Disc Dog Flatwork: Oppositional Feeding

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.

Oppositional Feeding

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.

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 Flatwork Foundation.

And then it hit me:
Oppositional Feeding is the exact opposite of Directional Feeding. Instead of throwing the disc to a spot 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.

Disc Dog Flatwork-Oppositional Feeding

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.

Practical Application

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…” Freeshape, 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? Give it a shot.

Got questions? Comments?

Let me know what you think in comments below.

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  1. Hi,

    Cool stuff.

    Here is another type of feeding that you all might call, for example, “Extreme Directional Feeding” or maybe “Fast-Paced Directional Feeding”. I call it the “Flyby”. When your dog recognizes the tell-tail signs of a Flyby cue, they can result in impressive displays of speed — especially when you try to get the lowest and fastest throw you can that your dog still has a chance to catch (i.e. catch up to in time).

    Here is a static camera film of a Flyby:

    1. Nice Vid, Glenn.

      That is pretty much directional feeding, although it’s a singular expression of it. Love the music and the cinematography.

  2. Yes. I wrote “directional feeding” — I just adding adjectives in front of it. 😉
    And yes, singular… due to the speed involved.. (Also for the sake of ease in filming and for the sake of clarity — to show the Flyby separate from other actions.)

    The music is one of my songs from an album i put out in Poland in 2000. The slow mo was filmed with a Casio camera that has a slow-mo option.

  3. I like this idea to slow Ember down in a routine and get her thinking a bit more. Do you think this would at all affect all the work we have put into having her bring the disc back and wait for the drop cue? She has gotten really good at holding onto the disc and I don’t want her to start dropping again too early or not bringing the disc all the way back. Well, I will let you know when I give it a try, hopefully later today.

    1. If you make the throw after the cued drop has happened it should not matter.

      Remember you want her to hold the disc just until she hears the drop cue.

      Good luck. I was working it today with Hops. It was a good session.

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