Patron’s Choice: Shaping a Leaping Catch | Contracting the Flank – Look Here!

Patrons Only Sneak Peek… Public Access Jan 10th

Loot is looking in towards Ron because there is no target being thrown at this time. Ron is setting up to hit Loot over at 2 o’clock. The handler is facing somewhere between 11 and 12 o’clock. This is from a clockwise Go Around

Orient the team to the short side of the field, facing the sideline. Send the dog around, giving the verbal cue followed by the physical cue a beat later. Let the dog go around and throw to 2 o’clock. The handler can Set the Flank or Throw to the Flank depending upon the dog’s movement or the intent of the handler.

Contracting the Flank reduces the lateral outrun of dogs and tightens up the around movement. It is a simple operation at heart – just send the dog around and do nothing — don’t throw. The dog will go around and, look at you when the throw doesn’t happen eventually winding up in front position. Work this, and if you just do nothing, the dog will look at you after an Around.

But we ain’t here to do nothing, so let’s talk about how to Contract the Flank with purpose.

Shaping a Look Here

Contracting the Flank draws the attention of the dog into the handler. Expanding the Flank and a Free release or Go to a long catch out front both allow the dog’s focus to completely leave the handler and the throw being made in pursuit of the disc.

Dragging the dog across the front of the handler makes it hard for the dog to miss the handler and the actual release of the throw. Combined with the other Get out and Go, Contracting the Flank is a key concept for keeping the dog’s focus and attention on the handler.

There is no need to rush the dog and make a play quickly for dogs who don’t attenuate to the handler well. A quick delivery that makes the dog late to the party will preempt or short-circuit that look in and expand the flank.

When the Go Around is complete and there has been no throw, the dog looks in to see what’s happening. With some repetition, the dog will keep moving with the handler after a Go Around while looking in.

When cultivating a Look Here, it is a good idea to mark it using a positive marker to isolate the behavior and take a snapshot of an exciting action based movement.

Shrinking an Outrun

If the intent is to shrink a dog’s outrun, then Contracting the Flank is the solution. Simply send the dog around and rush the dog to the play. As soon as the dog commits to the around and is guaranteed to complete the skill, throw it across your body to the opposite side of the exit from the around. This will make the dog late to the play and the flank or outrun will contract.

This is a standard Zig Zag entry. Contracting the Flank is a good way to enter the Zig Zag because it works on the principles of an abbreviated outrun and quick turning movement. Contracting the Flank is a good way to enter into and to reinforce sharp turns, aggressive lines, and zig zag type movements.

If the Dog Goes, Don’t Throw!

When Contracting the Flank (or any other time with the exception of intended training exceptions), if the dog goes, DON’T THROW!

When the handler does nothing and does not throw, the dog should look to the handler. Doing nothing and not throwing should equal looking at the handler.

The dog should always chase or intercept the handler’s throw. The handler’s throw should never chase or intercept the dog.

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