Tao of Disc Dog | Try Not Trying to Not?

Compliments of: Disc Dog Radio

Trying to not do the wrong thing is far more difficult than simply doing the right thing. If the wrong thing is the focus of the mind then where does that place the right thing? Obviously not there.


If there is no room for the Right Thing and you are trying to “Not Do” the message is crystal clear: you are trying to not do the wrong thing. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? Fill your cup with Try, Not, and the Wrong Thing, and doing the Right Thing spills out onto the floor. One might forget or never experience what the right thing is.

Trying to not be late on vaults makes everything about being late and all this drama and fear surround the vault toss – it’s like vaulting on eggshells. Improper timing is on the brain, well before, and while executing the skill. It’s a tough bind.

The flip side of this is to take time out of the equation. Make the throw so the dog leaves the ground for the target. No time involved whatsoever. If the dog leaves the ground for the target, the vault is by definition, well timed. Did the dog leave the ground for the target?

Don’t Be Late! Umm… Well When Do I Throw? Earlier. OK… When Exactly Is That?

Did the dog leave the ground for the target? Yes or No? What could be easier than that? It is a load off your mind and enhanced safety for the dog. 

There is no time in vaulting.

A simple shift to affirmative criteria, and the dilemma, the bind, is gone. It is a clear answer, you can see the evidence yourself while it’s happening. No need to ask anyone else about timing. Just throw so the dog leaves the ground for the target. Easy, right?


Affirmative and achievable criteria are actionable and easily reinforced. “Don’t do” and “to-be-avoided” criteria create a bind. Trying to not do the thing wrong Is like trying to not remember. Good luck with that. A slippery sloped thought loop centering around not doing and wrong with a little try on the side makes it tough to be present and gives no affirmative criteria for success.

It is very hard to “Don’t Do”, “Don’t Think”, and “Don’t Be”.

Far easier to Cue before do. Throw before go. Rush the dog. Move while. Throw so… Throw to… Affirmative criteria are all but required for learning and performing under pressure.

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

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