quickly. when you flash the cue away, know that you are going to create patterns.
Flashing the disc down after going over the back creates a pattern for your dog. They start to anticipate the flash and they wind up leaving the ground with a crossed up leap that sets up a turned landing giving them better access to the bite that is coming.
Use your reward placement wisely. Don’t like a pattern that’s developing? Change it by rewarding somewhere else.