Curving for Collection

Yukon is not a serious head down gallop kind of dog, although he can be and he might have been, but Stacey has done a lot of work intercepting discs and throwing at a short distance to cultivate a Step, Step, Collect… Jump! understanding.

What you can see when Stacey throws a longer disc is that as soon as he is sent around, Yukon puts his head down, hard, and runs like heck to get To the disc. He’s running so hard that he misses his collection and has an awkward looking catch, despite the amount of time he had to create his plan.

When I’m throwing to Yukon, you can see his entire posture change. His head goes up and his rear goes down. Yukon crawls out there to get the disc. The catch was not made, but the focus of this exercise is to slow the dog down and get their heads up. This kind of a concept, of pulling back, not running so hard, reading the disc, moving slowly – this is an important skill for dogs that over pursue targets.

Ideally the disc will be thrown in the exact same arc every time, the perfect arc that will keep our dogs slow and engaged and the dog will catch the disc. The high and low extremes demonstrated in the video is about the full range of our potential trajectory, so we need to try to keep the disc between those high and low extremes.

You need to ensure that the disc continues to run away from the dogs, your dog should move slowly and track, but not stop or reverse field in this drill.

This drill combined with short toss and short to medium interception type catch drills can dramatically improve a dog’s patience, performance and understanding of catching discs.

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Reading the disc is a skill that astute dogs and humans pick up rather quickly. The float, the spin, and the speed can reliably be gauged and predicted after several reps. Of course this changes with wind, disc choice, and throwing ability but, generally speaking, the flight path of a disc is easily predicted.

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    1. I just added a link under the video so it’s now available for download… sorry I missed that. 🙂


  1. Me too. Bruno is a heads down Galloper and as soon as he is well enough I’d love to get a copy of this video to compare and remind me how to counter condition.

    Videos are great. Glad to have the holiday break


  2. What would you recommend for the dog that jumps up when it is still like 15 ft in the air? Mikey gets under it and looks up but instead of waiting just goes for it and comes up short or crashes because you can’t jump up 15ft. straight in the air and land nicely.

    1. It sounds like the disc is getting stuck at the top of the curve a bit. That would make a really eager dog want to leap.

      I would try to get the disc to carry a little more linear speed with that high curving pattern. So it still has the element of chase after the curve. So she will get ready to leap, but the leap is interrupted by chase as the disc starts to run away from her.

      Perhaps we need to try to think of another way to get this working for you.


  3. Today I practiced having her jump off a low wall to catch a disc 5-10 ft. out in front of her. That way she started above the disk or level with it. I don’t know if this will translate after she has to leap again from the ground or once we add distance, probably not.

    I think I may just need more work on throwing. I understand what you are saying but I’m not confident I can make that throw every time I really need it just yet.

    1. That’s a real interesting idea, Sara.

      I understand about placement being a hard thing.

      Remember that you can shorten up the whole process. 7-10 yards is not far at all. We’re working on a drill for you.


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