Tao of Disc Dog | Balance For the Dog

Compliments of: Disc Dog Radio

Performance is not Understanding. Just because a dog does it, doesn’t mean the dog knows how to do it or what they are doing. Speaking is about more than making sounds. Communication is more than sharing ideas.

A dog has a strong side and a weak side that is expressed by a preference for clockwise or counter clockwise movement. This preference for direction impacts many skills and freestyle concepts at the foundational level. The handler must know the dog’s strong and weak side to achieve a flowing, live, and limitless game of freestyle.

Drive is not Arousal. Drive is energy and focus applied towards work. Arousal gets in the way of good work. A dog that is jumping around so much that he misses a cue is not driven, he’s aroused. A dog that runs too fast to catch a disc is not too “fast”, he’s too aroused. There is a fine line between drive and arousal. Close to that line is probably where we want to be for the most live and compelling game from a fan’s perspective.

The judges might like to see more drive than arousal, but drive without arousal often looks mechanical and not so much fun.


Chasing and Striking discs is what disc dogs do, right? Those are two important aspects, but there is a third that is probably more important than both of those for flowing disc dog freestyle: Stalking.

Stalking is what the dog does to make a disc happen. Stalking is also what the dog does when he shifts from chasing to striking. Collection for a leap is a variation of Stalking even if momentarily while on the run.

How much time have you dedicated to cultivating the Stalking behavior in your dog?

Dog Training in Western Michigan
Excerpt from the Tao of Disc Dog
By Ron Watson

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