Floaters Hover and Runners Run Away
The longer the disc floats or hovers at the target, the more likely the dog is to feel the need to leap for it. Sometimes discs float so much it seems like they will never come down. Those are the throws to make, frequently, during freestyle routines. Floaters set a dog up for big, safe, thoughtful leaping and are the hallmark of a mature disc dog game.
A Runner is a disc that is thrown without the intent to float or hover around a target. It’s just a normal run of the mill distance throw. Runners are not likely to are what you see in Toss and Fetch, long fast moving throws that never really slow down and hover — they just continue streaking forward slowly losing altitude as they fly away. Runers ask the dog to run through the catch and stay on the ground. They often ask the dog to run fast as well which can create a habit of blinding speed that makes playing safe very difficult.
Floaters are most often used with an Interception and are a vital component of teaching dogs to leap and to leap safely. Perfect Floaters in the 7-15 yard range with all releases is what all serious disc doggers should be shooting for. That is how the big reliable leap is manufactured.
On the Ground or in the Sky?
A floater makes for an inviting target, but it also requires a plan of sorts, especially when thrown as an interception, and a dog that is used to chasing discs finds the floating target too hard to handle quite frequently and is prone to Irrational Leaping or Premature Ejumpulation, as he is not familiar with planning a leaping catch.
A dog that see a lot of floaters is familiar with planning a leap. He is more methodical and slow moving, taking his time to get to the target. He times and spaces things out, specifically, for a successful leaping catch. That kind of approach leads to successful, stylish and safe leaping and freestyle disc play in general.