Crossing and the 4 Keys of Flatwork

Communication is Key

If you listen to the audio from this footage you can hear the communication going on. Marking the drop of the disc and reinforcing with that Consequent Cue, that pop of the hand and sweeping movement. Marking the commitment to moving with the handler and reinforcing with a throw. It’s nice teamwork.

Contrast that with the times that Loot doesn’t Drop on cue or refuses a directional cue. What game would you want to play?

The Drop is Key

The drop makes the Consequent Cue happen. Nothing happens without the cued Drop. As soon as the teeth come off on the Drop, the cue pops out. The Drop is a strong point of leverage in dog training. It’s a linchpin concept for many skills.

The Hook Up is Key

Notice the Hook Up position that Loot is presented after the drop. That hookup Sets a Working Flank. The handler needs to set up and turn so we are moving in the same direction as the dog – just a little bit if you want to move slowly or easily, or turn a bunch and make the dog feel as if they are losing a race behind you.

If you put your disc filled hand up towards them a bit and guide them in, the Hook is Set. You can now start to push and pull the dog around, bring them in close to us, or we can give Cross cue – heck we can do any of them, because the dog and handler are hooked up.

Commitment is Key

What you are doing with Flatwork is moving your dog around the field. You are pushing and pulling. This happens through handler movement, primarily your shoulder orientation and the orientation of upper torso, but also your feet, legs and hips. Movement, intended movement, or simulated movement by the handler creates and relieves pressure that pulls or pushes on the dog.

When the handler commits to a movement it is much easier for the dog to follow. Watch these videos a few times and notice how the dog commits to these shoulder and body movements. We’ve got to Set the Hook here, just like with Luring, to get the commitment of the dog. Once the hook is set and the handler is committed to a movement, the dog will follow.

4 Keys of Flatwork

  1. Communicate

    Mark what you like and be consequent

  2. Drop

    Be honest on the Drop

  3. Hook Up

    Set the Hook with the trailing hand

  4. Commit

    Dog and Handler must commit

Related Articles

The Purpose and Value of Recognizing Shapes in Disc Dog Freestyle

Shapes are created by the position and movement of dog, handler, and disc. And shapes can be created by the dog, the handler, and the placement of the disc. Shapes are a fact of disc dog freestyle.

When the dog leaves the handler for a catch, that tends to create a line. When the dog is away from the handler and moves across the field to make a catch, as in a Zig Zag or Around the World, that tends to create a Shape.


  1. Ron – I’m having trouble downloading this. No “save as” option is popping up when I right-click.

  2. No dice….could it be something on my end? I can watch it, just can’t download.

    1. Watched it with Abby… Assessment coming soon… Great stuff, Laura. Loved the Rear Crosses.

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