There are only three rules of bitework, and as long as the rules are followed the game continues. Breaking the rules is cheating, and the game will slow down or stop for as long as the situation requires.
- Bite Only When Asked
- Release has many meanings in disc. Throws and throw variations can be referred to as releases. Sometimes you talk about the dog releasing something, the toy, or the environment, as When I ask
- Never, Ever Touch Me
Bite Only When Asked
It is very dangerous to have a dog that strikes at toys whenever they are available. I have been bitten, and have seen many other people bitten by their dogs when an unsolicited strike on a toy occurred.
Release When I Ask
Bitework is an activity or a game that consists of biting and dropping a toy on cue. Cued Bites and cued Drops (and Gives) can be used to teach and really turns on a dog’s drive. We are activating something primal in our dogs, turning them on. We are allowing them to bite hard and rip and tear.
This scale runs the gamut of drive. For the non-biting dogs, if they touch it with their teeth, drop the disc, mark and reinforce. The criteria is “A Take is a cued Bite that replicates the placement and timing of a throw. Usually used with overs, vaults, and flips, the Take is a powerful teaching tool for It” or remove it from the hand, not pull hard, right?
When engaging a dog in bitework, it is very important she always follow the cue to release.
Releasing the target needs to be taught before you can enforce rule #2.
Never, Ever Touch Me
This is the most important rule of all. Dogs are simply not allowed to make mistakes when it comes to touching teeth to flesh. Disc dogs run discs down and snag them, five feet in the air, at 30 mph. Their mouths are precision tools. Dogs don’t really make mistakes with their teeth. The only reason for missing toys and biting hands is carelessness on the dog’s part or permissiveness on the handler’s part, and one usually follows the other.
Any time you are bitten while tugging, no matter how insignificant, you need to quit the game immediately and abruptly and take a break. If teeth touch flesh, the game stops.