Patron’s Choice: Shaping a Leaping Catch | Three Types of Go Around

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Setting up with Intent and Deliberate Movement

How do you distinguish between a go Around for Toss and Fetch or long distance and an Around for a short toss or simple set up move? How does your dog distinguish this?

How does your dog perform the Around? It it tight as a drum with the dog hugging your knee-pit and brushing your calf? Or is it real loose with the dog running down the throwing line before turning upfield? Does the dog go around and bolt downfield without a look back? Or is your dog Goldilocks, a just right distance with a look to the handler to see the release?

All go Around behaviors are not equal. There are situations where each of these types of Go Around set up moves are required or desired.

A good way to “get” each of the skills and be able to discriminate them for use in performance is to isolate, name, and perform them next to each other.

3 Types of Around


Playing to the short side of the field creates different patterns and shapes than playing up and downfield towards the end zones.

There are 3 flavors of the Around behavior we’re concerned with at Pawsitive Vybe:

  1. Expanding the Flank – Around and get out laterally for the catch – Around and Get Out
  2. Contracting the Flank – Go around and watch me for the next cue – Around and Look Here
  3. Around ’n Go / Free – Around and take off downfield for the bomb – Around and Go

If we isolate and perform each of these skills, name them, and mix them up randomly in a training session, the common aspects of the Around will come together and firm up, and the distinctions will become evident. This performance of similar behaviors next to each other quickly provides the contrast necessary to discriminate similar skills. The dog will be able to knowingly go where the handler says, and watch the handler for instructions.

Field Orientation and Angles

When isolating angles and orientation in team sports it is important to keep in mind the orientation of the field and consistency of orientation in setting up and performing the game. The game is played differently on different parts of the field.

Endzone to Endzone

Frisbee dogs almost always play to the end zones – up and down the field. Nearly all throws go downfield, and all throws have a downfield bias for both dog and handler. There are many reasons for this, but it’s pretty much a fact. It doesn’t matter what clock position the handler starts in, that dog is going up or down field towards the end zone.

Don’t believe me? Take your dog out on the field and line up somewhat close to the sideline facing the sideline with the “end zones” of your field to the left and right. Send your dog around and there is about a 80-90% chance the dog will run out to your side instead of the expected out and in front of you. This happens because of both habit and field pressure.

The handler rarely plays to the sideline and the dog does would rather play in an open field than a pressure filled box.

This field orientation will create and cultivate long outruns, high speed, linear antagonistic approaches and chasing catches, and little connection between dog and handler.

To the Short Side of the Field

If the handler starts facing the sideline, where the bench would be on the sidelines of a sports game, the game is played to the short side of the field. Playing to the short side of the field can create and cultivate greater connection to the handler.

The dog can’t leave downfield because the sideline is there. The game becomes oriented more laterally and the approaches come from oblique angles. The dog physically sees the handler more often and often actually sees the handler release the disc.

Lines and angles, shapes, and directional releases after a catch are easily created and manipulated using the confines of the field. A short field can be created on a long field by simply playing in or near the end zone or corners of the field.

Orienting Yourself and the Team

When you start a sequence assume that the direction you are facing is 12 o’clock. Always orient the field to your position and avoid trying to orient your position to the field. Wind conditions change and your position will change with them – your starting position as 12 o’clock is a simple constant to keep in mind. It also makes the subtleties of clock and counter movement quite apparent while spinning and moving. Anything to your left is moving backwards on the clock and anything right moves forward.

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