Interior Flatwork | How to Stop, Line Up & Lock In Your Disc Dog in 14 Seconds

Stopping and lining up your disc dog is built upon Flatwork. If you and your dog are good at this, you are good at Flatwork.

“What do you mean, I don’t run around with my dog? My dog doesn’t run in circles. I don’t even stick my arm out…”

This is the greatest misconception of Flatwork, that it is some kind of big arcing movement requiring that the handler run with the dog, and that you need to stick up your arm and pull the dog around in Basic Flatwork Position.

Flatwork is the simple application of positional pressure and reward Placement. Expressing and executing that simple application to get the type of movement you want is anything but simple, but it is that easy.

Short Attention Span Theater Version – 14 Seconds
Full version for better understanding and more examples…

20-24 Seconds – A Non-Example From Front Position (0-4 Seconds)

At 20 seconds, the dog is retrieving on a slight clockwise flank and the handler is signaling clock as well. With the right foot back, the angle of the body is pulling the dog to the handler’s right. It’s subtle, but it’s there, you should be able to see it.

0:20 | X Marks the Spot – Epic wants to wind up in front of the handler where the X is. Ron’s position is sending this signal. The dog’s right foot is reaching out in front – a clockwise lead. All looks good, right?

At 0:21, right as the teeth come off on the drop, the handler leans forward and left, towards the dog. This is counter clock pressure. What does the dog do?

0:21 | Eppie Bounces Out – Ron’s Body Shift applies pressure and Eppie bounces out Counter. The lead shifts to counter clock and Eppie approaches while watching the handler for clues…

0:23 handler pulls clockwise with chest, disc, and weight shift. Dog moves with handler. This movement creates a clockwise line that will be changed with the next shift if pressure to lock the dog down into counter clock.

0:23 | Disc and Upper Body Pull – Ron pulls Eppie with upper body, disc, and weight shift. Eppie slides over with handler. This movement is used to get the dog moving in one direction so the team can change directions together.

At 0:24 the handler shifts back to counter. This waggle type movement is necessary to get timed and hooked up before hooking up. It is the thing that was missing at the beginning of the skill and is the main problem with a Frontal Approach.

0:24 | Ron steps back with left leg, creating strong counter clock pressure. Eppie slides with Ron to get into that frontal position. This is, essentially a Front Cross. The team have moved from Clock to Counter Clock working flank.

This bumbling set up does not have to happen. In the video it was set up as a non-example,”What happens if the handler does nothing.”

To make this happen cleanly from a Linear Retrieve simply requires the handler do this little waggle maneuver while the dog is approaching.

We’ll get a good look at proper application of this skill on the Flanking Retrieve.

45 – 47 Seconds | Flanking Retrieve Example (4-6 Seconds)

The Flanking Retrieve provides a much more clean example of stopping, lining up, and locking the dog in to Front Position. There is no need for a waggle type movement because the line and directional pressure are already applied on the entry.

At 0:45, the dog is running to the front of the handler, and the handler is declared in a counter clock direction. This places strong positional pressure and reward placement (where would the disc be thrown for a backhand from this position) towards the front of the handler and the clockwise direction. Notice that this is happening at 8-10 yards.

0:45 | Declared Clock Flank – Ron has completely declared a Clockwise Flank and Eppie has received the signal 8-10 yards away. This is a very strong signal because both Positional Pressure and the potential Reward Placement of a Backhand toss tell Eppie that the game is happening in the lower right hand corner. Eppie is late to the Party…

The handler is setting the Clockwise Flank at 0:46. This setting or selling of the Flank is important to set the dog on the line that will be counteracted with the oppositional pressure moving in the other direction. Again, everything is screaming clockwise to the dog, but the handler is starting to shift, so the dog is paying attention.

0:46 | Setting or Setting the Flank – Ron has started to pull Clock and Eppie is coming in hot. It looks as if Ron might be shifting directions, so Eppie is paying close attention.

0:47 – Whoa! The Flank has shifted! Notice the dog is slamming on the brakes – a dust cloud is visible as the dog halts the clock movement and shifts to the Counter Clock Flank. If the handler freezes here with the Basic Standing Position Pose, the dog is locked in to this position.

0:47 – Locking the Dog In – Eppie is skidding to a stop, literally, as the flanks are shifted from Clock to Counter. This is a Front Cross, and it’s happening right here, right now. All that Ron has to do is freeze in BSP Counter (Counter Clock Basic Standing Position), and Eppie is locked in to the Front Position. Boom!


0:47 | Boom! Locked In – This is efficient use of positional pressure and is the essence of Flatwork. This is how you stop your disc dog, line them up, and lock them into position.

48 – 52 Seconds| Another Angle in Instant Replay (6-11 Seconds)

1:01 – 1:04 | With a Little More Flank… (11-14 Seconds)

This Is Interior Flatwork

This is Interior Flatwork. Interior Flatwork is how things should work. Other things can, and even should be done for style and creativity’s sake, but if you can’t do this with your dog, you’re in trouble.

Notice that a Spin or Twist maneuver that is often used to accomplish the stopping, lining up, and locking in is actually playing on the same idea – using the flank in one direction – too much in that direction followed by movement in the opposite direction to create pressure that stops the dog and locks him in.

As mentioned above, doing other moves to get set up is cool and can and should be a benefit to the numbers on the judges scorecards, but having to do other moves or not being able to do this is not as cool as many people think it is.

There is a fine line between a cool set up move and weak Interior Flatwork.

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