Those who have worked with us know what Directional Feeding, Directional Leading and the Pawsitive Vybe Ribbon (PVR) are. You are also probably familiar with how these patterns develop. They build a fast paced game that we harness and drive with our flatwork.
The other day one of our Disc Dog Foundation grads and a Disc Dog Camp participant asked a question about Xs and Os on Facebook. It brought out this concept of Oppositional Feeding is the opposite of Directional Feeding. The handler throws a disc in the opposite direction that the dog is moving. Oppositional Feeding is a flatwork and training technique.
Oppositional Feeding is a technique that I have been using for some time now to slow my dogs down a bit and get them to settle in and work away from me but I could not figure out how it fit within our [caption id="attachment_27605" align="alignleft" width="300"] Counter Clockwise Working Flank[/caption] Flatwork is the stuff that happens between the catches. How the team moves and transitions, often without the disc, is flatwork. Flatwork Foundation.
And then it hit me:
Oppositional Feeding is the exact opposite of 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. Instead of throwing the disc to a 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 on the dog’s chosen line, where your dog is going to be, you throw it to where your dog used to be, or from whence he came.
The dog goes where the Reward Happens so placing the reward further away from the handler, in the opposite direction that the dog is running, should get her to stay further away. It will also reduce the value on the handler and should slow down that bullet train retrieve.
Of course she probably is not going to catch the first few tosses popped out behind her, but that’s not a bug, it’s a feature. The missed opportunity of making a catch forces the dog to alter her behavior, in this case she will slow down and pay attention to where the disc will be thrown.
The first time it happens, your dog is going to stop and look at you, “Dude! WTF? I’m going this way…” Freeshaping is allowing the dog to lead the training session and shaping that behavioral leadership into some kind of trick, skill, or behavior. Shaping and Freeshaping are sometimes considered synonymous,, or send the dog out to fetch the missed disc,”Um… dude, it’s right over there.”
The dog will grab the disc and will start hustling back. Cue the Drop, mark it and reinforce with another throw to where the dog used to be. This will probably draw another confused stare. Just ignore it and repeat. After a few reps, the dog will slow down that retrieve, or even stop and wait some distance away from you. You can mark this if you want or not, no biggie, but make sure to reinforce it well.
Pretty simple, right? The Give is a retrieve to the hand. A cued Give is a foundational skill that is not super useful in the actual performance of disc dog freestyle, and has it a shot. Here are a few more examples:
Got questions? Comments?
Let me know what you think in comments below.