A Dog’s Eye Perspective | The Flatwork Compass & Crossing Pass with Loot

The movements of the Flatwork Compass are both how humans move to throw and how humans move dogs. The stepping forward for the Flank pushes the dog out and in the direction we’re stepping and the switching and opening up pulls the dog towards us for the Pass.

Let’s take a look from a dog’s eye perspective.

Watch the video then read on, After you’re done with the images, check out the video again.

Seeing the Release

This is a key element of successful disc play. If the dog sees the disc from hand to mouth, there is a high likelihood of making a catch.

0:33 – Loot gets a good look at the disc leaving my hand on the Clockwise Flank.

A big part of the Flatwork Compass is creating this habit for both dog and handler. This habit is not installed on many dogs because the dog learns to predict, quite accurately, the direction of the throw based upon the handler’s movements building up to the throw. The feet and the start of the backswing are two common movements that trigger action.

The trigger for action in the Flatwork Compass is the disc shifting from vertical to horizontal. Once that happens, it’s on. This is the same trigger for the Low High toss and can be considered an extension of the concept.

As a result, the dog gets a chance to see the disc leave the handler’s hand, dramatically increasing the likelihood of a catch.

0:48 – Loot getting a good look at the disc on a Clockwise Pass.

Working with Pressure

In the Flatwork Compass we teach the dog to respect and read pressure. It’s not just feel the pressure and bolt. In the image below the pressure is quite obviously pulling Loot to where the two arrows would meet. Most dogs would bolt into this pressure gap, blasting by the handler and making a Team Movement hook up a tough proposition.

1:30 – All signs are pointing Loot at the Counter Clock Pass. This is the same blocking position as the start of the Flatwork Compass.

But Loot has experience with the Flatwork Compass and he knows that this position looks familiar. It will either be a Clockwise Flank (off to the left of the image) or a Clockwise Pass because that is how it works.

1:31 – The Cross has already happened. Loot has read the shifting feet and moving hands and knows that this is going to be a Clockwise Pass and he will move to where the Arrows are pointing.

Now that Loot has gotten the cue we are hooked up. And he will continue to read the situation until the disc comes out of my hand.

A Deeper Interaction with Pressure

The same situation is setting up here. Loot is reading the Counter Clock Flank from me and is moving in that direction, but he is doing so thoughtfully, as he knows that things could change in a moment. He’s looking to see what I do with my hands and feet…

1:36 – Loot is moving in Counter Clock, which is his Strong Flank, I am sending a signal that we are hooking up in that direction.
1:37 – Loot has already changed the Working Flank. We are now going clock. He thinks this is going to be a Pass.
1:37.5 – It’s a half a second later and you can see that it looks like we’re going to do the Pass… but I’m not throwing, and I’m still applying some forward pressure. hmm…
1:37.6 – See that foot lifting? Loot does. See the disc in the right hand shifting forward? How about the knee lifting to step forward? All of this points towards the the Clockwise Flank!? What? I thought it was a Pass… It was, now it’s a Rear Cross.

This deeper, more sustained interaction with pressure will Allow Loot and I to do a real smooth Rear Cross. Not some spinny, skidding thing in front of me, but a real pretty and elastic Rear Cross that we can work out of for a nice leaping catch or another Crossing Pass.

1:38 – And look at that… We’re back on the Counter Clock Flank…

Where’s My Dog?

There he is…

Match and Switch

1:39 – Switching feet and opening up down the line for the Pass…
1:39 – Boom here we go!

Make the Throw

This type of smooth Flatwork and Team Movement is made much easier by the continuous and clear communication on the approach and the consistent communication that comes from experience with the Flatwork Compass.

Flatwork Compass and Crossing Pass

There it is. All set up in one neat little package. Navigating with the Flatwork Compass and moving with the Crossing Pass. Most all flatwork and Team Movement is made far more simple with these two simple tools.

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