A Typical Foundational Positioning Session

You watched the instruction now its time to get to work. Do the following exercises with a short break in between:

Three Reps of Heel in a Row

(using the wall if necessary)

Obtain Heel position by luring into position, halting motion and lifting cookie. Mark when the butt hits the floor. Pay generously as position is held. Step forward luring the dog and repeat.

End of SessionGo Do Dog Stuff – Max time 2 minutes. Ideally less than 30 seconds.

Three Reps of Side in a Row

(using the wall if necessary)

Obtain Side position by luring into position, halting motion and lifting cookie. Mark when the butt hits the floor. Pay generously as position is held. Step forward luring the dog and repeat.

End of Session -Go Do Dog Stuff Max time 2 minutes. Ideally less than 30 seconds.

Three Reps of Front in a row

Obtain Front position by luring the dog into a frontal position, step back luring your dog, lift your cookie up and towards you. Mark the butt hitting the floor and pay generously. Step back with the lure and repeat.

End of Session – Go Do Dog Stuff –Max time 2 minutes. Ideally less than 30 seconds.

Big Picture

Take your time relax and be successful hitting each one of these positions. After you get done with Front, take a break and dismiss your dog. Let him go get some water or something. Chill out for a few minutes. Then go ahead and work the next position. Try to make working with you an opportunity for your dog.

There is no law that says you have to work all of these positions in the same session, so doing 20 seconds of Heel position is totally cool.

If your having problems, let’s solve them in comments below.

What is Go Do Dog Stuff?

Go Do Dog Stuff is a term we use for dismissal of the dog. When a dog is Dismissed, the handler is not available. When a handler is unavailable, the dog has limited access to the handler and interaction with the handler becomes valuable.

If you know about Dismissal, go ahead and dismiss your dog after working each position. Mark and capture something you like and reinforce with an opportunity to work.

If you’re not familiar with this, you will be soon. Here is a link to get you started:

Economics of Distraction

Post your Questions, Comments, Progress Reports, etc. below in the comment section.

Related Articles

Economics of Distraction

Rhythm has a tendency to explode into the environment when he’s asked to work – marking everything, sniffing everything, hustling up on people, etc – essentially working everything but his handler and Frisbees. The environment is extremely stimulating for this little guy…


  1. If we signed up for the membership level where we send in video, should we post on u-tube and send the link to you or…?

    1. Youtube is fine.

      Ideally you could post the link on a comment thread and then we all could learn from the experience.

  2. Hi Ron,

    Today training was a total disaster :). I started with Ozz everything went perfect, almost, just a little hyper but nothing can’t manage. Asked for eye contact works flawless. Setup positions and front/rear cross well done.
    When i started with Blue from out of nowhere appeared some dogs with their owners. For few second i tried to continue but Blue’s attention was on that dogs. All my training was gone on the river. I had to stop and dismiss. After that i ignored totally Blue, he tried to return to me many times but i continue to be inaccessible to him. (I noticed this behavior 4 weeks ago when i stopped disc and ball training)
    Usually he is focused on me 150% and this is the reason why we had some success as a team. If i train with ball or disc, can come 100 dogs, he does not care, he’s paying attention only to me.
    Usually i’m training on the same place where we’re playing and i thought is better to keep them low going on other place. Late on the night i change training place and it work 🙂 with both boys. Now i’ll go deeper and split boys on basic training. I taped today failed training, it not worth to wasting your time with this. Next one will be better:)
    You asked me about class. OK.
    The starting class is great. Very well made videos with detailed explanations, backup support on blog, skype, email. What could anyone ask for more? I believe will be a huge success. Sometimes barrier language can be overwhelming, i read 50 times a phrase to be shure i understand. Eg “Discs are Quiet when they are stable and close to your body and Loud when they are the body and moving quickly. Quiet discs are not appealing targets and Loud discs are hard to resist” on “Some thoughts on teaching in drive”. I got the overall idea but is far away from my goal.
    I’m consultant and human trainer and looking from this perspective first class cover every aspect needed on distance learning.

    Bruno & The MerleGang

    1. Hey Bruno,
      I wish you would have posted that video or at least sent it to me. The dismissal you outlined sounds a bit off. We should chat about that on skype.

      As far as the quiet and loud discs…

      Not fair for English as a Second (or third) language folk…

      Quiet = boring – it’s hard for the dog to hear notice.
      Loud = exciting – it’s easy for the dog to hear notice.

      Does that make sense?

      I’ll cut a video on this this week, Bruno.

      1. Ok Ron, in this afternoon i’ll upload my video.
        You think I was too harsh with Blue ? Yes i know, I was. We are playing and training on public places and if he became too “nasty” (he is very self confident and sometimes too brave regarding stray dogs), my only punishment is to dismiss and keep silence. Of course after 5 minutes we have a blast playing, cuddling, kissing, jumping in my arms you know … all BC – “owner” stuff

        Quiet/Loud perfect sense.

        Thanks 🙂 and sorry for my english, when i don’t understand I ask 🙂
        Locking forward to talk with you


          1. It’s real nice Bruno. Way to drop right into the distraction.
            Red Dog Session
            Your around lure is a little low. No problem, as the dog is doing fine, but the bending of the knees and low lure can keep some dogs from moving quickly. Standing up a bit more and pulling the lure around at about butt height would probably be better. No problems, though, as your dog is quite lively.

            Your reward placement on the finish of each behavior is prompting your dog to sit:

            Reward high for a sit.
            Reward at mouth height for stand or forward.
            reward low for backing up or lying down.

            Your front and rear cross is happening with both hands moving at the same time. It’s supposed to go Step/Scoop then match. One hand scoops, then the other matches. Both at the same time does not tell the dog to shift from forward to turn. Towards the end of the Red Dog Session, your rear cross got much closer to the scoop then match. It’s still a bit close.

            7:30 – Twists are good, but a bit too low. Keep your luring about waist high or above on that. Especially when you get to discs.

            8:30 – The arounds toward the end are a bit misleading. Be sure that you move the initial target hand first. I should be able to see your cuing on video, but I can’t tell which hand is leading. This is similar to your front cross and early rear cross work in this video.

            With the Blue dog –
            If you watch the video, you’ll notice that the Bluedog gets paid when he’s sitting a few times. If you didn’t no better, you might think that Blue sitting makes you pay him. If you want to reinforce him and he’s sitting, pay on the ground and don’t give the cookie up until he lies down. You could also start to engage with him, like you are going to pay him, and if he’s sitting, disengage. When he lies back down you can pay him.

            As far as the distraction goes, you should have marked the moment he reoriented to you (left the other dogs), and paid on you. Your criteria was a bit high and almost let Blue check out again and go see the other dogs.

            You are a good strong handler, Bruno, and can make things happen with your dog. Slow down and allow your dogs to do some of the work.
            Raise your lures a bit. Be very clear on the one hand then the other.

            Good job. Clean up the one hand then the other, and this will transfer to discs well.

            Make sense?

          2. I’ll write here, no link for reply on lower rank posts.

            Thank You Ron, makes perfect sense. I saw myself on video.
            I already split boys (for training purpose) and for both i raised reward value (cooked chicken breast)
            On rear/front cross both boys tends to anticipate the turn and this is why my turn is with both hands; to avoid this, on this week I inserted a “wait” command on match to focus on my hands and only after that i make the turn. For me works better this way.

            Yes… i know i payed Blue for sit …. i have to have a better focus myself.
            Thank you for tips.

          3. @Merlegang –
            Don’t worry about paying the sit. I catch myself doing similar things on video all the time. 😉

    1. Great job, Sara!
      Nice pittie…

      Great job on foundational position!

      Set Up Moves… You’ve got the skills, but I think you’re moving a bit fast. I’d like to see a more deliberate hand to hand transfer of the cookie, as we not only need the skill to be performed, but we also need the dog to understand how to transfer that target from hand to hand.

      I know it’s hard to play it really slow and deliberate, as any time we work with someone with the skills to make this stuff happen readily, they are always trying to whoosh! get it done. This will allow you to do the Set Up Moves themselves, no problem. You’ll also be able to get set up moves from a normal or stationary position.

      Where this gets you into trouble is when you’re calling your Set Up Moves from awkward positions or as you are moving. For instance… Let’s say you bring the dog over your back and you want to drive them backwards through after that little back over. The position isn’t at all the same and you’re going to be moving. How well is the dog going to be able to pick up the skill in that situation?

      If your dog has a strong concept of transferring the target from hand to hand, they will see your hand that is moving and follow that transfer to the backwards through.

      I don’t know if this example makes sense at all, but I’d like to see a bit more of a deliberate passing of the cookie and passing of the target from hand to hand.

      Great job on the Spin, Twist and Front Cross.
      The Rear Cross worked, but without the scoop of the inside hand, like Bruno mentioned, I think this skill will be problematic in the heat of a wicked disc game.

      I know people who have taught this skill with that flip of the hand, as you are teaching it, and it works, I just think it’s suspect. It lacks the commitment to the line out in front of the handler and also lacks a ‘hook up’ where dog and handler get hooked up, move together and prepare to execute the move.

      Great stuff. This will totally work, but it is my experience that you’ll run into issues later as you add the complexity of a full blown game of Freestyle Disc.

      Very nice work, Sara!

      1. Thanks for the tips! We will keep working with a focus on teaching targeting from hand to hand for later. As a side I have done zero frisbee stuff with this dog, so adding that part in should be interesting 🙂 We had been training for French Ring for the last 8 months but sudden teeth problems preventing us from continuing so we need a new sport.

  3. Hi Sara, very nice work ! 🙂 Just one thought, on front and rear cross, your dog should follow the hand close to him, i think, in fact this is the main goal.

    Bruno & The MerleGang

    1. Great Job Jeff!
      Great job Brodie and Maddie!

      Very deliberate and clean.

      A couple of things… more value in change position – with your dog under you, between your legs. I think you’ve already done this, in which case don’t worry about it, but we need many cookies in that change position so the dogs are comfy with the handler leaning over them.

      Be very careful with the hand that has passed the cookie distracting from the new target. It’s very easy to have the motion of the hand that used to have the cookie (example @ 6m50s) distract the dog. This will be less of a problem if you set the hook strongly on the beginning of the movement. Activate their prey drive when you start the lure – a bit sharper movement that’s all…

      Once again, Jeff, Great job.

      Oh, by the way…
      What a giant cat.

  4. Hi Ron,

    Well here are my Videos Sorry had to do two because I still don’t know how to edit videos yet or I would have cut a ton off. Each video is long like my book emails. Sorry but anyone who watches be warned longggg and boring as I did not stick to drill style and over did some stuff. I tried uploading to blip but had issues so am just going to keep using youtube for the time being. Again my apologies for the length each is about 8 minutes. I hope to get better at cutting the times down when I do the next video. Ron if you need to see a better video of Rayne doing the front and rear cross over I have another short one showing both I just haven’t uploaded it. I still need a lot of work *sigh* but will get there eventually.




    1. OK…
      Your mark is a hair late… In the case of position, you should mark when the but hits the floor. It seems as if you are saying yes when you start to deliver your cookie. That’s telling me that your may be using the marker as praise. It’s not praise. It marks the instant the behavior you are looking for happens. That very moment that your criteria is hit, you mark.

      Marion, your handling skills in the position section are great. Really nice.

      Great job tossing the cookie into your Backwards Through Set Up Move! Very nice…

      That first set up move you were not leading her. I think you were following her. Remember that luring is about leading your dog. Set that hook and go.

      Yes!not Yes?
      That apprehension on your part,”Can I go, Petals? Ready Petals? You going to make it Petals?” – even your mark is a question: “yes?” Doesn’t look very reassuring, does it.

      You are a good little handler, Marion. Just assume that leadership role. It will happen. Yes!

      Your through? Don’t pay her at heel position. Roll right through that with her chasing the cookie that she knows she earned. Oh, and don’t pay her because you screwed up. 😉 Cookies and marks are information.
      3:35 seconds or so would have been a good ending… quick! exciting… “Oh! We’re all done, Petals!… Wasn’t that fun?… alright… go do dog stuff!” something like that would have been great. Finish early and finish high.

      The first two were excellent! Not sure what happened with the third one… she turned inside… oh it was a front cross… try to make the side to side movement a little less. It’s easy for her to get in front of you. If she’s in front of you, you are in the rear and it’s a rear cross only the wrong direction. For your Front Cross, you have to transfer targets before she gets out in front of you. If you are in front of her, in danger of getting run over, it’s a Front Cross. 🙂

      Spin and Twist
      Nice job.

      Do This:
      Cue it! All of it.
      Be a little more aggressive and deliberate and lead when you are luring, keeping in mind that you are a good handler and mark the moment the behavior happens. Give your cue right before you give the hand signal.
      Great job, Marion!
      Look for the cuing article by tomorrow.

    2. Skimming through the Rayne video…

      Side Rear Cross is great.

      Heel is a problem because you are too close to the wall and she’s feeling that pressure. You also brought your arm towards you. The Rear cross is turn away, and you’ll need to push that lure out accordingly (not a big deal…)

      The Front Cross, though, that’s a bit of a problem. The dog needs to stay in front of you. Think hip to hip, not arms length. It’s real short and compact.

      Great stuff, Marion!

      Cue It!

  5. So helpful to watch these videos. I think I am being pretty unclear and muddy with my hand to hand transfer. Can you explain a little more about what the goal is (or how it plays out in a game of disc) in terms of why we need to be so deliberate there? It’s a little different than what I’m used to it in terms of typically trying to fade my lure and get independent behaviors. This might be covered in later posts, but thought I would ask! Oh also, thanks for the clarification on “Go Do Dog Stuff!” That will DEFINITELY be showing up more in our house!

    1. Sure, I can Kirby…

      The idea here is to lay a conceptual foundation. The dog needs to learn that value will transfer hands when they meet. They need to learn that both the right and left hand have value and should be followed. They need to learn how to break off of one target and switch to the other.

      Good and proper hand transfers really showcases the shoulders, especially on the Front and Rear crosses.

      This target to target transfer will be in play all over the game of disc, and it’s helpful to get the dog familiar with it at a very high distraction level (inches from the cookie/target).

      We can talk about this more this evening in our hangout.


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