￼When most people work routines they have one of three purposes:
- Get A Through is a set up move where the dog runs between the handler’s legs. The dog can move from front to back or side to side and can even It
- Be Perfect
- Get Better
These options are limited, and they completely avoid the key question: How?
- How do I get through it?
- How can I be perfect?
- How do I get better?
When building and working your routine, spend some time running your routine towards these purposes:
Focus Between the Tricks
Play with the purpose to focus on the moments between the tricks. Let the importance of each individual trick or each sequence fall off a bit, and run the routine with the focus on the moments between the tricks. The Rhythm is in the gaps – place your focus there and find that rhythm.
This is how you will learn how to both do and use transitions to your benefit instead of just barely being able to do them. Odds are you’ll find useful knowledge and creative expressions; it’s amazing what you can see when you decide to look.
Reading the Dog
In addition to repurposing your routine to focus on transitions, you can and should run your routine with purpose of reading the dog. Dogs tend to cheat a bit here and there in the middle of behavior chains. Sometimes they cut corners and short cut things a bit.
An Over is any leaping catch that happens over top of the handler’s body. Overs are usually named by the part of the body over which the dog flies, i.e the course of time, the dog’s performance within a routine can change. Outruns get shorter, perhaps reward placement changes the release of a trick and all of a sudden the dog is going the wrong way.
Spend some time and energy actually reading your dog within the performance of your routine. It might look different than normal or new things might be cropping up.
Intercepting the Release
Intercepting the Release has many meanings in disc. Throws and throw variations can be referred to as releases. Sometimes you talk about the dog releasing something, the toy, or the environment, as of the dog after catch with a big, running vault or over requires purposing the routine to this key aspect of play. Setting up your routine specifically to develop and explore transitions or perhaps trying new transitions, is how you explore and experience those skills.
Run your routine with the focus on transitions, like Intercepting the Release, to learn to do transitions and to better understand how they are done.
Throwing with Intent
Your routine can be purposed towards throwing with intent. Intending to do something with each throw. This skill cannot be over stated. It is a game changer, for real.
Instead of focusing on simply getting through, going perfect, or getting better at your routine, do a few rounds where your entire purpose is to deliver leaping catches, or quality throws. Intend to deliver the disc to your dog in stride on the correct line.
Intend to slow the dog down. Challenge the dog. Maybe the dog needs to be sped up a bit. How and why you throw can have great bearing on performance. Put some focus there and purpose your routine towards that end sometime.
Play with Purpose
Playing with purpose is how you learn to do things you don’t really know how to do. Intending to do something, expecting a result, and being present in the moment to observe and catalog that result is how knowledge and understanding grows.
If you’re just out there hoping to make it through your routine every time, or are out there always paying attention to one thing – focused like a laser beam on your weaknesses, perhaps – you won’t be able to see and do the things required for you to grow: dog, handler, or team.