Low High Toss
Last year I picked up the A Low High Toss is a special delivery used to hover discs and create a reliable trigger for the dog. at Hirai Camp 2017. I had seen it before, but at the camp I realized that it was a beautiful disc dog freestyle trigger. Same as our bite work cue, the disc when vertical is uncatchable. Once it flips or bounces horizontal, it’s catchable. It is a binary switch. It’s off and on, no go and go.
This uncatchable to catchable concept becomes a trigger that the dog can trust. Once that disc flips to catchable, it’s On! The experienced dog will not commit until they get confirmation by the trigger, or until the disc goes live by leaving your hand.
The trigger aspect of the Low High Toss cannot be underestimated. Coupled with posing, it creates a clear and distinct cuing system for when a disc is accessible throughout the game of disc.
Trouble With the Toss
Getting started with the Low High Toss is not at all easy. At Pawsitive Vybe we teach the normal vault toss first, as it’s somewhat of a physical challenge to get the action right.
At our last camp we identified a trouble Spot is a “go to a place”, or “go to a mat” behavior. This means that the dog seeks out and performs a duration behavior on a spot of the handler’s choosing. A with the Low High Toss (Thanks Jen!). We’ll still teach the regular vault toss (horizontal hover) to start, but I no longer think that it is a necessity for success.
The problem is that the way it looks like the throw goes down, the start of the initial Posing is a communication tool for throwing discs to dogs (or people). A pose is a frozen moment of a throw; a key moment of the backswing perhaps, or a flashy presentation of fools the eye. When the bouncing transition from vertical to horizontal happens, the throwing hand should be at 1-3 o clock on the disc. Most people wind up bouncing with the hand at 5 or 6 o clock, leaving no room for rotation to Spins and Twists are tricks where the dog spins 360 degrees in a clockwise or counter clockwise fashion. Spin is clockwise and Twist is counter clockwise so it is important to have a the disc.
Get on Top of It
While the image of pros doing the skill has them holding the disc out in front of them, half the disc above the hand, and half the disc below the hand. When the throw is still vertical, right before the bounce to horizontal, the hand is actually holding the disc from the top with the disc hanging, suspended below it.
This grip at the top of the disc means that when the disc bounces to horizontal your hand will be at 3 o clock. If you are holding it from the center pointing it out instead of hanging from the top, when you bounce, the disc is at 5 or 6 o clock and you can’t spin it.
There are 2 ways to do this. You can start there, at the top, with the disc hanging. It’s not a bad idea, but sometimes it can look a little bit funky. It also is likely to have the disc pushed down instead of dropped and doesn’t promote elastic movement. You can also start in the center, pointing the disc out. The throw begins with the disc dropping to that hanging position. Dropping the disc can lead to greater elasticity and more attractive movement to trigger prey drive.