Nothing gets in the way of patience and methodical movement like pattern training in dog frisbee. When a rabid frizbeast knows what is coming and where it is going, odds are the dog is going to go for it, and hard. This is one of the problems that I have with freestyle routines and it gets worse later into the year. By World Finals time my frizbeasts are cutting corners and running on autopilot which can and does cause timing problems for the team.
Create a Question
The simple answer to this automagic problem is to create a question. In this video, I create a question by simply doing nothing.
In the first rep, if you watch it in slow motion (I’d recommend watching all vids on YT on a mobile device), you can see that Eppie really drops his head low for acceleration purposes as soon as he gets the cue.
So he sees the situation and gets the cue and he’s on autopilot – he knows what’s coming. He’s excited about it and knows what to do, so it is easy to get carried away. It is much harder to get carried away if you don’t know what’s happening.
After the first no-throw, it is easy to see the difference in his approach.
The above quote came from a conversation I had with Georgios about this topic several months ago. I wrote a very long philosophical piece from it that never got posted because it lays out a bit too much personal perspective and comes off a bit whiny about society. The quote is true, though. It is a philosophical divide, and it is my problem with the hyper focus in disc dog freestyle on The Routine™.
I want to be able to do all the things, whatever I want, and a routine, IMO, gets in the way of that. I’ll get off the topic now before I get up on the soapbox and risk sounding like a street preacher.
By simply not throwing as he expects, I create a question in his mind. A question that must be answered before we get to do the thing.
A few reps of this and the ever-present potential for a random expression of a no-throw is an easy way to keep your dog honest and avoid the pitfalls of a pattern trained reality.
Not throwing to the dog, or throwing the dog random curveballs in The Routine™ helps the dog to actually read situations and to respond to the reality on the field rather than their understanding of the routine in their head.